Leanne Cunningham reports back from Indiependence this past weekend. Pictorial day-by-day specials coming this week!
The fifth annual Indiependence festival saw a further expansion to last year’s layout and line up as the festival grows in popularity. Having to compete with Castlepalooza and Cork festival Lissard, this year it was important to impress and organisers didn’t let anyone down. Set in the small but pretty Mitchelstown, over one hundred bands were booked to entertain the five thousand who were heading from all over the country.
Friday saw large queues as festival security has been forced to become more stringent due to recent mishaps. Finally getting out of queues left everyone feeling ready to start the weekend and what better way to be eased into the madness than the Westmeath lovely, Bressie. As it was my first time seeing his show I was surprised at the power of his voice and just how many screaming girls knew the words to every song. Then it was a short muddy walk over to the Whelans tent to watch festival specialist Jape show just how fun the weekend could be. Playing updated versions of Floating, I Was A Man, and Strike Me Down showed why he has become the respected live artist he has come to be. After Jape had left everyone feeling so pumped up it was back to the main stage to end the night with Maverick Sabre. His unique blend of soul and hip hop kept everyone listening, and as he spoke with his Wexford/London accent between songs it was clear Maverick was happy to be back in Ireland.
The Saturday gave more opportunities to explore the site. This year a Breaking Tunes stage has been added, giving festival goers a chance to see who they could be seeing on the main stage next year. Also, a Body and Soul-esque Love Music Hate Racism area gave families a chance to watch science demos, check out mellow acoustic sets, and debate world issues. Last year the Silent Stage played host to comedians during the day and a silent disco at night, but this year only an hour of the day was given over to comedy, much to many peoples’ disappointment.
Four piece Dublin band Kodaline were the first band who gathered a good sized crowd on the Whelans stage on the Saturday. Recently gathering steam with their fanbase the boys were one to watch for the future. Following on from them was a band that had also played at the festival last year, Zombie Computer. The Cork natives are co-headlining a show with Slow Magic on August 10 and, if doomy electronic music is your thing, then check this duo out. The Pale were up next, and while many of the younger crowd seemed to be confused at the large segment of older fans up the front, they had a wonderful set and gained a whole new fan base. Back outside in the mud and over to the main stage was Royseven, followed by mask wearing and all-round eccentric lads The Frank & Walters.
The two big draws on the main stage on the Saturday was 2manydjs and Feeder. Up first were Feeder, following a gig in Dublins Academy the night before. Playing all their hits, including the one about a cd player that we all sang along to, they got the crowd pumped up and ready for 2manydjs. The Dewaele brothers played mixes that included everything from Chemical Brothers to David Bowie, and while it was generally felt the usual visuals they are known for were missing and sound was off in parts, it was decent but it seems that they didn’t shine like many would expect. If you were still awake at that point and wanted more music you’d have to squeeze into the Big Top tent for Scroobius Pip. Having only seen him previously with Dan Le Sac, it was a great loud and intelligent set for the man who was celebrating his birthday.
Sunday saw many choosing to stay in their tents, sleep off the night before, and avoid the mud. Once again finding security to be very tight meant only hearing Le Galaxies set from the queue, but it kept those waiting entertained. Leaders of Men ended up being the first full set I got to see that day and having never heard of them before, I was surprised by their stage presence and attitude upon walking out in front of the small crowd. Blurring the lines between rock stage attitude and down-right cockiness was lead singer Brian Ashe. With confidence and great tunes on show, they are bound to get a bigger slot at festivals next year. Following on from the Tallaght band were many peoples highlight of the weekend, Ham Sandwich. Imaginative stage outfits, confetti, beach balls, drumming children, sing a long songs, and great repoire with the crowd are just a few of the reasons that they deserve the success they have had so far. Just one request? Please let them player longer than forty five minutes next year! They left the very full tent wanting more but many stuck around to watch the ever so lovely Delorentos. Having to compete with British Sea Power on the main stage they played a good mix of their three albums during their forty minute set.
The other Sunday main stage crowd grabbers were the ever so loud The Minutes, who could be heard from every point of the festival site. The band have gathered such respect for their live show and while I’ve found them to be a sometimes silly edgy rock band, they have energy and a balliness no one else can match. Having been disappointed that Beardyman had pulled out due to illness, it left the Sunday night free to watch publicly adored The Coronas. Knowing once again how to work a crowd and playing the same set they played the month previously at Sea Sessions, they showed that they aren’t losing the passion for gigs and Irish crowds and it’ll now have everyone looking ahead to their o2 show in December.
The weekend was a great one. Silent Disco being a non-gig related highlight once again with queues as long as one for Olympic tickets. Security, weather and queues made some a bit antsy but everything went off without a hitch and I’m sure Indiependence organisers will be looking to match it in twelve months time!