Castlepalooza 2013 Friday Review
Castlepalooza Festival – Friday Review
Co. Offaly’s small and relatively low key festival nearly didn’t happen for me, but when it did the bags were packed in five mins – Hiking Boots – check. Tent – check. Rain Jacket – check and Tickets – CHECK! God only knows what was forgotten, but we did our damndest to get the hell on down to Castlepalooza, blasting past bank holiday traffic, security scrutiny and fiddly tent building. Eventually we arrived to the Metro stage (the only available tent) on Friday night for the weekend. Considering the lack of international high profile bands only up and coming or unknown acts, Castlepalooza set itself with no expectations, which was a good thing.
Sunlight went down quickly while Lowlek from Cork and their head banging side kick were on stage. The band call themselves an ‘Alternative-Funk collective’ they indeed rocked us but more so with their psychedelic grunge that has a seriously 70’s funk edge. Very swanky bass (and might I say), extremely swanky guitar as well! Self indulgent in places, sure they said so themselves, “Janis Joplin” and “Jimi Hendrix” would be rocking out in their graves or wherever they ended up. Anyway, the man on guitar, Arran MacGabhann, wears these spectacles that look like something out of “StarTrek” and he gave us a serious education on guitar-manship, scaling along with natural ease. Their music would have you pulling a muscle in your neck, that type of audience mayhem is being predicted. Whipping out a trumpet the lead performer is more than just a masked face. Touches of “Jamiroquai” influence here and there, with a space-like warped vibe for “Brainseed”. Lowlek are definitely geared towards a younger, more “student” type of audience… however they filled the tent making us all clap in unison; great crowd interaction. They left the stage with their swanky spacey sound swimming around our heads. If alt-funk with a psychedelic edge is your thing go follow Lowlek.
Overhead, the Albatross
Avert your eyes, avert… Overhead absolutely smashed home their songs after a stint recording in Czech Republic. They are blasting onto the scene and did this on Friday again, amidst a flashing backdrop. Hailing from Kildare and Dublin, the post rock-experimental act played their instrumental guitar and drum finery, sounding similar to “God Speed You Black Emperor” and “The Butterfly Explosion”. Lead guitarist and vocals by Joe Panama is both youthful and euphoric; in fact they breathed life back onto the Metro tent area ‘big time’, after the gap between themselves and Lowlek. Overall, their sound is like tests or experiments of the metal kind, layered with synth and additional computer generated sound effects. On stage the lights show was simply epileptic fit inducing, although at the same time this combination was very inspiring for lovers of the instrumental and experimental rock genre that is finding itself very popular with the rise of ASIWYFA and Enemies. The Crowd loved them, they closed to roars plus hands in the air complete and utter mayhem…Overhead, the Albatross did really well and captivated the public. Listen to ‘Pigonometry’, ‘Flubirds’ and try to catch them live; everyone liked them.
Ian Ring and Rachel Koeman gave a great electronic performance especially Rachel/Young Wonder with her Rat/Wolf headpiece. It was my first Young Wonder experience, so I was all about taking in this new experience and so I write this to you off the cuff. Stage dynamic-wise, the backdrop during their set was both impressive and mesmerizing, a pixelated river of colourful cityscapes and streets – these were simply hypnotic throughout their set all night. Ring’s beats are really fun and trippy at times, plus the crowd loves it. “Electrified” tricked us into stepping into their zone for a while. Koeman is impressive with her furs and her vocal is unique, quite like “M.I.A” and “Little Boots” combined. Overall if you’re into dressing up like an animal and hitting underground dance venues Young Wonder may be for you. Listen to “To You” and “Orange”, I thought these songs were nice pieces, the synth drills our beings into their world and they are absolutely electrifying. As much as I’m not a wolf mask wearing type, I would like to see them again.
Ghostpoet after a long, long sound check finally arrived or should we say the professionals arrived. Dub step nice “eurasure”, the crowd head banging in appreciation, while he eats the microphone and touches the synth in automatic, but no sweat as Ghostpoet has it all in control. Castlepalooza is in safe hands while he trips us into dub mania. So be it. My inerds vibrated like mad while he soothed the crowd…. it’s good to be back… it’s good to be here I love comin’ to Ireland. Crowd shouts almost turn Castlepalooza into a ruin. “Don’t follow” literally knocks and vibrates through the entire audience… we will follow, we will.
JB the Deejay
Ending the night with a couple of hours of dance sounds by JB the Deejay, famous on the scene everyone from Mark Ronson, Erykah Badu to David Holmes have worked with him or played alongside him. As the last act on Friday at Castlepalooza the crowd rammed in for the Dj’s hippop, funk and soul infused house. Everyone packed into the tent and were hammering home the moves to his urban beats some influenced by the London beats scene and other tracks were laced with pop samples. JB is a good dance floor DJ, he kept the campsite there all night.
Given it was a bank holiday we really felt for the first few acts Croupier and Sisters I could hear while building my tent they were getting an awesome response, go check them out for yourselves. Castlepalooza’s music weekend got off to a surprisingly alternative and unexpectedly delicious start, and this was only one tent on the first day.
Review by Áine Byrne