First up is sprightly sixsome Intinn, whose unique brand of Celtic reggae goes down a treat. The band, based in the West of Ireland, merge reggae beats with Irish harp – a sound that has to be heard to be believed! The unconverted in the audience are hugely impressed. They’re followed by Sounds Of System Breakdown, who thrill the crowd with an impressive array of electro-indie nuggets from their lauded eponymous debut album. Some furious front of stage moshing greets Jody Has A Hitlist, the pop-punk outfit who’ve brought all the kids who normally hang outside the Central Bank Building on Saturday with them. Equal parts Green Day, Good Charlotte and One Night Only, you can imagine the quintet shifting serious numbers of records on the other side of the Atlantic. Next up, The Brilliant Things are crisp as toast: veering from Moroder-era Blondie to G N’R riffage, and featuring a platinum haired singer in Marie Junior, eye-linered musical whiz Greg French on guitar and a drop dead cool bass-player, they work the room smartly and come out on top. In a set laced with slick, heavily processed electro-rock with shiny bits and bobs glued on top, we especially like the wonderfully clumpy one that sounds a bit like Republica playing ‘LA Ex’. A compliment, incidentally.
Later, CODES mix Vangelis-type keyboard wizardry with stadium rock theatrics. Muse and Radiohead are obvious but unavoidable references: those soaring choruses, those choirboy soprano vocals. Songs like ‘Guided By Ghosts’ also have something of late-period JJ72 about them, while ‘In Algebra’ fairly motors along under Decembery ’80s textures. Consider this lot for soundtrack duties on any remake of Close Encounters.
Up in the Green Room, Newton Faulkner is conducting a guitar workshop, and packed it is too. The 25-year-old Mr Acoustico has perfected a beguiling guitar style that is part flamenco tap, part Tim Buckley alchemy, peppered with vicious little triple-time strums, pinging harmonics and bass drum parts produced by the thump of forearm on wood. Faulker’s got a nice line in self-deprecating Python wit and manages to verbalise about guitar techniques and abstract open tunings in accessible language. A partisan crowd eat from his hand.
Back in the live room, Joe Echo’s guitar-led experimental pop bears true troubadour soul before The Cast Of Cheers serve up breakneck spazz rock of the highest order, with groovesome new material sitting nicely among skuzzy Chariot favourites ‘Goose’ and ‘I Am Lion’. These guys have it. Next, Maud In Cahoots weave quite the spell out of piano, cello,  violin, drums and tuba. The words are wrought from betrayal, faithlessness, secrets and lies, but the music is pure Bronte pop: Kate, Flo, Bat For Lashes, with a dose of Brechtian psychodrama. It ain’t all that heavy though: they also do a fine line in two minute blasts garnished with Waits-y megaphone and Dresden Dolls propulsion. Like the man said – play that piano like a percussion instrument ’til your fingers bleed a bit. Matching them for intensity is Mick Flannery, another Waits disciple whose gravel-throated paens to love lost and found mark him out as one of our finest singer-songwriters. 30 minutes later, Republic Of Loose provide Saturday’s finale. After a laid back start, Mick Pyro & Co. kick it up a gear with the cheeky-arsed Afro-pop of ‘I Love The Police’ followed by ‘How Is Your Brain?’, which sounds a bit like like Steely Dan playing ‘Diamond & Pearls’-era Prince. A breezy ‘I Like Music’ gets the crowd grooving, Mick finds his P-funk mojo in earnest and they’re home free.