Saturday continued the good weather as we got going with funktastic !!!, a band who always have a habit of getting me in the mood. Putting them on at 3pm seemed a bit odd, but it worked out well as a warm-up for M.I.A.
I first encountered Mathangi Arulpragasam two years ago, listening to the mangled noises of her debut, Arular, and absolutely fell in love with its insane mix of sounds. Now with the release of Kala, I was fascinated at how M.I.A. live would work. Hanging around the Electric Arena tent after !!! I stood witness to a last minute sound check where a myriad of sounds, bleeps and noises were projected out over the PA. At this point I knew I was in for a treat.
I had committed myself to making mental notes on each set but that all went out the window when Arulpragasam came on stage. The total melting pot of sounds made me lose control for the hour. Standing out in the frenetic blur were Bucky Done Gun from Arular and Jimmy from Kala. The former was personalised for the festival with Ireland getting it’s very own shout out in the opening lines.
Next up was DJ Marky, a Brazilian drum’n'bass artist. At 6pm on a bright Irish evening in a sweaty dance tent, it seemed a less than appealing prospect, but I was pleasantly surprised. While sticking to anthems he managed to give a few nods to other artists at the festival, including M.I.A.’s Galang – cue frenzy. Finishing up with The Prodigy may have been obvious but it was certainly welcome.
After this, Ladytron almost seemed like a welcome calm. Sticking to the favourites like International Dateline and Seventeen, the band managed to give the crowd what they wanted. It was nice to see a variation from the album tracks though with Seventeen being almost unrecognisable from the original version. Only in the chorus lay the clues to the song that had been.
Shockingly, one of the most anticipated acts (for me at least) was set up to play in the tiny Nokia Trend Tent. The Field, aka Axel Willner, were simply amazing. Opening with his mix of Annie‘s Heartbeat, the set jumped from good to better. The sound of the summer Over The Ice worked so well as the sun went down. The crowd was pretty small, but those who were there realised what they were witnessing was something special. Despite the annoyance of clashing with Final Fantasy and Simian Mobile Disco we knew we’d made the right choice. At the end of the set, people stood looking around in amazement with very big smiles on their faces.
The Chemical Brothers headlining the Main Stage on the Saturday seems like such a perfect end to the day. And in a way it was, as they played tracks from almost every album, and stuck to what they knew the crowd would love. But that’s where it kind of came unstuck. The first hour of the set saw Do It Again with some very psychedelic videos involving giant dancers and clowns, but it was followed by a very downbeat second hour with a starry visuals and tracks like Star Guitar – hardly working up to a sweaty end. While enjoyable, it wasn’t quite the close to Saturday that most people had been looking forward to.