Body & Soul Festival - 2010 - Day 1
Striking out on its own after establishing itself as one of the key attractions of the Electric Picnic festival, Body and Soul is a feast for the eyes and ears (and the nose, frankly). After succumbing to its charms last year, your ATL correspondent was back for more, armed with nothing more than a photographer and his own sweet mind. Prepare for a journey, man...
A few difficulties with travel arrangements prevented ATL from arriving at the festival until late afternoon, just in time to catch Jape, the solo alter-ego from The Redneck Manifesto's Richie Egan. Diminutive in stature, but with lofty ambitions, Egan treated the crowd to a selection of danceable indie with heavy electronic textures. Charming and self-effacing - at one point, Egan helpfully points out to any journalists in the crowd that the preceding song was the worst in his set - it goes down well with the crowd, most of which are pretty eager to get their groove on.
And the revellers are provided with ample opportunity to bust a few moves courtesy of Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet. Opening with new single 'Angel Echoes', a wash of sound and noise hits the crowd, with an impressive visual lightshow being blasted onto the roof and backdrop of the main stage, as the sun sets over the trees. Which is just as well, as Hebden doesn't really do very much, preferring to let the music do the talking. After a while, the constant stream of glitchy electronica starts to get a bit...boring, for want of a better term, and ATL goes off in search of other entertainment.
DJ sets are blasting out of every nook and cranny on the festival grounds (the spectacularly decorated Ballinlough Castle), and entertainment is to be found everywhere - all you have to do is get involved.
Eventually we make it back to the main stage to catch and extremely enegrgetic set from Italian born DJ Gaudi. Looking somewhat like a 1970s 'Adult movie star' (ahem), things really go up a notch, as he screams into a megaphone, theatrically manipulates a Theremin, and uses a strange device to create a huge wall of sound, over a backdrop of bone crushing dub. It's not for the faint-hearted, but his charisma is completely infectious, particularly after the static sight of Four Tet.
But the one a lot of us have been waiting for is The Orb's Dr Alex Patterson in the Merkabar Electonica tent. This legend of electronic music doesn't exactly give us a lot of surprises, but by this point, every sound is received like manna from heaven. The moment 'Little Fluffy Clouds' mixes into The Cure's 'Pictures of You' is absolutely wonderful, allowing your humble correspondent to truly get into the groove, and unleash some criminal dancing.
Words: Steven Rainey
Photos: Skye Bompas