After a rough night – I don’t sleep well in jeans, the stag party never shut up and my mate Jacqui started upright at about 5am and swore loudly at a passer-by who chose to unzip his flies over our tent – we were back on the Charleville and Fruice before dashing off for a second day’s Paloozin‘. The only downpour of the weekend led many people to Le Boudoir for Frenchwoman Lauren Guillery, her reacharound caress of guitar and ringing voice coaxing out a wake-up call to an untidy crowd. It was 2pm but God knows she’s always awake and perky on MySpace at Ridiculous AM!
HotPress’ Castle Palooza competition winners owned the afternoon, two excellent choices summing up the outlook of new bands. Joe Echo looked proud as punch up on the main stage, blue and loving it. Rock’n'roll never loses its popularity and it’s been a good year for guitars despite the success of more alternative bands like SEBP and Fight Like Apes.
The contrast came in a storming performance from Grand Pocket Orchestra. Dayum, but they’re just so much fun!
You might actually notice a difference in the quality of the GPO pics versus the majority, my battery was charging so I borrowed Toni‘s Canon and gave it a bash, it felt a bit hit-and-miss using someone else’s camera so I’m delighted I managed to capture the vibrance of their set.
Next up were South African guests The Parlotones, whose tear-streaked emo cool went down well with the crowd. I heard a forty-something man crooning “I lurrve them!”. Black gold!
Colm Lynch was doing amazing things in Le Boudoir backed to a full ensemble including a saxophonist. Outside it was sunny but the tent was positively heaving with appreciative fans. I think a lot of people fled inside to avoid Yaz Alexander‘s Irie vibe which began with vim and vigour but got tiring pretty fast. I personally loved her!
Ducking and diving all the while, I dodged around the site snapping happy people, puffy dogs and a horrendously long queue for the WC. Unfortunately for Cherrycool, their unique attraction of proper toilets backfired nastily when the castle’s water supply was diminished and every loo on site quickly clogged up with waste. I felt terribly sorry for the attendants who worked so hard solve the problem of plumbers on a bank holiday Sunday. There may be emergency Portaloos on standby next year….
It was great to catch Moebius in the tent, I’d heard a lot about these guys and never got the chance to see them live. Expecting a trancey edge, I would have been disappointed if I wasn’t a die-hard Grunge fan. You can hear strong themes from the best of Nineties rock within their spirited display but I’m not sure if the performance was their best or if the instrumental section is meant to override the electronic so heavily. That said, their reception was very warm and they recieved strong applause from the milling crowd, no mean feat considering Robotnik was due on the main stage.
2008 has seen the delivery of his debut album Pleasant Square and you can tell that his songs have been lovingly crafted by lengthy live renditions. I’ve loved Michael Grady Went To Mexico since first hearing it at the Spiegeltent in 2006 but the difference in its delivery now is assured and strong. Possibly the cheekiest performer in Ireland, Chris Morrin came under fire after soaking his audience and a good few sausageboxes with a turbo-charged water gun. He spent the next few hours selling albums and apologies in the courtyard!
Now, The Chapters are a very pleasant band who fuse elements of pop and folk with electro twists of guitars and keys and were perfect for the early evening slot on the main stage. They drew a decent crowd and looked happy to be there.
Dirty Epics, however, did not deserve the second-last live billing of the night. They work hard as other bands but have not achieved the same success and would have been better suited to follow GPO or precede Robotnik. A bit miffed, I retreated for food, a cool pint and some downtime with friends. Fight Like Apes were next and after a weekend of abstinence on the booze front, the time had come to let loose.
So a Ready To Rock (™ Lauren Guillery) Nay rolled into the FLA pit with a ciggie and bottle of Corona dangling along with the camera. I like this band, I like that they’re not the rich, sexy or cool kids, they don’t have a guitarist or give a fuck. Chuck a EuroStore kiddie’s golf club at any other band in Ireland and watch them blush. Chuck one at MaykApes and watch her command a baying, frantic army. Then watch her chuck it at the dickhead in the front row who never stopped roaring through the first five songs. She shoulda sent Pockets over with his pots!
While everyone anticipated the two prolific DJ sets from Mystery Jets and Republic of Loose capping off each night, I think they fell a little flat. We headed up the front for a dance in both instances, looking to bop our hearts out to the funk and soul the ‘Loose style themselves upon but the buzz never really materialised and we drifted off in search of darker pleasures.
All weekend I’d looked forward to DJ Tu Ki‘s finalisation in Le Boudoir and was not alone: the tent was jammers, hot, sweaty and buzzing with the makings of legendary memories. However after working all week while battling a pretty serious dental/ear infection and olympic nightmares, it was a little too much, too late for me.
I headed to chill with my mates in the shady Paloobuz, parked away behind the castle and jam-packed with familiar faces who’d played and stayed all weekend. I decided there was only so much hard liquor I could take in one night and donated a bottle of Jaeger to the Castle cause. I was exhausted, sated and spent, fit only for a final cheese sandwich before reuniting with my iPod…rustling treetops cast great silhouettes across tent interiors, as if Nature becomes a VJ after dark.
If you were part of the stag party be very ashamed. The mess you left behind was revolting.
Otherwise a big shout-out to the entertainment.ie lads for the lift home, RedKid for the fortune cookies, Pat O’Leary for the Nikon charger, Cillian for the booze and free wireless, Gill, Maria and the HP headers, Toni and Jacqui for their good company and of course, everyone who worked so hard to ensure CP retained its crown as Ireland’s premier Irish music festival. Looking forward to next year already!