The Irish festival season is in full flow and this weekend sees the return of the Castlepalooza Music and Arts Festival. Now in its sixth year the action again takes place in Charleville Castle in Tullamore, County Offaly and having not made it down since 2009 I’m looking forward to another slice of the action. Special credit must go to the organisers this year for plucking the finest home-grown talent and giving them great slots. There’s quality across the whole line-up but here’s a selection of acts I’m particularly excited about.
Ghost Estates :: Friday :: Main Stage @ 8.30pm
The Casanova Wave :: Saturday :: Main Stage @ 3.30pm
Moths :: Saturday :: Big Top Stage @ 5.15pm
Jaysus, it’s hard to believe this is Moths’ first gig. The brainchild of 18 year old Jack Colleran, Moths has enjoyed a phenomenal year in which every track he uploaded was devoured and salivated over by what seemed to be the entire internet. He also managed to sneak in an official Interpol remix too…all while doing his Leaving Cert. Impressed? Well, you should be. The craft and ingenuity shown at such an early age means such acclaim is deserved and this performance, from a guy who was unknown last year, is easily my most anticipated of the weekend.
The Minutes :: Saturday :: Main Stage @ 8.30pm
This year’s Temple House festival convinced me of The Minutes worth. There, with a tent barely half full, they performed with a level of blistering intensity worthy of a career-defining headline slot at Wembley Arena. Forever playing out of their skins, this is ferocious rock and roll imbued with a level of enthusiasm that is simply impossible to ignore.
Clock Opera :: Saturday :: Main Stage @ 11.30pm
Without any shadow of a doubt ‘Belongings’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year. A beautiful, stirring piece of music, it has infected my pores and left me dumbstruck in its simplicity and romanticism. In truth, I know little else of these Londoners but a track this sublime warrants further inspection all on its own.
Jape :: Saturday :: Main Stage @ 12.30am
At Forbidden Fruit Mr Egan was given an unenviable slot. As he took to the stage early in the day, people were either just arriving, wiping sleep from their eyes from the previous nights antics or still queuing at the bar. All of this culminated in a nice but ultimately restrained atmosphere bur this time around things will be different. Classics like ‘Floating’ and ‘I Was A Man’ were made for headlining festivals, and when you factor in exciting new creations such as ‘Hands Of Fire’ and ‘Please Don’t Turn That Record On’ and well, every other track Richie has debuted in recent months, you know it’s going to be a little bit special.
Kid Karate :: Sunday :: The Big Top @ 12pm
A ferocious live force – the Dublin duo have consistently managed to transfer the energy and swagger of their debut Heart EP onto the stage. Such a feat is particularly commendable when you consider the insatiable energy required to create the pulsating splendour of tracks like ‘Black and Beige’ and ‘Feel For You’. A later slot would suit a bit better but this will kick Sunday’s hangover into touch that’s for sure.
Dogs :: Sunday :: Big Top Stage @ 3pm
The Young Folk :: Sunday :: Main Stage @ 4.45pm
They made it into my KnockanStockan Ones To Watch last week and having caught that enthralling live show my adoration for this folk-infused Dubliners has only heightened. Rousing, accomplished and earnest – think Mumford and Sons with a touch of class.
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F14494630 The Young Folk – Way Down South by RisingStars
Sacred Animals :: Sunday :: Main Stage @ 6.30pm
Last year’s debut EP was a sublime creation that I waxed lyrical about at the time. Flickering between light and dark, Sacred Animals deals with delicate yet expansive landscapes, jumping from pin-pricks to lush tones repeatedly to create a moving, compelling experience.
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F114201 Sacred Animals by RootMusic
Squarehead :: Sunday :: Main Stage @ 8.30pm
These Charming Men :: Sunday :: Main Stage @ 10.30pm
Lets face facts: I’m an avid Morrissey fan, so a tribute act like this was always going to be on my list. I caught TCM at The Village earlier in the year and I was blown away by their authenticity and their faithful restoration of both the Smiths’ hits and the lesser-known tracks from Moz’s solo catalogue. See you up front with the gladioli…
Onra :: Sunday :: Courtyard Stage @ 1.30am
Toby Kaar :: Sunday :: Courtyard Stage @ 2.30.am