To begin with , I wander down to the main stage for the tail end /of Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (7/10) who are the usual ball of energy and fevered , articulate rhyming.It's the same show they've been playing for nigh on four years of Dublin gigs , but the crowd lap it up , and a vicious kick through of 'Back From Hell' , and a final exuberant 'Letter From God To Man' leave the bouncing, smiling crowd happy and hungry for their next visit.
Having discovered my choices at the bar to be limited to :Bulmers(which I loathe , by the way, after a night spent with my head in a toilet at sixteen) and Bulmers Berry(surprisingly tasty) , I procure two cans of the stuff and wander back down for Caribou (7/10) , whose left-field , faintly psychedelic electronica grooves impress .The fact that the amount of bass in the sound mix makes it feel like getting punched in the gut is no harm , and the band possess a loose , laid back charm ,perfect for an event as chilled out as FF.At times though , their set feels overlong, and a sense of indulgence peppers the second half ,marring what is otherwise a fantastic set.There is a lovely moment as well when the band launch into 'Sun' , when our nearest star does indeed show up , in which main man Daniel Victor Snaith playfully suggests that this is no mere coincidence ,to rapturous applause, ending their set on a high.
It's back in to the dark of a tent I go for Bats(8/10), who although being slightly delayed by technical difficulties , still manage to nearly rip a hole in the roof with their overdriven, atheistic post hardcore.Possibly the heaviest band of the weekend, they tear through a set weighted pleasingly towards new material , with new track 'Wolf Wrangler' a particular highlight, a juggernaut of a riff colliding (or super colliding) with Rupert Morris' alternately reasoned and roaring vocals.The band finish up on the brilliant 'Creatures Collecting' , with it's delirious acapella sign off, the band leaving the stage having smashed the atom(and my eardrums) once more. . . .
And so on to Aphex Twin(10/10) , or, as his mammy calls him , Richard D.James.Iconic, enigmatic, and influential , he has made some of the most bizarre, twisted and also , when he feels like it , beautiful music ever heard , smashing the boundaries of electronic music as he's gone about it. Tonight is a DJ set of sorts , but not of the variety that Academy revellers can casually bust a groove and try and get the shift to.This is the sound of machines in slow revolt , becoming slowly self aware and hating every second of their new found consciousness. The mind warping visuals , most of them comprised of a blend of psychedelic memes ,and James' face being superimposed onto random festival goers, who lap up every off beat, every calculated blast of noise, every false lull,blend with the barrage, and over the course of a marathon set, ramp up the unease to fever pitch . Simultaneously startling , irritating,terrifying , life affirming and migraine inducing, AT sucks in messages from the television , distorts them at earbending frequency, and pounds them into lurid , unsettling new shapes , leaving the crowd to surf out on a tide of white noise into the suddenly chill June evening , elated, but also , if they're like me , almost certain of nightmares tonight . .. .
Stephen O ' Connor for Born Again Nihilist