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Electric Picnic review: Sunday
With Lianne La Havas, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Cashier No. 9...
Stuart Clark, 10 Sep 2012
The brilliant mid-afternoon sun means that the Cosby Stage crowd for Rainy Boy Sleep is on the lesser side, but the Donegal Native Also Known As Steve Martin sticks to the task and delivers a gorgeously understated set that sounds a bit like James Morrison on one of his moodier days.
There’s just time to catch Cashier No. 9 being all Byrdsian – ‘Goldstar’, ‘Lost At Sea’, ‘Oh Pity’ et al really are things of West Coast beauty – before The Fat Lady Sings remind us why in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s they were the ‘Irish band most likely to…’
Still the happiest man in rock and/or roll, Nick Kelly looks like a dog with several willies as he runs through ‘Arclight’, ‘Drunkard Logic’ and ‘Fear And Favor’ – songs that in a parallel universe are reverberating around stadiums.
Like Lianne Le Havas, English surfer dude Ben Howard has reached the point of critical mass whereby the Electric Arena is jammed a full half-hour before he comes on. Variously compared to John Martyn and Nick Drake – both are to differing extents justified – Howard has developed the neat trick of flipping his guitar over and using the back as an extra layer of percussion. There’s nothing gimmicky though about ‘London’ and ‘Promise’, songs that strike the perfect balance between introspection and pop nous.
I’m not sure if journalists are allowed to use words like “otherworldly” and “transcendent” any more, but they really are the best way to describe Perfume Genius, who’d do a decent job of filling in for Jonsi if the aforementioned Sigur Ros were ever short a frontman.
You can hear a pin drop as eyes closed, head swaying, voice immaculate he performs Learning’s ‘Lookout, Lookout’. There’s also rapt silence for his cover of Madonna’s ‘Oh Father’, which with its “You can’t hurt me now/ You once had the power/ I never felt so good about myself” refrain says as much about Mr. Hardreas encountering parental opposition to his homosexuality as it does Mr. Ciccone trying to dictate how his daughter lead her life.