Castlepalooza 2013 Saturday Review
Castlepalooza Festival – Saturday Review
Saturday morning we woke early to the sound of Mr Whippy’s the DJ pulsating out across the surrounding countryside. Music-wise the line up was jam packed with over forty five up and coming acts playing in total over the day. On the ground the setting was super quaint with the castle in the middle, another tent was snug as a bug out the back within the trees, the castles courtyard was a electro and Dj set area. As the heavens spilled down at the main stage, many could have abandoned the area, however a genius decided to construct massive umbrella/mac under the trees which guarded us from the worst of the weather.
Floorstaff – Metro stage
Running quickly to the Metro area we caught up with Floorstaff who bleated and hit us with their brass and saxophone indie-pop sound, while the crowd sat around on the ground. Anthony Donnelly and Stephen Murray were great, however they didn’t really gel with the female backing vocalist, as much nerves were evident. That aside they do have talent, maybe they were nervous besides this it was a nice chilled out vibe. “The Guest” is whimsical with a cool jazz vibe and so is “Good luck”. The crowd staid on the ground, these guys are great to chill out to. At the end, RTE’s Katherine Thomas ran out on stage grabbing the microphone to say: “Are we right there now lads?”, crikey – talk about taking away from their performance! Floorstaff were good, however some nerves hampered their performance.
Liza Flume – Vodafone Main Stage
Moving out to the front of the castle for Australian singer Liza Flume, we had little or no expectations. Liza walked out onto stage, while the rain spilled down in front of her and humbly beating her chest and the side of her guitar. Flume sings acapela and adds layers with a vocal loop. Everyone huddled under that mac in the trees. Liza feels very real as she beats her chest and smacks her arms, her sound is very smooth and soothing. After three songs it was during “Poison in My Veins” she eventually saw the sun come out and audience were drawn in. Using loops she did a Robyn cover of “With Every Heartbeat” and with loops creates the illusion of a choir singing alongside her. Ending abruptly she’s young, she’s new and she’s nervous – that said the crowd completely fell in love with her. Her act Could do with some more support musicians, as the soft sound was hard to hear from ground in the larger main stage. Liza was nice, she in the singer-songwriter niche so that extra support from other musicians this over time should add extra layers to her ideas and sound.
September Girls – Vodafone Main Stage
Stylish mod types, the all girl line up played their catchy 60s infused garage rock songs out as the rain began to spill down upon us. I was rather excited about the ladies, as I had been hearing wonderful things about their music. So, perhaps the weather was getting to a few of the September Girls, as few smiled or spoke to the crowd, only to tell us who they were. Maybe they were nervous or maybe it was my mood (we stood there getting rained on, for them), because we weren’t really treated very well as enthusiasts or fans that had made a point of going to see them. Onward we stood, while the gothic ladies performed their ritual-esque songs, like pagan witches. All that was missing was the alter and goat for the killing ritual. If moody, fashionable garage rock music is your thing, go get killed by September Girls. Here’s a link to “Talking” – decide for yourself and enjoy.
Sorcha Richardson – Vodafone Main Stage
The sun arrived for Sorcha Richardson and her band who are quaintly building up a following between Dublin and New Work, her songs are easy on the ear, however at the same time there is an eclectic indie side to her sound. “Alone” has a powerful combination of vocal and lyrics, many can connect to her. Although dark and sounding slightly like a pop singer- songwriter combined with nice support on keys, drums and bass – her songs are soft and easy going. Her style that captured the majority of the crowds hearts for “I Heart NYC”, as they screamed their heads of while enjoying her. She must have grown up listening to or being spoon fed Elliot Smith and Cat Power as this is evident for “Birds of Summer”. I saw her in the artists area being recorded for AerTV – she’s popular. She has a new single called “Last Train”, which is good. Sorcha was not completely to my taste in music, however if you enjoy sweet pop songs with meaningful lyrics, go follow Sorcha Richardson.
Jethro Pickett – Metro Stage
Tasmanian born Jethro Picket and band arrived on stage at about one hundred miles an hour off a flight from their last gig in Pisa, Italy; they barely made it on time to play. As Jethro and the band began to play they had us from “hello”. Vocals that honeyed upon us smoothly and similar to “Nick Cave” and “Johnny Cash” alongside keys and slide guitar, they exquisitely delivered their folk sounding tunes. “You Were My Queen” is very heart warming and authentic. Gospel is another aspect of his song noticeable within “She’s Like A Dream”. A strong wordsmith “I tried so long, I crashed so low” – he’s got a lot going on here. We will miss his warm sound, the crowd loved his easy going folk music while they relaxed on the floor in the tent. Pickett’s doing a bit a of a European tour at the moment next up after Castlepalooza is Oxford, Horsham and London in the UK. Check out Jethro Pickett (he’s relatively new to soundcloud), this man is the real thing, you have a new fan in me.
Walking on Cars – Vodafone Main Stage
Women will stand under a train for the lead singer, yeh? So I was told these guys are real lady killers. Lads and ladies gave their dance moves socks while the band dangerously similar to “The Coronas” soared their sounds over us. Very clean, tidy pop-rock that Irish audiences are loving right now. Most popular hit was “Catch Me If You Can”. Lead singer shouted to his cousin from the main stage “Told you I was going to be something on day”. Irish pop-rock heroes of today, they’re going to be massive. If rock-pop is your thing walk over cars to see Walking on Cars. Come on the lads from Dingle, Co. Kerry.
Soak – Vodafone Main Stage
Derry born singer-songwriter SOAK is so small and yet managed to shock us all, capturing mine and everyones heart. Soak is un-simply, simple – it’s just her haunting voice and her haunting guitar. Echoing across the courtyard she was magnetic her songs are so detailed and full of her. She clearly has some strong influences for example The XX and Bon Ivor, can be heard in her sound. Placing an Indian feathered head mask for “Sea Creatures” she belts out the song “Please, please get better, for you, for me”. Only god knows someone this young gets lyrics and their meaning so easily, but the singer is special and we were delighted to have seen her. Listen to the song below because SOAK’s one to watch.
Tierranniesaur – Vodafone Main Stage
One of my personal favourites Tierranniesaur were plagued with sound issues from start to finish. Getting off to a stiff start, “Here Be Monsters” rocked out but again the sound interference rang in our ears throughout and messed up their set, setting tensions rising in the crowd and on stage. During “The Changeling” again the sound declined. “Love is a Frightening Sound” is a great song, no sound issues we got right on down with the funky dance moves. Their influence ranges from African beats to alt-funk. They performed “Maro Rides the Waves”, “In The Sargosso” and “Azurra Island” perfectly. Overall, live performance it needs work – the band as some onstage ego balancing to iron out and sound live needs to be seriously worked on for their next gigs. This is coming from a fan with the best of intentions. Quirky and off the wall, I just love Tierranniesaur and their sound.
Cymbals – Vodafone Main Stage
Romantic four piece Cymbals smoothly filled the main stage area with their low-beat disco sounds with a soft vocal overlaid. They’re not really headline material, but they had a couple of nice songs that ripped open the atmosphere and took a good look around, namely “Like An Animal” and “The Natural World”. Other bands like Squarehead or Vann Music could easily have ripped open this slot. Relentlessly, they played on while the rain lashed down on us all, supported by lights and smoke there wasn’t much crowd interaction, so the band focused on their delivery. Cymbals were good, but did little to excite the senses for us revellers who were down and dirty in the mud at Castlepalooza.
Fight Like Apes – Vodafone Main Stage
Fight Like Apes lended their Karate rock faces to Castlepalooza as the rain drilled down into everyone. They literally blasted their hits onto the Irish soil and kept the spirits up and alive. At a mad and frantic pace Fight Like Apes are lots of fun and although not your typical headliner act, I think they did themselves proud. They smacked us awake with a cover of “Raspberry Beret” by Prince and single handily stopped the rain. While the crowd did their best to get into the spirit, FLP were delighted with themselves to be with us they really sung it home.
(Headliners) CSS – Vodafone Main Stage
Opening to drum rolls, the crowd now are drowned like the hell by the rain and they were doing their best to keep the spirits up by shouting “CSS SUCKS” in anticipation. Laser blue lights pointed down on us while Love Foxx stepped onto the stage looking like the little girl from “The Ring” movie with her longer than long, too long black hair. Doesn’t Love Foxx know that Charville Castle is extremely haunted? Singing so softly, the softly approach just wasn’t particularly thrilling and it was so hard to hear her at times. Smoke billowed out from the stage while the crowd raised their hands and hardly cheered. Actually nobody was bothered after the lame opening. Playing lesser known material “Teenage Tiger Cat”, basically a song about a cat and “Hits Me Like A Rock” about being hit by a rock, they didn’t really cut it as they sounded too soft and easy listening. This was not one bit like the excitement that was spilling out from their earlier material. Nowadays they’re a particularly dark and heavy rock outfit, and Love Foxx’s vocals were far too soft over the new sound, gone seem to be the days of their colorful artistic performances. Love Foxx in her banshee outfit was needless to say rather grim and probably most appropriate for “Hangover”, while the rest of the band moved from guitars to synths they showed off their ease as multi-instrumentalists. For “Nothing Hurts” Love Foxx moves and softly grooves about, in Lycra shorts for “Alala”, which ended on a massive drum role.
Stand out songs were all their old super hits “Let’s Make Love And Listen to Death From Above” and “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex”. Newbie “I’ve Seen You Drunk Gurl” really shows that the band have moved towards a more industrial and heavier sound, just with really, REALLY stupid lyrics. Other songs were of a time and a place, so I’m afraid CSS lost me and no doubt most of the crowd, sure I saw half of them running to bed early! That said, CSS do seem to love what they do, unfortunately the new tunes just don’t have the same level of craftsmanship behind them these days. CSS did their best, but are a shadow of their former selves.
Review by Áine Byrne