Paulo Gonçalves photo
Paulo Gonçalves photo

Grimes and Chairlift Forbidden Fruit photos by Paulo Gonçalves.

If there’s anything this weekend reminded me, it’s when it comes to festivals, you don’t have to travel to get the experience. With Bloom in the Park taking up a large space in the Phoenix Park to Forbidden Fruit in the Royal Hospital Gardens in Kilmainham, the green west part of the city was home to many more people’s weekends than normal, an encouraging display of the sentiment that the city is there for us to use.

Of course, nothing’s perfect and in Ireland even less so when we can’t maintain the same weather pattern for more than 24 hours, sunshine at an Irish festival is a luxury not a given, and sometimes, like on Saturday night at Forbidden Fruit after you’ve found out the act you’ve been waiting to see missed his flight (Actress, you flaky git), it doesn’t feel worth the effort.

Beirut crowd

Having said that, Forbidden Fruit year two wiped away the memories of a first year beset with organisational difficulties. Sure, there were some problems: not enough toilet facilities, only one exit for all punters, the re-entry thing enforced with vigilance, a lack of a whole stage on Monday and the weather on Saturday and Sunday (but like I said, it’s Ireland, what were we expecting). But there were plenty of positives in the carefully-curated lineup. The festival grounds were kept in good shape by cleaning teams all weekend so the site wasn’t an eyesore. Of course, being at a city festival where you have the option of going home to your bed is a big plus. Plus, there were afterparties to go to where plenty of the acts playing the festival DJed or played in town afterwards, bringing the festival vibe into the city itself.

My Highlights?

Grimes

This could have gone either way but Clare Boucher’s set was one of the pure delights of the weekend. The atmosphere for just the 3pm Sunday tent slot was impressive. Boucher made the most on that eager full crowd. The set list was composed of the most accessible parts of her breakthrough album Visions and the beats from it hit the most from the speakers. Boucher’s on-stage antics are endearing; she jumped around her equipment clearly relishing her own performance and that energy was infectious. I heard about four people during the gig turn to their friends and comment on how cool or cute she was. That she may be but it were the tunes that did it. Grimes has direct songs that are still packed with lots of synth oddness and eerie atmospheres that make her music very much a unique prospect. Oh, and she’s back for Electric Picnic.

Chromatics

Wow. So Chromatics are not just a great studio band but a great live band. Knowledge, purpose, confidence and chemistry, they had all of these qualities on show last night and frankly, were a cut above a lot of musicians this weekend. There was no time for ambient meandering here, this was a no-nonsense 45 minute set of the glittering parts of their catalogue: ‘Kill For Love’, ‘Lady’, ‘In The City’, ‘Hands In The Dark’, ‘Back From The Grave’, ‘I Want Your Love’ and my personal highlight, the eight minute vocoder-assisted ‘These Streets Will Never Look The Same’. They finished their set and the festival with two covers; Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ and the Kill For Love album opener Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)’. It was over far too soon.