Thursday 19 April 2018

festival

Aidan Coughlan

bundoran, donegal

Maybe it's time to accept that Ireland is not a place for outdoor festivals. Or, if we insist on ploughing ahead with them, they should at least not be placed at the northwestern fringes of the island with full exposure to the Atlantic Ocean. Because the Donegal weather over the first half of the weekend is the very type that makes one stop and ask: 'Is this really worth it?'

Or, perhaps, we should just stop moaning and enjoy ourselves. That seems to be the approach taken by the majority of punters at Sea Sessions, and the die-hard attitude reaps its first reward in the form of a Delorentos set on Friday night.

The band sound superb on the North Shore Stage, and it's no surprise. Earlier this year, the excellent Little Sparks album showed us that these guys are back on form.

Their live show reflects this, and there's a buzz about the band that we haven't seen since their heady arrival back in 2007.

Perhaps they learned from the cautionary tale of Kaiser Chiefs, who also came to prominence amid a wave of excitement in the mid-noughties. But there's been no rebound from second-album syndrome in this case, and Ricky Wilson's attempts to be a textbook 'Energetic Frontman', climbing up the rigging and beating a tambourine off his chest are cringeworthy.

Clouds

Happily, they get their hits out of the way in the first half of the set, so a large section of the crowd can depart early with a clear conscience.

Come Saturday morning, grey clouds bring a grey mood to the festival and some of the planned beach activities are put on hold due to the weather. By the time Simon Fowler and Oscar Harrison of Ocean Colour Scene take to the main stage, it's becoming apparent that the rain, which has persisted for eight hours, is probably more than 'just a shower'.

Over on the North Shore Stage, We Cut Corners provide the single highlight of the festival with an hour-long set that stretches them far beyond the comfort of their 27-minute album.

But a set by Jape is where the magic is happening. Reverend Run's 11th-hour withdrawal means Richie Egan's outfit is effectively headlining. They haven't been moved to the Main Stage, curiously, so they use the tightly packed North Shore tent to its full potential instead. Wet, sweaty and happy, maybe it's not time to give up on this festival lark just yet.

Irish Independent

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