There's many a bleary eyed camper stumbling across the fields of Stradbally this afternoon after the first day (and night) of Electric Picnic 2014.
It's been a solid start to the festival this year. We caught a handful of solid performances throughout the day (The Strypes, Blondie, Oki's Wagon, James Murphy) but the yesterday's Picnic experiences was punctuated by two of the most fun shows we've ever witnessed in all the years we've been here.
The midnight slot at the Body & Soul stage is fast becoming a thing of legend. Last year's set from Le Galaxie at the natural amphitheatre that is the area's main stage has pretty much become a thing of legend, probably the single most talked about performance of the festival - at least by an Irish band. So, as you might expect, the bar has been set VERY high for this year but that was matched (nay, surpassed) by Tune-Yards last night.
Merrill Garbus and her band fit the bill to perfection, personifying the ethos, spirit and artsy-performance style which, presumably, the bespoke stage was founded to house. Garbus oversees the set like a conductor, sampling her own voice and layering it upon the rest of the music like a mad scientist.
What’s so interesting about seeing Tune-Yards is witnessing how the songs are constructed. Often they’ll begin with Garbus looping her own percussion until she’s satisfied with the beat, before bassist Nate Brenner and the rest of the band add their own flavours to the mix. It’s so fascinating to see first the skeleton of the song, and then to see its flesh slowly take shape. And all anchored around her Winehouse-like voice. The set will take some eclipsing this weekend, that’s for sure.
After that it was over to the Salty Dog, the pirate ship in the woods which has been an Electric Picnic staple, for Irish horn outfit Booka Brass Band who played a range of covers from ‘Crazy In Love’, to ‘No Diggity’ to the feverish dancing of everyone there. A fine end to the first day of Electric Picnic.
Today’s agenda will see us visit Wild Beasts, Cathy Davey, London Grammar, White Denim, Portishead, Chic and probably numerous others along the way.
All in a day’s work.