Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Forbidden Fruit Festival, Kilmainham, Dublin - Mon 4th June

Headed along to the Forbidden Fruit festival on bank holiday Monday and here's a brief rundown of how it went:

First up for your reviewer were Unknown Mortal Orchestra on the Original (main) stage.  They had an odd blend of Jimi Hendrix style rock n roll with a seventies funky disco twist.  And it worked a treat, the audience lapped it up.  At one stage, the main man and lead guitarist, owner of a most beguiling, soulful voice, ran through the crowd playing guitar.  In a set that seemed to get progressively dancier as it progressed.  The Hot Press tent provided a bit of respite from the throngs of people and a cosy chat between Stuart Clark and David Kitt.  Kitt came across as warm and relaxed, as if he sort of can't believe he's still doing this after the best part of twenty years.

The Bulmers Live stage focused on Irish artists, and Fontaines DC played a highly energetic set, bursting with punky energy.  The band belted out the tunes, like a heavier A House or the punkier side of Joy Division and will be one to watch.  Back to the Original stage then for Spoon, who played a strange mix of knotty, complex songs.  Coming across like a rockier Ben Folds at times, they seemed to be having a great time on stage, though didn't make a major impression.  

Grizzly Bear were next up on the main stage but didn't really connect with the crowd.  Their "indified" Beach Boys sound fell a little flat despite glorious weather, and attentions wandered.  Back then to the Bulmers Live stage for a rousing performance by David Keenan.  Watching him, it's hard not to think you've seen this brand of singer-songwriter stuff done before but in fairness to Keenan, he belted out a bunch of strong songs, drawing from elements of Damien Rice, Van Morrison and even John Martyn.  Another artist definitely on the way up.

At this point it was time to head for the darkened Undergrowth tent for the performance of Warpaint.  Much more uptempo than your reviewer had expected, the audience went wild, dancing along to a band who pulled out all the rock and dance moves, even dabbling with dark blues.  Every move elicited excitement from the crowded tent.

After the high of Warpaint, The War on Drugs lulled the crowd into much more of a sedate stupor.  While the likes of Eyes to the Wind and Pain were reproduced faithfully, showing off Adam Granduciel's talents on guitar, these songs aren't exactly rabble rousers.  I'd imagine tracks like An Ocean In Between, work a little better driving down the freeway with your Wayfarers on, than as the soundtrack to the sun going down as the headliner at a festival.  Strangest Thing leant heavily on its slow set synths while in general the band came across as a little too polished and slick.  It took Red Eyes and Under the Pressure to really get the crowd going, with the crowd jumping and dancing to the guitar solos as opposed to singing along to a chorus.  Despite this, the band didn't quite deliver, perhaps headlining a festival is a step too far for them?  But overall, a decent day out, with plenty of good music, never mind the fruit, permitted or not.