Entertainment Festivals

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Longitude: 'Roísín Murphy was the Homecoming queen who delivered the perfect curtain closer'

Longitude: Marlay Park, Dublin

Sunshine and dance tunes at Heineken Sound Atlas, Longitude 2016
Sunshine and dance tunes at Heineken Sound Atlas, Longitude 2016
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

In the middle of an extremely busy July for outdoor shows, Longitude still sells out for its fourth instalment.

Friday headliner Kendrick Lamar hasn't played in Ireland since a show in Vicar St in January 2013 and a lot has changed since then.

"Look both ways before you cross my mind," declares the backdrop visual quote from George Clinton.

Lamar may be quite short, but he possesses massive stage presence. Hip-hop and rap have traditionally been unpredictable live propositions, but the Los Angeles star steam rolls into Marlay with a set culled from his three studio albums. Swimming Pools (Drank) is one of the darkest and most honest songs written about alcohol and binge-drinking in recent times. It shouldn't work as a festival anthem, but Lamar is a complete master at flipping the script by now.

Action Bronson and Tyler, the Creator also fly the flag for American hip-hop, but the warm honours fall to the Lumineers; an insipid and dreary Colorado outfit who make your average busker in Galway look good. The audience profile for the weekend is quite young, but Sunday sees the pensioners crawl out of the woodwork for the National, Father John Misty and the colourful and kooky Arklow legend that is Roísín Murphy.

Jamie xx puts in a solid shift with a DJ set of thundering dubstep and bass-driven electronica, beautifully signing off with Dream Baby Dream by Suicide in honour of their late singer Alan Vega who has just died.

Roísín Murphy took a few years out to have children following the release of Overpowered in 2009, but she is back with a vengeance and releasing an album a year since 2014. Her latest collection is cheekily entitled Take Her Up to Monto after the folk song popularized by Luke Kelly and the Dubliners, and it is her most brilliantly bonkers record yet.

Murphy stuns with a blistering set of banging tunes and eye-popping visuals. She segues last year's single Exploitation into her calling card hit, Sing it Back by Moloko, and then walks into the crowd as the place goes absolutely bananas. Live shows have sometimes been a bit of a hit or miss affair for Roísín, but last night she was the homecoming queen who spectacularly delivers the perfect curtain closer for three sun-kissed days of music and mayhem.

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