The Best Bands of Electric Picnic 2011

Oh Land

I’ve been banging on about Oh Land to anyone who’ll listen for about a 9 months now, so I was dying for this gig. I figured her blend of infectious electro-pop could win over even the toughest critic, and by the end Nanna (her real name) had the whole crowd in the Electric Arena bopping. You could almost see them quickly become new Oh Land fans. Her sleeper hit Sun of a Gun was a showstopper along with the epic We Turn it Up. Oh Land has the distinction of being an artist that sounds infinitely better live than she does recorded. Not only that but she puts on a great show. Her percussionist/drummer was also the best drummer at the Picnic. Hands down (no pun intended).


Jape were not to be missed to considering their last EP venture. And they certainly didn’t disappoint, despite the fact that their setlist was largely new material. I enjoyed the gutsy decision to pack it with unreleased material, which only served to prove that there’s a great album forthcoming. They did get their hits out towards the end and the crowd got really into the gig then. The atmosphere along with the musicianship of the band shone throughout, and they ended the gig with a big tune by Richie’s other band The Redneck Manifesto.

White Lies

This one. This one is up there with Arcade Fire as possibly the best set of the whole festival. Sounding fantastic, with an understated stage, the band packed out the Electric Arena with huge mix of people and won fans and non-fans over with their anthemic sounds. At the beginning, I was concerned with the fact that there was a baby in a pram next to me, but it was quickly removed as I think the parents realised that a White Lies gigs is not conducive to a sleeping baby. They hammered out the gig with gutso, blending the hits from their two albums effortlessly. Death and Bigger Than Us had the crowd going to no end. One excited punter climbed one of the tent’s supports… what was with stupid people climbing things at my favourite gigs? Solid gold. Gods of indie rock in my eyes.

Zola Jesus

This woman ended my Electric Picnic experience (if you don’t count the Chairplanes). Arriving at the Cosby stage, I was a little disappointed to see so few people there, but her captivating and absolutely massive voice drew in hundreds of walk-ins. Zola managed to fill the tent with her vocals, which despite having to strain to hear the lyrics, are used so intensely as a final instrument in the huge sound that her show is. And she’s only teeny tiny too. Her stage presence and her presence at the show was unbelievable. Night from her 2nd album Stridulum II stood out as a favourite among the crowd, but the song she closed with (been searching for an answer but no idea what it was called. I expect it’s from her forthcoming album) was above and beyond anything I expected. Huge, huge drums served up with a lesson on how to close a show vocally, you couldn’t help but walk away feeling both exhilarated and bemused.

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