Castlepalooza 2013 Sunday Review
Castlepalooza Festival – Sunday Review
Sunday the final day of Castlepalooza began with mud, a high sun and high hopes for an exciting ending to the weekend’s huge line up of new and up-and-coming music. While the sun did its best to hang in there, Castlepalooza’s featured musicians were determined to compensate for the weather on Saturday with some killer performances.
Halves – Metro Stage
Dublin band Halves, an alternative electronic with a decidedly ambient edge comprising of Brian Cash, Margie Lewis and brothers Tim and Elis Czerniak played to a nicely full tent on Sunday afternoon. Everyone was sitting on the ground soaking up their slow paced alt-rock with keys like rockets taking off. Tuning forks could possibly explode from the volume though. Nice chilled out buzz, they said that they prefer Castlepalooza to Indiependence as their set had some errors there. Gemma Hayes has worked on backing vocals with them on a song or two. Slightly heavy at times, overall Halves were nice to hear after some very full on lively acts yesterday. “The Glass Wreckage” and “Drip Pools” were performance well within a very niche sound, but a very, very loud set that almost burst our ear drums.
Arman Giorgio – Metro Stage
Over in the Metro Stage Arman Giorgio played great funky house kept the vibes alive, however in general this guys covering and sampling everything from Bowie to Daft Punk. Nothing wildly original here, Arman Giorgio kept the festivals ravers on top form. Not for everyone.
Vann Music – Metro Stage
Electro pop band Vann Music from Dublin instantly connected with the crowd opening with “Be My Balloon”, an on the spot anthem. Dressed in vests, they’re fit, they’re young and they have immense stage presence. With Ross Fortune of Benny Smiles on synth, an incredible guitarist and drummer in Phil Costello and Robert von Bergen, this band has got something going on. Fusing French House and Electro for “Let’s Dance” a Bowie cover never fails, but this was distinctly in their own style. Aaron Smyth the lead singer sounds like “Bono” and he even moved about like “Mick Jagger”, not a drop of sweat in sight. The band seriously looked like they were having the time of their lives; they owned the stage like old professionals. “Into the Night” was another gorgeous anthem live, a bit like St. Lucia” and “Life in Real Time” and “Tina” were slick, similar to the band “MGMT”. Everyone was seriously dancing, what a hot band they were at Castlepalooza! The logo for the band on the stage wall was very industrial metal in style, however, they can prove me wrong on that one over time if they become insanely popular. Vann Music are absolutely, without a shadow of doubt ones-to-watch!
Enemies – Vodafone Main Stage
Conor Adams (The Cast of Cheers) on vocal inspired and ignited the ladies interest in the crowd, he’s a dab hand with instrumental soaring guitar riffs with some intricate layers at times. “Executive Cut” was heavy and hard alt-rock that blew our soreheads wide-open. Receiving a decent slot punters fill the main stage area, it seems as though instrumental guitar music is becoming increasingly popular these days (it would bring a tear to your eye if you knew of other acts attempts to establish the genre over the years). Dangerously similar to ASIWYA, their songs are a melodic a nod to “The Redneck Manifesto” legacy if there was any, plus “God is an Astronaut”. Main stage area was the busiest it has been all weekend, their last album is called Embark, Embrace and worth a peak.
Girls Names – Vodafone Main Stage
Belfast band Girls Names played their surf punk-rock melodies looked wonderful and in their element dressed in denim and dark shades. Lead singer Cathal Cully of the band sounded a bit like Morrissey and Claire Miskimmin on bass her style is similar to “The Pixies” with a slight “The Cure” element. “Hypnotic Regretion” is the personification of their sound. Cathal was incredibly grateful and thankful to have such a great response, it was so nice to dance to Girls Names and the crowd swayed from side to side as a giant blow up doll crowd surfed across the front row. They also probably had one of the most unique light show of the weekend. I’m going to definitely have to see these guys again these guys were personal favourites of mine and the crowd loved them. Another for the one’s to watch list.
ASIWYFA – Vodafone Main Stage
Northern Irelands leading band ASIWYFA burst open their stage set with lights like a the sun on stage shone blinding our eyes with “Big Thinks Do Remarkable” from their recent album All Hail Bright Futures. We had our medevil head bang and rock hand gestures in place. “Oh oh oh” lights flashing ignited the crowd, who were leaping about going insane. They said being here is fing amazing. Biggest crowd attracted now for “Beautiful Universe Master Champion”, what an epic, amazing song. A couple of songs fell down sound wise in the middle and lost us. “7 Billion People All Alive At Once” could not have fitted the mood better. ASIWYFA and their last euphoric song eased the pace a little bit. ASIWYFA the modern day nomads are embarking on an American tour. Ending to wolf whistles, rock hands in the air – overall ASIWYFA were loved by their fans and the festival crowd. Don’t doubt these guys they may come and take you in the night.
Le Galaxie – Vodafone Main Stage
Dubliners Le Galaxie landed, masked and hooded and they kicked off their amazing set with “Who, Us? “creating a massive buzz across the castle grounds. Resembling shadows with silver outlines, with the lights beaming in a way that made it impossible to see their faces “Beyond Transworld” and “ Midnight, Midnight” had the crowd going wild dancing. Aluminous bands placed on all of the crowds wrists created a cool impression, like a sea of a neon rainbows and looked great during “Powers of Miami” and “The Nightcaller (feat. Laura Smyth)”. People were running and dancing around dressed in neon and aluminous wire, it was really cool to experience. Their sound at times was quite muted, however keeping us interested with costume changes and props – there is something very mysterious about Le Galaxie that is hard to put my finger on. Giving it their all they just weren’t really connecting and didn’t really speak to us, at all. Le Galaxie gave it their all as closing headliners for Castlepalooza and the crowd absolutely loved them especially their last songs “Streetheart”, “CNNXN” and “Love System”. Good work Le Galaxie, albiet the majorly inward communication and pompous interaction.
Sunday was a wonderful day at Castlepalooza, some of the acts were a little on the instrumental guitar and alt-electronice side and it would have been nice to see a more diverse range of genres. Benny Smiles, NIaller9 and Last Days of 1984’s schedules conflicted with mine, I highly recommend seeing these guys live if you have yet to see them. Castlepalooza is for those that like the comfort of a small setting with relatively unknown bands before they hit the big time. With the mud and torrential rain of Saturday a distant memory, we were very sad that it was over and we look forward to going again next year.
Review by Áine Byrne