Electric Picnic 2017 Review

Another EP over, and although not as good a lineup as previous years, there were enough highlights and moments to make it all worthwhile.

The first band I caught was Sub Motion in Jimmie Lee’s Juke Joint in Trailer Park and they didn’t disappoint. Nice sound and riffs. I’ll check them out more going forward.
As I was playing, I only managed to see a few other bands on the Friday night. Inate have a punchy rock sound that deserves a bigger stage. Its guitar rock that seems to be overlooked these days, but its raw power always do it for me. Definitely a Pearl Jam/Jeff Buckley influence, but Inate have their own groove and style.
Megacone were the only other act I caught and they have their own entertaining and skilled instrumentation, making a complex interaction of multiple guitars and bass/ drums (and flute!) sound so easy and likeable. I’m a fan!
And Mustache do what they do best, pump out the tunes, and with a singer that can deliver.. great vocals!
I did manage to catch a few songs from Lowly on the Body and Soul main stage at 1.30am, and this Danish atmospheric electronic quintet definitely need further investigation.
I really liked their sound.. and the chemistry and experimentations.

I missed Touts on Saturday, but by all accounts they were a blast. I saw them last year, and their teenage punk sound is my type of noise..
I saw Bitch Falcon on the Other Voices stage, and although I like their recorded sounds, this live performance didn’t work completely for me. The gig in OV was full, and they gave it loads, but something is missing for me.
I’ll check them out again and perhaps will find them more convincing.. I didn’t stay for the full performance.
The Riptide Movement in Rankin Wood was as you’d expect. Stomping tunes and an enthusiastic crowd. I’m just getting into their latest album, so I’m sure I’ll catch them again soon. I scooted off to Madness before they finished.
Madness deliver fun. That’s what they do. And Suggs is great. The first album I bought was Complete Madness, it could have been a lot worse.. With songs like One Step Beyond, House of Fun, Our House, and It Must Be Love, they are always entertaining, and even the younger EP crowd are infected with the Madness vibe.. Great afternoon show, before the rain!

Next up was These Charming Men at Salty Dog, and hearing Morrissey Marr O’Rourke Joyce being replicated so well is impressive.
But it is Morrisseys insightful lyrics and the spectacular brilliance of Marr’s guitar that shine, under the shelter of the trees at the Salty Dog stage. Surely this could become an annual event, celebrating the Smiths !

By this time the rain had started so it was in the tents for me.
Japandroids rocked, as they always do, and I dipped into Rankin Wood for some experimental electronics with Floating Points. It was good but I preferred his Body & Soul set a few years back when he had a full band with him.
My final gig of the night was Interpol in the Electric Arena.
It started well, and I am a fan of Interpol, but the first album in full is hard work, and perhaps, in a different setting, and when I was less tired, it might work better. Interpol are quite direct, angular and rigid, so it’s not for everyone.
They did finish with Evil which is a standout song, and Untitled, Obstacle 1 and NYC which they started with are superb.
I remain a big fan, but I can understand how it lost some people and the crowd dwindled, but that could have been due to the rain and tiredness. They started about 40 minutes later than advertised, but I believe this was due to an issue with the previous performance of Annie Mac which had problems.

On Sunday I started with Goat Girl.. and they did enough to make me want to check them out some more. There is a country sleaze to their sound and its got twangs and pumping drums. These women are serious.. I can see the moonlandingz connection.
I then checked King Kong Company for a couple of tunes, and the Electric Arena was mobbed for a 3.30pm set. I’ve seen them many times so I know how good they are. I wanted to check Section Boyz.. and 6 rappers giving it loads was what I got.. trapping ain’t dead, that’s correct. Great energy. Next up was the Lemon Twigs. I expected them to be twee, 60s Californian pop, based on the recordings I heard, but there is definitely a much more complex tapestry in the live setting. One of the more interesting sets of EP 2017. I’ll be checking these out some more.
Next up was some Rag N Bone man.. I had favoured Michael Kiwanuka when listening to both pre picnic, but live, there is more on offer from Rag N Bone man. The crowd was defintely young, and huge, so he appeals to a younger audience. Not really the music I listen to, but I won’t be writing him off completely.
After that I caught Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders. I liked Chrissie a lot. She really rocks. Perhaps because I managed to get within 10 rows of the front of the stage. I got a great vibe from her, and her band, and it was a rocking show. She definitely has something, that inspires. Good reaction from the crowd around me.
I probably like music that has more of an edge or that is experimental, but for what she does, it works for me.
After that, I caught the last song of Michael Kiwanuka.. Love & Hate, and even that small snippet was enough to confirm his greatness to me.. superb.
Parquet Courts are my type of band. They make dust sound dirty, and fuse rock and grunge and post punk aggression in a well thought out invasion of the head. I only saw 3 songs, but I’m sure I’ll catch them again. Instead I went to the Electric Arena to see the one band I dared not miss at EP2017 – Band of Horses. I had seen them many years ago at Oxegen, but now was my chance to see what they had become since the release of their debut album. I was not disappointed. From the opening bar of Is There A Ghost from Cease to Begin (album is 10 years old), and a selection of the best tracks from their 5 albums, the gig and the band won me over in on time.
Laredo, No One’s Gonna Love You, and the magnificent Funeral.. this is one of the standout gigs of Electric Picnic.. Wow!
I can’t really follow on from that. Car Seat Headrest were excellent, and worth seeing again. I also caught Duran Duran, Pond and Kiasmos, but my EP had its highlight. Until next year, surely the lineup has to be a better one…

One thing stood out too, on Sunday the sunshine was amazing!!