Review: Oxegen Festival (Sunday)
Punchestown, Co Kildare
Following Saturday's washout, Sunday was going to be one of two things: a sticky mudfest with no rain, or a sloppy mudfest with rain.
But while a mid-morning appearance from the sun may have raised hopes, it turned out that this was merely the support act. The headliner, much like the day before, would turn out to be a powerful duet between rain and dark clouds.
That said, the elements provided some interesting entertainment. Foals, for instance, saw their crowd size double as a torrential downpour forced passers-by to flee to the Green Spheres tent. A lucky break for a band who deserve it.
For hours, certain punters have been rolling around in mud, covering themselves in Punchestown's finest, and showing how evolution never quite weaned the primate out of everyone.
Meanwhile, on the main stage The Specials fittingly launch into 'Monkey Man'.
The Ting Tings show how they're not quite consigned to the archives of yesteryear yet, by dragging an impressive number to their O2 stage set. The cringey ramblings of Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, however -- including ill-judged allusions to Guinness, Jameson and cocaine -- send chunks of their audience to seek entertainment elsewhere.
At the IMRO stage, Conor O'Brien's Villagers set alight a sparsely populated tent with a performance bordering on perfection. This is a band who have improved sensationally; and there's more passion, enthusiasm and musical prowess in this set than all of the weekend's headliners combined.
The smaller attendance of this year's festival is at its most stark when the top acts compete -- while The Killers comfortably fill out the main arena, both Manic Street Preachers and Nine Inch Nails play to surprisingly small numbers. The main headliners show a marked improvement on previous performances in terms of sound and energy, but the latter two really fail to end anyone's weekend with a bang.
It's just as well that Oxegen has dropped its reliance on the headliners, and increased the strength in depth of the festival. For it's the scattered moments of magic which turn a potentially damp affair into a cracking weekend.