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10 must-see up & coming acts @ KnockanStockan Festival this year

10 must-see up & coming acts @ KnockanStockan Festival this year

Luke Sharkey

After a year long hiatus, KnockanStockan music & arts festival is returning to the shores of Blessington Lakes. The festival is famed for its open-minded and inclusive ethos and beloved for the wholesome alternative it offers to the usual big weekend rush. This year’s lineup boasts an impressive array of fantastic domestic and international acts. Instead of pulling from the biggest names on the list, we thought we’d take a more in-depth look at what’s on this year and highlight some of the key up and coming acts on the bill. These are the acts you should get to know.



Wishbone stage, Saturday, July 28th

19-year-old Derry native Roisin Donald, better known as ROE, has been rapidly gaining momentum this year. Her most recent single ‘Hey Thomas’ is a sardonic look at gender normativity, demonstrating an artist with a knack for pointed lyricism and a songwriter capable of straddling both critical and commercial success. Originally arriving onto the scene in 2017 with ‘Fake Ur Death’ and ‘Cheek, Boy’, which gained her a spot on BBC Two’s ‘The Arts Show’, Roe’s subsequent releases have already displayed spades of artistic growth. With a foundation built upon guitar indie-pop, Roe’s music adds color with dollops of lush synth textures and bombastic production quality. New listeners should check out ‘Wasted.Patient.Thinking.’ to fully get the point. Considering the rate at which ROE has risen to prominence, her Saturday set at the Wishbone stage is the perfect opportunity to catch the artist in such an intimate setting before it’s too late.



Unfiltered stage, Sunday, July 29th

One of Dublin city’s premier experimental electronic producers, Wastefellow established himself in 2016 with the release of the Amazed, a Maze! EP. His music combines elements of trip-hop with a strong penchant for all things glitch. Couple that with a crafty ear for a melody and some attentive production value and you’ve got the superb music of Wastefellow. 2017 saw the release of the double single ‘Enfold You’, which hears the artist adopt a more expansive sound, including certain elements of trap. Newcomers should check out ‘Awakenme’ from that project, the relatively naked vocals on which showcase just how strong a natural performer Wastefellow is underneath all that sonic sorcery. Performing all new material from his upcoming EP, due to be released under the Softboy records label, Wastefellow is a must see for those interested in all things electronic.



Unfiltered stage, Sunday, July 29th

Why-Axis’s music is not easy to define. Listening to the Dublin artist and producers debut long-form release Airplane Mode offers the audience a huge variety of influences and genres. There’s certainly hip-hop, trap, pop and funk littered throughout, yet, the artist switches it up too often to ever suit any one of those labels for too long. The upbeat music on Airplane Mode may be tricky to nail down, but it’s easy to see that Why-Axis is one of the most exciting acts on this year’s lineup. His music oozes a cool and a charm rarely awarded to a debut entry. ‘Airplane Mode’, the title track and lead single from the EP, is the perfect example. Guaranteed to get the crowd moving on Sunday night.



Faerie field, Sunday, July 29th

“I paid hip-hop respect now I wants the receipt”. So says Dublin-based MC JyellowL on his recent single ‘Medusa’. Rightly so too. With flow and lyricism in spades, JyellowL is a must-see for any hip-hop fans making the journey to Blessington. While ‘Medusa’ goes on the offensive, the MC’s previous work, especially 2017’s Bulletproof mixtape showcases a conscious rapper keen on addressing many of the social issues plaguing the Irish youth. Acting independently, JyellowL’s music takes inspiration from grime, g-funk and the SoundCloud boom to create an enlightening brand of hip-hop with plenty of groove in the mix. Largely avoiding the pitfalls of ego pandering and self-mythologisation means the content on JyellowL’s music is pure, direct and effective. Do yourself a favour and check out the set.


Mike Paterson

Unfiltered stage, Friday, July 27th

Having quit the proverbial day job and moved to Germany to focus on songwriting Mike Paterson has produced one of the strongest Irish folk records of the year with Devils In The Water. Paterson originally cut his teeth performing with the rock group Travis Oaks, but the music on Devils In The Water is contemporary folk music through and through. The strong Sufjan Steven’s influence aside, Paterson’s introspective and experimental music feels fresh and vibrant. The use of sound collages and layered acoustic guitars on top of Paterson’s skewed vocal melodies gives the entire record a warped texture. Check out ‘First Song in Germany’ for the full picture. It’s as if you’re hearing the music through a vinyl that’s spent too long in the sun. This push toward experimentation is much to the project’s benefit and really helps Patterson’s music stand out. Performing on Friday evening, Paterson’s performance will be the perfect soundtrack to the sunset in Blessington.


Leila Jane & The Healers

Unfiltered stage, Friday, July 27th

With a mix of folk, blues and Americana, Leila Jane & The Healers are one of the most engaging live acts in the country. Check out their newest release ‘I Got Feelin’ to hear what they’re all about. Leila Jane’s vocals are powerful and enigmatic, constantly climbing toward an impassioned shout without ever breaking. The band share a superb chemistry, probably due to their prolific touring schedule. Leading the group, Jane’s stage presence is almost gravitational, pulling the rest of the band and the entire audience toward the center stage. While many acts attempt the bluesy folk sound and fall short of authenticity, Leila Jane & The Healers are the real deal and absolutely should not be missed.


The Murder Capital

Dimestore tent, Saturday, July 28th

One of the bands creating the biggest buzz around Dublin at the moment, The Murder Capital are a five piece post punk meets Fugazi group. Their recent live recording of ‘Soma’ showcases a young group with an animal intensity. Driving rhythms and distorted guitars are the perfect compliments to lead singer James McGovern’s snarled vocal line. Those who have been lucky enough to catch the group live know about the spectacle that’s in store. For those who are unaware, their Saturday set will be a fantastic introduction. Fans of groups like Shame or Girl Band will find much to enjoy here.



Faerie stage, Saturday, July 28th

Lemoncello are an Irish two-piece alternative folk outfit comprised of Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella. As the name suggests, the cello features prominently in their work as well as the acoustic guitar and some superb vocal harmonies. Creating an earthy folk music. Their debut EP Stuck Upon The Staircase was released earlier this year and despite being only three songs in length accomplishes more than enough to earn the group their place on this list.’Mantlepiece’, the highlight from that EP, is wistful and dreamy. The lead vocal line hovers just above the cello line while reverbed harmonies fill the spaces in between. A recent live performance video shot by Myles O’Reilly proves the duo are more than capable of replicating the serene beauty of their studio work in a live setting. Performing during the early afternoon on the Faerie stage, Lemoncello’s performance will be the ideal tonic to banish any lingering blues from the night before.



Dimestore tent, Sunday, July 29th

Whatever sort of sickly sweet image the idea of bubblegum pop conjures up in your head is probably not the music that Dublin quintet Thumper make. Instead imagine taking the heaviest elements of a group like Sonic Youth combined with the hyperactivity of early Vampire Weekend, pouring gasoline over it and throwing a lit match in for good measure. ‘AFL’, released earlier this year, is the group’s breakneck new single. A dense rhythm section relentlessly pummels the listener while the vocals throw out one-liners to an undeniably catchy melody. It’s frantic, lo-fi and grandiose. The group’s previous releases, including 2017’s Pop! Goes The Weasel! EP and 2016’s Magnum Opus EP display flashes of greatness but the new material finds the group sounding their most focused and sure. Get down to the Dimestore tent on Saturday evening if you fancy a dance or, better still, a mosh.


Just Mustard

Dimestore tent, Saturday, July 28th

Hailing from Dundalk, Just Mustard are a noisy shoegaze group. Fresh from the release of their debut album Wednesday, the band have cultivated an atmospheric and at times severe brand of shoegaze. Throughout the album the group use their instruments like tools, with shrieking guitars and reverb-soaked vocals invoking industrial imagery. While not overtly aggressive, the group’s music certainly verges on menacing from time to time. Take ‘Feeded’, the guitar solo on which feels like something straight out of a Nine Inch Nails record. Yet, despite the sinister overtones, the group manage to inspire an ephemeral beauty throughout these songs. Take a moment out of the weekend rush and catch Just Mustard.

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