Oxegen 2009

See what Team ATL thought of a fair smattering of sets at Punchestown racecourse, as well as a few associated posts...


Oxegen 09 - Nine Inch Nails

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ATL | 15:31 UK time, Monday, 13 July 2009

O2 Stage, Sunday 12th July, 10.40pm

Describe in a tweet: Misery loves company.

What happened: The opening moments set the tone for everything that was to follow: Prince of Darkness, Trent Reznor slowly, but purposefully strides out of a cloud of smoke, to take hold of the microphone and share his pain with us. Simultaneously preposterous and thrilling, this is a quintessential festival headline performance - choreographed, loud, crystal clear, big lightshow - it's all here.

The spectacle is incredible, and ATL finds itself more than a little surprised to start going mental to some stadium sized industrial rock, but this is exactly what happens. The guitars kick in, and the drums shake all the mud and dirt off the ground, sending thousands of revelers into a state of mass hysteria.

"Bow down before the one you serve, you're going to get what you deserve," emotes Reznor, and this is pretty much exactly what happens - a glorious send-off for the festival. Who'd have thought one man's misery would make us all so happy?

This is a high: A perfect delivery of exactly what was need at that time, 'Hurt' was doomy, portentious, and more than a little corny. It was also completely wonderful. I even got my lighter out.

This is a low: NIN had a massive stage show, with intense lights, and dry ice. Jane's Addiction had what appeared to be a big carpet, proving that old fashioned showmanship is still easily a match for fancy lights and technology.

Oxegen rating: 8/10 

Oxegen 09 - Jane's Addiction

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ATL | 14:15 UK time, Monday, 13 July 2009

O2 Stage, Sunday 12th July, 9.00pm

Describe in a tweet: Festivals were made for this kind of thing.

What happened: Where before the ground had been a slightly difficult, muddy mess, after an early evening downpour, most of the festival site now resembles a disgusting, sinking bog, or perhaps the location of some intense trench warfare. So rather than the brisk trot it had previously taken for ATL to get from the IMRO stage to the O2 stage, it is now a voyage of personal self-discovery, where your humble narrator was forced to draw on previously untapped reservoirs of strength and courage. Eventually, slightly later than expected, ATL found it's little world being rocked by Jane's Addiction.

Jane's always made epic music, the kind of sound that conveys standing on the edge of a cliff-face and trying to swallow up the entire Pacific Ocean, and the rain and mud of Oxegen are no obstacle for them. Indeed, the way he struts about the stage, sitting on the edge, climbing atop objects...you'd think this was just Perry Farrell's massive back porch, and we'd all being invited to a barbecue. Over the course of some IMMENSE sounding rock, Farrell speaks with an appaling Irish accent, urges people to go topless (and bottomless), drinks whiskey, jumps about, gets hit by a bra, and generally behaves like an absolute rock legend. Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro make a great double-act, providing moments of theatrical hilarity, and then kicking into some of the finest alternative rock ever made.

When the finish the set with 'Jane Says', all strummed acoustic guitars and steel drums, Oxegen is probably the happiest place in the world, every single person having been taken to their happy place.

The clouds part, the setting sun streams through the sky, and the revelry takes on a euphoric tone, beaming smiles and wonderment all around. People run about in the mud, and it seems the most perfect end to the festival we could have hoped for.

But the O2 stage wasn't finished with us just yet...

This is a high: 'Ocean Size' sounded bigger than the biggest thing you could ever imagine. In fact, it was even bigger than that.

This is a low: One particularly euphoric revel went for a swim in the mud, losing his phone in the process. Nae luck to him.

Oxegen rating: 8.5/10 

Oxegen 09 - Friendly Fires

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ATL | 14:07 UK time, Monday, 13 July 2009

Heineken Green Spheres, Sunday 12th July, 5.20pm

Describe in a Tweet:  Impossible not to dance. Literally impossible.

What happened: Post-Glasto, there's been a lot of talk of Friendly Fires and their live show. This reviewer got a little over-excited, to the point disappointment seemed inevitable. But somehow they soared above expectation towards the performance of the weekend.

This is a high: Ed Macfarlane's dancing. Impossible to work out whats going on with his limbs but also impossible not to join in. It's great this - his dancing is so ridiculous that nomatter how strange you may think you look when you really get into a band, there's zero chance you look as nuts as this guy. Amazing.

Also, their musicianship. Seems boring to point it out, but these guys can really play. 'Jump in the Pool', 'Lovesick' and 'Skeleton Boy' all sound even better than on record, which is a huge achievement. 'Paris' is the best thing this reviewer saw/heard all weekend.

This is a low: Easy - their set wasn't long enough.

Oxegen rating: 9/10

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