We’re only just about recovered from the festivities of Body&Soul 2019 over the past weekend. However, we’re not ready to let it go just yet so it’s highlights reel time.
Body & Soul 2019 saw a weekend of wholesome fun from the beautiful and euphoric Saturday afternoon Pride parade to the omnipresent pop anthems supplied by Mother and Sing Along Social back to the important and topical eco talks at the Living Lab. At all times there was something new to explore and learn about, not least from the esoteric music line-up across the weekend. The theme of the weekend was finding your undiscovered favourite act with fans fervently discussing the new artists they had fallen in love with at one of the festival’s many stages.
The weather may have dampened some Sunday spirits and the occasional technical difficulty arose throughout the festival but there was an overriding feeling of affection and fun at the 10th year of Body&Soul. Here are ten of the artists, in no particular order, that we thought made the weekend special.
In a complete world away from everything else happening around them, New York hip-hop duo, Oshun brought Body & Soul on a spectacular journey to the Oshuniverse. With a themed set based around an outer space quest, they delivered a wacky show with no holding back. One of the more beat-focused acts of the weekend, Oshun’s blend of hip-hop, soul and electronic was expertly deployed with constant high energy and a phenomenal stage presence. A cover of Kanye West’s ‘Flashing Lights’ drew in the hesitant members of the audience for a fun sing-along whilst their original esoteric pop songs earn them a crowd of new converts. – Kelly Doherty
SOAK faced the daunting task of delivering her largely stripped back folk-pop cuts to a soaking wet Sunday afternoon Main Stage. It was a far throw from recent shows of her’s in the comfortable settings of venues like Live at St Luke’s but her peppy attitude and happy perseverance kept the crowd going. With a set mostly built around recent sophomore album Grim Town, the strength of her songwriting shone through with cuts like ‘Everybody Loves You’ and ‘Knock Me Off My Feet’ feeling like instant contenders for minor pop hits. A guest appearance from Pillow Queens was the cherry on top of a show brimming with charisma where every song was delivered with a smile. SOAK may write simple songs that generally veer into heart-on-sleeve sadness but each live performance is a pleasure with one of Ireland’s most charming artists. – Kelly Doherty
Dundalk brothers TPM brought their eclectic take on hip-hop to an afternoon crowd at the Midnight Circus with an unstoppable magnetism and fully realised personas. TPM seep confidence with a constant flow of likeable stage banter and a catalogue of energising anti-establishment anthems. Naturally at ease commanding the crowd, the rapid-fire interplay between the two brothers was spotless and constantly delivered with a grin. Whilst their lyrical output often leans into being tongue-in-cheek, the duo’s chants about exploitative governments and state systems that are built to keep the average person down feel urgent in 2019. With the surprisingly large crowd that screamed those words back, TPM’s set felt like the perfect way to exorcise anxiety in modern Ireland. – Kelly Doherty
Dundalk post-punk crew Just Mustard are quickly establishing themselves as one of Ireland’s premium hype acts and it’s easy to see why. Their heavy yet melodic sound electrified the late now crowd and the young band play with constant accuracy and professionalism. The real heart of Just Mustard comes with their live performance, as the blended haunting vocals with a constant sense of pressure and exhilaration. Swerving between rambling introspection and downright face-melting levels of heaviness, Just Mustard are a band at the start of an apex and the audience lapped them up. – Kelly Doherty
It was the first time the Dublin disco project played at Body and Soul but they have certainly made a name for themselves. Papaya‘s Sunday morning sunrise set at The Living Lab stage drew a huge crowd all the way to 5 am. The feel-good disco tunes fed the hunger for those who refused to go to bed, making for an incredible atmosphere.
Papaya runs nights across Dublin and has recently started live sessions. The disco boys will host Jacky Boots this Thursday in The Bernard Shaw. Their wide appreciation of music was put on display last Sunday morning, giving punters a breath of fresh air as they listened to an eclectic selection of disco and techno. – Donal Corrigan
This was a standout performance over the whole weekend. If you were a long time fan or a first-time listener, Confidence Man‘s set was incredibly catchy and infectious. They had the whole of the Hennessy Midnight Circus stage moving, only to be matched by their own on-stage energy.
Their costumes and tight dance routines show that they are truly passionate about performing in front of a crowd. One half of the band drape themselves in mysterious black lace garments while the other half dance around in light-up bras and white cloaks. ‘Try Your Look’ was nothing but a pleasure to see live. The upbeat synths and kickdrum matched with the tongue in cheek lyrics capture perfectly the atmosphere of the weekend. – Donal Corrigan
The Arbutus Yarns Theatre is a stunning stage tucked into a pocket of The Body and Soul forest. ‘A hidden gem’ perfectly describes both the stage and Anna Mullarkey who played it on Friday night. She packed the venue out with her synths and gorgeous howling vocals.
Anna was in complete control of the atmosphere with her unique electronic sounds. The subtle kick drums and melodic synths took the crowd on a journey from start to finish. There were people of all ages and backgrounds being completely immersed to the Galway musician’s sound in the forest that night. – Donal Corrigan
The Mother DJs and Body and Soul festival are without a doubt, a match made in heaven. This year was no different as the LGBTQ club DJs absolutely killed it. They took over The Reckless in Love stage for the whole day and I found it was too hard to leave. There was an energy from the crowd that emanated from the Mother themselves.
I found myself standing with Shazam out constantly, knowing well I would need these feel-good songs to get me through the festival come down the next day. Needless to say, Kelly-Anne Byrne was one of the major highlights of the day as the DJ commanded her crowd with her bold choice songs. – Donal Corrigan
The true mark of a great festival performance is when the crowd exponentially grows by song after song. JYellowL and his band produced just that effect on Friday at The Woodlands stage. The young rapper has this incredible energy and presence and he took complete control.
He played his new track ‘Tek Time’ for us which was a treat to see as he was joined on stage by his hypeman, who only heightened the energy. The lads looked like they genuinely loved being after they jumped into the crowd after the set to soak up the energy they had just created. – Donal Corrigan
It had been raining all day long and the mud was slowly engulfing us all. But for one and a half hours, this was all forgotten as The Blaze played the main stage. The French electronic duo put on an incredible show on Sunday night. They had been hyped up all weekend by many festival goers after an amazing performance at Electric Picnic last year.
‘Faces’ is an uplifting song but it was particularly special to hear it in the freezing cold. The song’s building synths and mesmerizing samples played against the rain to make a euphoric crowd experience. – Donal Corrigan