Oxegen 2011 – Friday – Tame Impala, Shit Robot, The Strokes & Leftfield

 

What a weekend! On paper it was one of the most uninspiring Oxegen lineups for sometime yet it turned out to be a fantastic weekend with some stunning performances, helped in no small way by the sunshine on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday it seemed like a re-run of the usual script, rain and lots of it. Thankfully this wasn’t the case. One of the big talking points was the eerily small crowd on Friday which left many shows deserted making it difficult for bands and punters to build on.

Whatever the case people were there to enjoy themselves. It was hard to know what to expect from House of Pain to be honest. They entertained the crowd buoyed by the appearance of sunshine before inevitably finishing up with ‘Jump Around’, sending punters into a rapturous frenzy of flailing limps and ‘jumping around’.

Next up Aussie psychedelic rockers Tame Impala over at the 2FM Hotpress Academy. No gimmicks just a short but fine set of warm fuzzy psychedelia running through tracks from their stunning debut album, Innerspeaker. They are far more ‘spaced out’ live than on record, memorable renditions of  ‘Solitude Is Bliss’, ‘Desire Be Desire Go’ and ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ in particular. It is a shame they were on so early and would be better suited to a different setting, their own headline show would have the potential to be something really special.

Getting ready for Shit Robot in the Electric Ballroom was a bizarre, it was creepy, ghoulish even, to see the place so deserted. The dance arena is normally jammed not matter what. The real shame was more people should have witnessed Shit Robot’s set, the sound, set and show was amazing. He deserved better.

The piece de resistance for the evening was The Strokes. The new album Angles may have received a mixed reception but it proved they are still relevant musical force today. Testament to this was the growing throng assembling at the Vodafone Stage even as the dark clouds descended. We were repaid quickly as The Strokes, in no mood to mess around, launched headlong into a set full of their biggest hits, along with material from their latest album.

Casablancas struts his stuff in a leather jacket and sunglasses (resembling a young Joey Ramone), then it finally dawns on you how great a band The Strokes are as they launch into hit after hit. ‘New York City Cops’, ‘Someday’, ‘Juicebox’ and ‘Reptilia’ are all stunning and when ‘Last Nite’ kicks in and all hell breaks loose. As they leave the stage it seems as though only minutes have passed since they had begun, which tells its own story. The Strokes return was a massive triumph eclipsing their disastrous show in 2004 and it will take something special to top that.

Amazingly there was more to come, still time to catch Leftfield in Heineken Green Energy tent. Straight from the off it is obvious this was the setting for them (inside, unlike Electric Picnic last year). The bass was simply outrageous, you could feel it rattling and reverberating throughout your whole body. It is no wonder they were once proclaimed ‘loudest live act in the world’. Extraordinary renditions of ‘Afro-Lelt’, ‘Song of Life’ and ‘Storm 3000’ blow the cobwebs off the old Leftism tunes.

Unfortunately that was it, I begrudgingly had to leave before the finish. One day down, Saturday and Sunday had a lot to live up to.

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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

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