austra

Here’s a look at the 15 bands I saw over the weekend at Electric Picnic 2011 that impressed me the most. There was lots of other sets I enjoyed but these were my personal favourites. All the good photos are by Damien McGlynn (apart from the crappy Best Coast one – that was me) and Instagram photos are by myself or Aoife. Videos by Barry Gruff and Roger.

1. Santigold


An absolute killer set to follow up her equally brilliant set from three years previous. A mix of songs like ‘Say Aha’, ‘L.E.S. Artistes’, Major Lazer’s ‘Hold The Line’ and new material means Santi White is top of my list to see at Berlin Music Festival this weekend.
Highlight: The backing dancers cool moves and BAMF demeanor.

2. Austra


The hour wait between the finish of the main stages and Austra’s set in Body and Soul was a cold boozeless one but where better to take in this Canadian band’s mystical sounding electro than late night under a tree in a natural amphitheatre. Songs from the band’s debut Feel It Break sounded perfect in the cold AM, they really are well-written tight tunes. Add Katie Stelmanis and her backing dancers Tasseomancy’s shamanistic dance moves and it’s the perfect festival closer for those who could not brave another hour for Brandt Brauer Frick at 3am.
Highlight: The dark-edged disco vibe of ‘The Beat And The Pulse’ felt through the night air.

3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

An unexpected surprise and a perfect festival band, I had heard the ten-strong American west coast collective were a great live act and judging from their 2009 album Up From Below, I had high hopes but they easily surpassed those and went straight into the great festival set book. A raggedy celebratory, up-in arms triumph of musical positivity.
Highlight: The crowd singing back the chorus of ‘Home’ during the extended outro.

4. Flying Lotus

Besides some jibes about himself and Public Enemy being the only black people at the festival and the cheeky culmination of the set with The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’, Fly Lo delivered a beat-tight set of songs taken from his own back catalogue along with samples from Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque’ , Mr. Oizo and Odd Future’s ‘Yonkers’. The set is all one big beautiful blur with lots of dancing despite the dodgy sound.
Highlight: ‘Do The Astral Plane’ and Fly Lo’s eternal smiling face.

5. Public Enemy


A masterclass in getting old in hip-hop gracefully (if we ignore Flava Flav’s on-screen reality TV antics), PE are most definitely still in effect. A greatest hits set including classics like ‘ Don’t Believe The Hype’, ‘Fight The Power’, ‘Shut Em Down’ and ‘Bring The Noise’ kept the energy levels up significantly. Not even Flav’s drum solo interlude could detract from the buzz and DJ Lord’s turntablist routine of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ with scratches from behind his back added to the spectacle.
Highlight: The consistent energy of a PE2011 show.