Oxegen ’11 Preview

This weekend (8th – 10th of July) Oxegen rolls into Punchestown for the festivals annual appearance in Kildare.

Normally what it lacks in class it makes up with quality acts but this year I’m not so sure. Apart from other issues, I feel this is one of the most uninspiring Oxegen lineups for sometime and I don’t know if I can bring myself to shell out the cash for a ticket.

Now that bit is over I’m sure plenty of you have no such dilemma and can’t wait for the festival to kick off. Whether or not I make an appearance is irrelevant and there’s still quite a lot music worth catching over the 3 days (full stage times etc over on State.ie.

Here’s some personal selections for the weekend and feel free to post your own recommendations in the comments below, it is always greatly appreciated.

Friday:

Tame Impala (17:50 2FM Hotpress Academy Stage)

Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala’s stunning debut album, Innerspeaker stole many hearts last year. Expect a dazzling dose of warm fuzzy psychedelia brimming with feel good vibes, raw fuzzed up hooks and riffs. This is just the thing to set the weekend in motion.

Tame Impala – Desire Be Desire Go via Tim Bretantrum

The Strokes (21:30, Vodafone Stage)

What to say about The Strokes that hasn’t already been said? Ten years ago they helped rescue guitar music from the doldrums. A decade on, following a lengthy hiatus they returned with Angles, a record which proved the are still relevant musical force today. This should be one of the highlights of the weekend with a set full with old favourites, ‘Last Nite’ & ‘Take it or Leave It’ and new, ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ & ‘Machu Picchu’.

The last time I saw them (2004?) they were awful, Casablancas was a state but hopefully both he and the band have got their house in order.

The Strokes – Machu Picchu via smithblogsatalanta

Leftfield (23:30 Heineken Green Spheres)

Dance pioneers Leftfield (albeit minus Paul Daley) return to our shores for yet another show. These guys revolutionised dance music throughout the 90′s, pushing it to new and daring levels with two seminal albums Leftism and Rhythm & Stealth. Their show at Electric Picnic last year was disappointing with much of the atmosphere being lost in the cold night air.

Hopefully playing in a tent will suit them better along with a bit more from the Rhythm & Stealth era , perhaps the once proclaimed ‘loudest live act in the world’ can win me over again.

Other recommendations: Maverick Sabre (18:00), The Shit Robot Show (20:15), Tiga (21:15 ) – all in Red Bull Electric Ballroom.

Saturday:

Cashier No.9 (15.55 Heineken Green Spheres)

Belfast 5-piece Cashier No.9 have been a mainstay of the Irish music scene for a number of years now. 2011 is fast becoming ‘their year’ with the release of the scintillating Goldstar EP and their debut album, To The Death Of Fun to rave reviews. Gloriously catchy, infectious and shimmering indie ahoy.

 Cashier No.9 – Goldstar via SnipeLondon

Miles Kane (22:25 2FM Hotpress Academy Stage)

Kane will be known to most for grandiose ’60s side-project, The Last Shadow Puppets alongside Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. The Wirral-born musician has been with us for sometime working under numerous guises but this year released his wonderful debut album, Colour of the Trap. A whirlwind of ’60s psych-soul swathed in twangs and spooky feedback with a touch of ladish swagger and pulse-raising rock’n’roll riffs for good luck.

Miles Kane – Come Closer

Arctic Monkeys (21:40 Main Stage)

Another band like The Strokes who need little or no introduction. Their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not released in 2006 is easily an era defining record. Four great albums later and their early spiky indie-punk sound may be gone but they’ve grown-up, matured into a solid rock band and remain as fresh and important as ever.

I have never seen Arctic Monkeys live (somehow?) but I’m expecting big things – it should be the high point of the weekend.

Arctic Monkeys – My Propellor via indiemanwithaplan

Other recommendations: The Minutes (14:55 Vodafone Stage), British Sea Power (16:00 Vodafone Stage), Two Door Cinema Club (17.00 Main Stage), Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (18:20 2fm Hotress Academy), The Vaccines (20:40 Heineken Green Spheres)

Sunday:

Manic Street Preachers (17:35 Main Stage)

The Manics are a band of remarkable longevity. Each time they come back its a glorious return a la 2010′s Postcards From A Young Man. I have seen them a number of times over the years and they never fail to put on a scintillating  live performance. With such an amazing back catalogue to choose from its hard to know what to sort of a set to expect, but it will be a good one. Pity about the time and stage.

Manic Street Preachers – Rendition via Simon dix sbm

Alex Metric/Fake Blood (18:15/19:15 Red Bull Electric Ballroom)

Two top remixers and producers in electronic music today playing back to back, yes please. Metric has been busy making tunes and tearing up dance floors with remixes the likes of  ‘Stylo’ (Gorillaz) and Sabotage (Beastie Boys). Fake Blood is a solid operator and puts in a proper live showing full of crunchy bone-rattling beats galore. Two fine electronic acts not to missed and doesn’t  everyone needs a dance at a festival?

Gorillaz – Stylo (Alex Metric Remix) via Juh Worx Trax

Fake Blood – Blood Splashing via Koshika

Bright Eyes (22:50 2FM Hotpress Academy Stage)

There’s lots to pick from for last orders on Sunday but having seen the others before, Bright Eyes just about sneaks it. A bit folk, a bit country and a bit rock Oberst is an enigmatic musician whose lyrical ability is out of this world, no matter the guise (The Mystic Valley Band/Monsters of Folk). This would be another first for me but I’ve heard nothing but great things from people who have caught him live.

This may well be the last chance see Bright Eyes before Conor Oberst retires the moniker for good.

Mp3: Bright Eyes – Haile Selassie

Other recommendations: Friendly Fires (17:50 Vodafone Stage), Pendulum (22:15 Vodafone Stage), Primal Scream (22:20 Heineken Green Spheres)

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