It’s been two days, I’m successfully re-hydrated and I’ve slept like a baby back in my bed, so I reckon it’s about time to reflect on what was a veritable plethora of fantastic at Electric Picnic 2011. Now, granted I didn’t get a chance to see or do absolutely everything, so this is the best of what I managed to cram in.
As Torches proved, Mark Foster’s ability to write catchy tunes is almost unbelievable. This summer’s “OMG I love this, who’s this by?” song Pumped Up Kicks proved a highlight as it had the whole crowd in the over-packed Cosby Stage singing and dancing, but tunes like Helena Beat and Houdini really made my Friday at EP. The only downside to their set was the fact that the Cosby Stage couldn’t possibly fit the amount of people who turned out for the gig and left a lot of people listening from outside.
A contender for the best live band going, Arcade Fire proved once again that they can bring down the house as they stepped on stage for their headlining set on Saturday of EP 2011. We found a great spot*, good view of the stage, better view of the visuals and the crowd surrounded us. There was a magical buzz in the air as the anticipation got the best of a lot of people. They stormed the stage playing a lot of songs from The Suburbs but also knocking out the best of their stuff from Funeral and Neon Bible, pleasing the humongous crowd to no end. Added to the fantastic set was the numerous balloons floating about along with the 50 or so people with sparklers.
* We found a great spot after we moved. We ended up moving because some idiot in a dressing-gown climbed a tree, shortly followed by his mate. Needless to say, because everyone saw it coming, the branch they both occupied snapped and they fell. Luckily they escaped relatively unharmed (I think) despite the fact that one of them was falling head first only to right himself just before the ground and landed with a horrible thump on his back. He was quickly dragged up by another attendee – another idiot. I felt sorry for the tree, if I’m honest.
I didn’t know exactly how Lykke’s music would translate to the open-space Main Stage, especially seeing as James Blake’s set was basically vaporised mid-note and would have been far, far better suited to a tent. But then she emerged from the dry ice and took to the stage clad in a flowing black number opening confidently, proving a commanding presence on the main stage. The audience were with her the whole way, and she gave one of the most vocally arresting performances backed with a very impressive light show. Dance, Dance, Dance and the closing number Get Some were audience favourites but for me Lykke’s more laid back vibes on Sadness is a Blessing and Unrequited Love were the real gems.
Eleventy’s set was only the second gig we watched in the Body and Soul area, having to substitute some of the fantastic gigs for ones around the main arena. But having seen her EP mini-tour earlier this year, we knew we couldn’t miss it for the world. We sat in the front row, unbeknownst at the time that we were sitting next to our friend Red Lemonade. Not only were we tickled with the wonderfully quirky stories she tells in her songs but also with her humour and ability to heckle from the stage. She joked about the band of drummers that forced her to stop the set midway through. She also joked about the zombie bride and bridesmaids that passed by, along with calling out an audience member with a handlebar mustache and a fetching purple jumpsuit commenting that he was “80′s power dressing female executive who wanted to pilot her own plane and nobody could stop her, dammit”. It was definitely part impromptu stand-up, part music gig. Jeff Nelson (I cannot get enough of the story behind it) and La Dolce Vita (The Cake Song) were the highlights.
On the next page, you’ll find talent from Denmark, Ireland, England and the US