What a difference a festival makes. After her appearance at the cavernous and empty Oxegen dance arena, The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson was ready to obliterate our memories of any prior disappointment with a spectacle of a show in the Electric Arena. A show is the operative word as this felt far removed from all other musical performances of the weekend and was instead, an immersive theatrical ambient show in which we happened to hear some excellent Fever Ray songs including newly released Peter Gabriel cover ‘Mercy Street’. Aided by phenomenally impressive green lasers, buckets of dry ice, the entire contents of the lamp section in the local Ikea, rubber-faced mannequin masks and a concealed Andersson in headdress, the audience could barely make out what was on-stage and the songs share that same ethereal quality. A Fever Ray show proves that there is beauty in obscurity.
Those who were brave enough to stick around til the early hours of the Monday morning in the pelting near-torrential rain were treated to the Irish debut of Syrian dance legend Omar Souleyman. Ultra-fast rhythms, the use of an electric saz which is comparable to the sound of a banjo on cocaine and Omar – strutting the stage in a keffiyeh headdress and sunglasses at night, stopping to deliver lyrics and shouts. The music pounds and everyone dances in the rain. It is the best possible way to finish off any festival.
A chance recommendation about this Tel Aviv band’s live show led State to wander over to the Cosby Stage during LCD Soundsystem to find a small melée of people gathered around roaring and judging by the cymbal and the screaming vocalist, the band back near the sound desk. What followed was 30 minutes of mayhem with the band crowdsurfing and playing with the instruments at the same time, sudden movement of the entire rhythm section to outside the tent and then from corner to corner of the tent but never on the stage. They made us sit and “respect the rules” in a tongue and cheek fashion but we were too enamoured with their snotty punk rock tunes that the place erupted in a hail of moshing, beer and other liquids and big smiles. The surprise find of the festival.
Damon Riddick believes in the power of funk. He believes in entertaining too luckily. With a live drummer and a keyboard player with him, the LA man knocks out dark and light-shaded G-funk with a talkbox, a Zapp and Roger-esque playing style and mini mantras on how to live the funk. A superb way to get the tired legs of day three moving.