THE PLAYLIST #21 | Castlepalooza 2017 Top Picks

It is time again to pack up your tent, wet wipes and novelty shades – Castlepalooza 2017 is here!

The age-old saying, “good things come in small packages” is apt for the Tullamore carnival as this small scale festival packs a mighty punch. Castlepalooza has become one of the biggest little music get-togethers in Ireland since its inception in 2006 pulling in amazing acts from overseas but also shining a light on the abundance of talent our little country has to offer. Castlepalooza 2017 is no exception to this with an incredible line-up of home-grown artistry.

My Castlepalooza 2017 Top Picks

There are so many fantastic acts at this year’s festival it is inevitable that there will be some clashing but with such a compact space it takes a few minutes to get from stage to stage and you should be able to squeeze in the most amount of music over the weekend.

Friday Night

Fridays of a weekend festival can often take a while to get going with people making the journey down after work etc but Friday night closes out with a cracking double slot of Bitch Falcon and Wild Beasts on the Centre Stage. I discovered Bitch Falcon through NO ENCORE and I haven’t looked back. The heavy-hitting Dublin trio have a bounty of energy and straight-up noise! [Plus their latest release, a remix from their lead singer Lizzie Fitzpatrick, ‘Wolfstooth Reloaded’ is an absolute banger].


New Music Weekly - Bitch Falcon

Wild Beasts’ fifth studio album ‘Boy King’ dropped nearly a year ago now and as George Morahan mentioned in his review for HeadStuff, “[the latest album] catches Wild Beast at their most Wild Beasts”. Boasting stylish guitar riffs, bubbling synths and enough swagger to hold its own, indie guitar music is alive and well in the guise of this UK four-piece.

Saturday is STACKED!

Early on the Centre Stage we have the atmospheric delights of Participant aka Stephen Tiernan of Dublin’s Heritage Centre. Participant’s work is ripe with indie chill vibes and elegant vocals – akin to the stylings of Villagers.. with a synth machine.

Following Tiernan are Bad Sea. When this Dublin duo matched on Tinder (seriously) who would have known that it would be musical sparks that would fly instead of romantic ones. Having released only a handful of tracks there is still substantial buzz surrounding the two and it is well deserved. Nostalgia filled 50’s-esque rock with a beauty and sincerity behind it that pours through – if you are into Angel Olsen, you’ll fall in love with these guys.

Bad Sea -
Bad Sea – Source

Following that there’s two acts on the Penguin stage that are not to be missed; Hvmmingbyrd and Farah Elle. I recently caught Hvmmingbyrd at the inaugural Women on Wednesdays gig in Whelan’s where they finished up a fantastic night of music, poetry and comedy. Farah Elle is someone you are bound to be familiar with as she has been tipped across the board as “one to watch” in the Irish music scene and I can testify to this after she played to a sold out Workman’s as part of the first NO ENCORE LIVE with a solo performance as well as sharing the stage with the brilliant Bantum for ‘Feel It Out’.

Speaking of NO ENCORE LIVE, electronic luminary Elaine Mai takes to the Big Top Stage on Saturday also. Mai joins us on for the second NE LIVE recording for the Dublin Podcast Festival where she shares the bill with Daithí and the ever-impressive Overhead, The Albatross.

Later on that night Rarely Seen Above Ground aka R.S.A.G. aka Jeremy Hickey is a multi-instrumentalist with an electric live show that is not to be missed. Regarded as one of Europe’s best drummers his set is explosive and not to be missed.

Daithí -
Daithí – Source

Is there a better way to end a night than in the company of the wunderkind from out wesht, Daithí. You’re tired legs after a long hard day’s slog will receive a new lease on life as you dance into the wee hours with one of Ireland’s new electronic heroes. Plus you can take in a sneak preview of what will be an electric atmosphere in Whelan’s on September 28th.

Sunday Send-Off

You can shake off the cobwebs from the night before on the Centre Stage on Sunday afternoon with Rosa Nutty and Video Blue taking to the stage one after another. Rosa Nutty‘s engaging lyrical prowess and soothing electric guitar are set to have you swaying those fears away.

Video Blue has given us one of the best Irish albums of the year so far with ‘Love Scenes‘ and the one man music machine will get you bopping early with infectious guitar hooks and lazy (in the best of ways) synths.

As the evening rolls around the Big Top Stage is the place to be with a trio of acts that will get you to where you need to be to see you into the small hours for one last time.

Oh Boland are a lo-fi garage rock trio hailing from Galway and it was in Galway city I caught them for the first time many moons ago, upstairs in the Roisin Dubh for a night that won’t soon be forgotten. Raw, ramshackled noise done to perfection, these guys will have you in the mood to take on the world one 3-minute belter at a time.

Following Oh Boland are two acts from the 045 Recordings label; Phare and Cinema. Peadar Kearney, aka Phare was one half of dreamy, atmospheric duo Lyttet but his latest solo venture concentrates on the electronic and is producing some tracks that could fill any dancefloor. As well as his own work I urge you to check out his remix of Bantum’s ‘Take It‘ – Tune!

Cinema and Phare of 045 Recordings -
Cinema and Phare of 045 Recordings – Source

Cinema aka Peter Fleming released a record that seemed to have been missed last year, A Night Train To Budapest, but it has been a combination of his latest single ‘Floating’ feat Le Boom’s Chris Leech and several outstanding live gigs that have put this young producer back on the radar. Having caught him twice now in the last few months I can testify to the hype surrounding this guy and why producers like Bantum are looking to work with him.

Finishing up the Centre Stage on the Sunday we have Irish folk troubadour I Have A Tribe, indie hero Kittser and shimmering synth cyber-stars Le Galaxie. Bringing you on a journey of genres and emotions, the final hours of the Centre Stage at Castlepalooza 2017 are a fantastic tribute to the music scene in Ireland today.

Patrick O’Laoghaire aka I Have A Tribe kicks things off with uplifting folk-pop that will leave you wanting more before David Kitt brings his experience and expertise to the stage. With six studio albums under his belt he is one of the elders of the festival and undoubtedly a massive inspiration for so many acts and punters at this year’s festival.

Le Galaxie have been glitter-bombing the electronic scene in Ireland for the last few years and with a reputation for leaving it all on the stage these guys are the perfect close to any stage, at any festival, in any corner of the world. Michael Pope and MayKay have an electric connection on stage and let’s be honest – they are just one of the most fun bands on the go. A set full of bangers and earworms you NEED to see these guys live.

To close out your night if you are still able you have the options of the LUMO bois doing their thing on the Courtyard Stage as DJs Nialler9, Simon Roche and Gavin Elsted bring you 3 hours of tunes and just as the fantastic LUMO nights at Bar Tengu, anything goes Beastie Boys to Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins to Caribou, Prince to The Prodigy. The only thing that is for sure is that you’ll dance until you can no more.

Alternatively, the Big Top Stage has two of the finest DJs Ireland have to offer to close out the weekend with Shit Robot and Tu-Ki.

Having collaborated with the likes of Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem in the past Marcus Lambkin better known by the pseudonym Shit Robot is one of Ireland’s foremost techno godfathers. Electric house music with funky twists and turns to keep those fears away for a few more hours.

Shit Robot -
Shit Robot – Source

Tu-Ki is one of our nation’s greatest musical talents but due to the fact that his instrument is a set of turntables he will probably never receive the praise he deserves. He’s a four time Irish DMC champion and winner of the 2007 Molvida World Mixing Championships and deserves your attention. I urge you to check out some of his sets on his SoundCloud – you can hear exactly why he has been lauded with accolades by those in the game. Go to see the man in the flesh and see a master at work.

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