Live Music + Gig Reviews

Forbidden Fruit 2012 @ Grounds of Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin

4 June 2012

In London, just about the entire capacity of the British media is being dedicated to persuading rain-sodden Brits that some rickety looking boats and an irritated looking monarch equal LIFE-CHANGING. In Dublin, in the beautiful grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (the Royal Hospital, as was), Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are blowing horns and minds. Welcome to the Forbidden Fruit Festival, perfect antidote to monarchist flag-waving and forelock-tugging.

Grimes arrives in Dublin fresh from Field Day. The Irish crowd has heard both good things and that Grimes is arse-achingly twee. The first reports were correct; Grimes is the real deal. Swaddled in a huge army coat against the chill of an Irish summer, she rocks the tent to its core.

Repping for the home team, Le Galaxie deliver gorgeous noise. They play dance music on rock instruments and their album (which is free, free, free!) is a revelatory experience. With a new EP set to drop soon, expect Le Galaxie to be on everyone’s buzz list next year.

Berlin’s Kool Thing are as noisy and dark as you’d expect a band named after a Sonic Youth song to be. It works but is somewhat hampered by malfunctioning lights that keep the players shrouded in more shadow than even they might have wished for. Hopefully we’ll see them again soon. Literally.

Another hometown crew, Little Green Cars are just wonderful, with three part harmonies and killer tunes in abundance. If you haven’t seen them live, hop over to YouTube and check out My Love Took Me Down To The River.

Bradford Cox is a genius. Atlas Sound is merely another tentacle of his genius and boy howdy are they good live. The modern music world is not replete with cracked majesty, but the light streams out of Cox. How were the tunes? Brilliant. Message ends. Seriously. Message ends.

The Rapture are really goddamn good. You forget that. They just sort of hang around in the background still kicking merry hell out of the cowbell and their poor put upon guitars. House Of Jealous Lovers? Crowd of! Ecstatic Dubliners!

New Order. New Order. New Order. So good. Song after song turns the crowd into an outdoor Hacienda recreation society. The visuals were brilliant, Bernard Sumner sang in tune and the bass playing was thick and taut in a way that will no doubt really irritate the shit out of Peter Hook. Still, Love Will Tear Us Apart remains an odd festival singalong. Ian Curtis, we still miss you.

In the indie boy crush segment of the festival, it was a straight fight between the radiance of Julia Holter and the American-Apparel-model-fronts-an-art-pop-band smarts of Chairlift. We call a tie. Both were stunning. Seriously, buy their records. Tell them we love them.

Andrew Bird arrived in Dublin touting his new record, which is variously being described as his most angry and his most sad. It’s just really, really, really good and he still brings it live with violin skills that make him the Jimmy Page of kooky indie rock. We’re sure he’d take that comparison gladly.

On opposite sides of the site Beirut and Liars did auditory battle. Liars, roadtesting new material, were noisy and nasty and great but a festival mix doesn’t show them at their best. Beirut meanwhile is as beautiful as ever, a sweet afternoon treat.

Mazzy Star remain utterly wonderful and Hope Sandoval is a goddess. Sure it’s more of a Valentine’s card than a review but we cannot lie: Mazzy Star is the sound of a life-changing orgasm with a partner so beautiful you cannot believe your luck.

Closing up the weekend, Chromatics and Wilco are equally wonderful. Wilco rule the main stage with easy charm while Chromatics’ electro seediness makes an entire audience fantasise about being Ryan Gosling out for a brief drive and a bit of ultra-violence. A killer end to a killer festival. Do yourself a favour, fly over for Forbidden Fruit next year. You will not regret it – which is something the sodden masses watching boats could not say.

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