LIVE REVIEW: Electric Picnic

Posted: Tuesday 3 September 2019

That’s right, we managed to squeeze in one more festival before summer came to a close and what a finale it was! Right in the middle of Ireland you’ll find a magical paradise called Electric Picnic, a festival dedicated to building their homegrown talent, whilst delivering some of music’s biggest names over a three-day period. We hopped across the pond to see what it’s all about and somehow managed to cram it all into this neatly-packed review.


DERMOT KENNEDY

The fervour that Dermot Kennedy has generated, not only in his Irish homeland, but all over the world in the last couple of years feels like it reached a climax at Electric Picnic. Tens of thousands of adoring fans congregated at the Main Stage to sing along to every word as the sun set on the opening night of the festival. Despite having become somewhat of a superstar and performing at the biggest festivals and venues in the world, his characteristic humility continues to shine through, as he is genuinely humbled by the deafening sounds of the crowd cheering and singing along to huge hits like, ‘Glory’, ‘Power Over Me’ and the life-affirming set closer, ‘After Rain’. This feels like a career defining performance for Dermot, and once his debut studio album, Without Fear, is released, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he returns to Electric Picnic as a headliner.

O2 Academy Sheffield: Saturday 7 December Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Bournemouth: Tuesday 10 December Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Birmingham: Wednesday 11 December Buy Tickets

Liverpool Guild Of Students: Thursday 13 December Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Leeds: Tuesday 17 December Buy Tickets

O2 Apollo Manchester: Thursday 19 December Buy Tickets

GERRY CINNAMON

Gerry Cinnamon’s monthly listeners in Dublin are double what they are in Edinburgh, and are considerably more than any other city in the UK, including Gerry’s hometown of Glasgow. This alone indicates the reverence that is felt in these parts for Gerry Cinnamon, and the moment the crowd heard KC & The Sunshine Band's ‘Give It Up’, they chant their hero’s name at a deafening volume. By the time he runs on stage, bearing a huge grin and battering the strings of his acoustic guitar in time to the pulsating kick-drum of ‘Lullaby’, it’s as if he knows that this could be his most important set of his career so far. He’s conquered every city he’s played in this summer, cementing himself as the undisputed champion of festival season 2019 and it seems like when the sun shines and the crowd bellow along to hits like ‘Sometimes’ and new track ‘Canter’, everything feels right in the world. A true highlight of the weekend, it was the perfect way to round-up Gerry’s jam-packed summer before he ventures out on his huge headline run in the winter.

O2 Academy Bournemouth: Monday 11 November* Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Brixton: Thursday 14 November* Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Brixton: Friday 15 November* Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

CHARLI XCX

Despite only being 27, it feels like Charli XCX has been one of the music industry’s most prolific hitmakers forever, as her early evening set to a packed out Electric Arena churns out banger after banger. Charli treats her masses of fans to a diverse, career-spanning set, playing tracks ranging from 2012’s ‘I Love It’ and 2014’s ‘Boom Clap’ to fresh cuts from new album Charli, including ‘Blame It On Your Love’ and ‘Gone’, the latter of which received a frenzy of gleeful screams when Christine and the Queens joined Charli on stage to perform it with her. Their chemistry is undeniable, and Charli works the crowd like a true master of her craft, commanding them to bounce to tracks like ‘1999’ and ‘Focus’, but the crowd need no prompting when it comes to mega-hits like 2017’s ‘Boys’ and 2014’s ‘Fancy’. Charli XCX is one of pop music’s most consistently brilliant artists, who’s live show is getting more and more impressive. Her UK tour this autumn will be one of the hottest tickets in town, with one or two special guests and surprises no doubt in store, so don’t miss out.

O2 Institute Birmingham: Monday 28 October* Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Brixton: Thursday 31 October* Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

FREYA RIDINGS

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Freya Ridings, emerging from relative obscurity to becoming a household name with her self-titled debut album charting at number three back in July, and her huge hit ‘Lost Without You’ being certified platinum. Her talent is undeniable and her voice, reminiscent of a more delicate and vulnerable Florence Welch, did all the talking during her afternoon set in the Electric Arena. She describes the set as “The loudest any crowd has ever sung with us”, as she shares what feels like a truly intimate moment with them, despite there being around 27,000 people packed into the tent. Freya doesn’t need any gimmicks or tricks; her songs and her voice connect with her enormous crowd and there should be no doubt that she’ll be back as she leaves the crowd baying for more. Having had an incredible start to her career, and for an artist so highly in demand, her grace and obvious talent suggest that she will be here to stay for the long run.

O2 Academy Newcastle: Monday 11 November Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Glasgow: Tuesday 12 November Buy Tickets

O2 Apollo Manchester: Thursday 14 November Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Leeds: Saturday 16 November Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Birmingham: Sunday 17 November Buy Tickets

O2 Guildhall Southampton: Thursday 21 November Buy Tickets

MAVERICK SABRE

Following the release of new album, When I Wake Up, back in March, Maverick Sabre has been riding a resurgent wave of critical acclaim and has gained plenty of new fans, as well as reminding his older followers just how astute his eye is and how compelling a performer he has become. The album’s evocative storytelling and diverse, genre-spanning musicality contributes to the maturity of his live show, with the London-born, Irish songwriter performing an early evening slot for an enthralled crowd in the intimate Rankin’s Wood Stage. They’re just as stimulated by the opening bars of new tracks like, ’Slow Down’ and ‘Drifting’, as they are by classic hits like ‘I Need’ and ‘Let Me Go’, which are sung word-for-word by everyone in the tent. Maverick Sabre embarks on a UK tour this November and there’s no doubt that he’ll dazzle each and every person in attendance, because one thing is for sure, Maverick Sabre is a very special artist indeed.

O2 Institute Birmingham: Tuesday 19 NovemberBuy Tickets

O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire: Friday 22 November Buy Tickets

METRONOMY

Metronomy are one of the most engaging and creative acts in live music today, delivering an eclectic and bombastic arrangement of songs, and a performance that cannot really be compared to anything else. Their Saturday night slot at the Electric Arena felt like a proper party and tracks from their new album, Metronomy Forever, got the crowd in the mood for a dance, namely the infectious ‘Lately’ and ‘Wedding Bells’. Some of their best loved material from 2014’s Love Letters and 2011’s The English Riviera, such as ‘The Look’ and ‘Reservoir’ incite mass sing-alongs and remind the huge crowd why the Mercury-nominated band are one of the freshest and most innovative acts around.

O2 Guildhall Southampton: Wednesday 6 November Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Leeds: Monday 11 November Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Bristol: Thursday 14 November Buy Tickets

O2 Institute Birmingham: Saturday 16 November Buy Tickets

MICHAEL KIWANUKA

It says a great deal when you can clash with Florence + The Machine, The Streets and Courtney Barnett and still attract a huge crowd of reverent fans in the intimate Rankin’s Wood Stage on the final night of Electric Picnic. Michael’s soulful voice and the effortlessly skilful musicianship of his band put on a show worthy of closing the festival, inspiring a plethora of emotions as he exhibits his impressive songwriting ability in making his audience dance, sing, weep and cheer for him. With tracks from his 2012 Mercury-nominated debut album, Home Again and his more progressive and experimental 2015 sophomore, Love & Hate, delight the crowd, but it is new tracks like ‘Money’ and ‘You Ain’t The Problem’ that really stand out and indicate a new direction for Michael, which fans can expect to hear more of on his third album, Kiwanuka, out this October.

O2 Guildhall Southampton: Monday 2 March Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Bournemouth: Tuesday 3 March Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Brixton: Thursday 5 March* Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Birmingham: Friday 6 March Buy Tickets

O2 Apollo Manchester: Saturday 7 March Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Leeds: Thursday 12 March Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Newcastle: Friday 13 March Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

SAM FENDER

Stradbally is Sam’s town, as the crowd that amasses in the Electric Arena to see him on Sunday afternoon is one of the biggest the tent has seen all weekend. The ever-smiling Geordie, winner of the Critics Choice Award at the 2019 Brit Awards, constantly gives the impression of being a kid in a sweet shop whilst on stage, singing his songs with his best mates, but it is not this endearing everyman appearance that has propelled him to be one of 2019’s brightest and best stars, it’s his music. Evoking Bruce Springsteen in his small town tales of social injustice, and being a voice for a discontented generation of young people confused with the state of affairs that faces them as they confront the world, Sam Fender is on a path to stardom that nothing and nobody can prevent. It’s not simply that he is incredibly likeable and relatable, but he’s a phenomenal songwriter with a hell of a voice and is saying things that not many people have the guts to say.

Buy Tickets

SHURA

Shura’s headline slot on the Three Made By Music stage, deep in the woods of the Trenchtown area of the festival, is the perfect stage for her melancholy brand of electro-pop. Her canny ability to have a crowd feel the emotion of a song so distinctly through her expressive and stirring music is like her superpower, and it creates a genuine bond and relationship between her and the audience whenever she plays. This show is no different. With her second album, Forevher, coming out just two weeks before the show, fans have had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with some of funk-tinged tracks like ‘side effects’ and ‘religion (u can lay your hands on me)’, which demonstrate Shura’s evolution and her progression as a songwriter and live performer.

O2 Ritz Manchester: Monday 18 November Buy Tickets

CAVETOWN

The cliche of a songwriter being wise beyond their years is, by nature, highly overused, but the fact that Cavetown is just 20 years old is astounding, with not only his musical proficiency and maturity, but also his sophisticated lyrical motifs that point towards an incredibly bright future for the young singer-songwriter. His mid-afternoon set in the Cosby Tent, with the sun shining and his crowd poised for a dosage of refined bedroom-pop, is a genuine highlight of the weekend. Tracks like ‘Boys Will Be Bugs’ and ‘Hug All Ur Friends’ make for an uplifting and heart-warming performance from the thoroughly likeable and charming Robin Skinner, leaving listeners feeling a togetherness and comfort in a world that seems very much the opposite.

O2 Academy Birmingham: Monday 2 December* Buy Tickets

O2 Ritz Manchester: Wednesday 26 February Buy Tickets

O2 Institute Birmingham: Thursday 27 February Buy Tickets

O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire: Saturday 29 February Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

EASY LIFE

The laid-back sound of Easy Life is hard to pin down, with their wide-ranging influences ever-present in their live show and the good vibes that their songs are rooted in being the primary ingredient. It’s impossible not to feel good watching Easy Life, whose own positivity and optimism is infectious. Tracks like ‘Pockets’ and ‘Nightmares’ are highlights, with the crowd moving and singing constantly to the laid-back grooves, as the band cap off Saturday on the Three Made By Music stage. They’ve developed a winning formula, which is sure to propel them further into the spotlight, as they continue to garner more and more critical acclaim for their music, both live and recorded. It’ll be very exciting to see what comes next for this band, as they cement themselves as ones to watch, with a highly self-assured and entertaining performance at Electric Picnic.

O2 Academy Oxford: Tuesday 8 October Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Liverpool: Sunday 13 October* Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

INHALER

Up and coming Irish indie-rockers, Inhaler, are on a mission to prove to the world that their success will come through their own hard work. Marking their own territory through merit, as opposed to inherited privilege through frontman Eli Hewson’s lineage. Their rousing and dynamic set at Electric Picnic serves as a perfect hangover cure for many on the Saturday afternoon at the Rankin’s Wood Stage, demonstrating their songwriting ability and musicianship with highly impressive tracks like, ‘My Honest Face’ and ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’. Despite being a relatively new band, they’ve already developed an impressive fan base and they were out in force to sing to familiar tracks, whilst taking in the energy of newer material and showing their appreciation for the intensity and admirable proficiency of a band still in their infancy. The only way is up for the Dublin rockers who will doubtlessly establish themselves as big hitters in the live music circuit before long.

Arts Club, Liverpool: Friday 25 October* Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

SEA GIRLS

The Sea Girls motto is clear: keep it simple, but effective, and boy have they got this formula mastered. Their set is laden with huge, arena-ready anthems, including ‘Open Up Your Head’, ‘Call Me Out’ and ’Too Much Fun’ and their hugely devoted fans oblige by screaming every word whilst jumping wildly, exactly the way their music is meant to be enjoyed. Sea Girls are developing a dynamic and impressive back catalogue, signalling their progression as a band and the maturing of their writing, whilst the live show itself is similarly evolving and turning Sea Girls into a genuine force to be reckoned with. Their October tour, which includes a massive headline show at O2 Forum Kentish Town, is set to be a landmark moment for the band, as they establish themselves as flag-bearers for the new generation of indie music.

O2 Forum Kentish Town: Thursday 10 October Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Leicester: Friday 11 October* Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Liverpool: Friday 18 October* Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

SPORTS TEAM

Faced with the unenviable task of playing at the same time as pop juggernaut, Billie Eilish on the main stage, Sports Team are more than up to it, taking on the Three Made By Music stage with ease. Their dark humour and tongue-in-cheek lyricism, married with their lo-fi indie-punk sound, makes for a winning concoction of elements, particularly given their intensely charismatic frontman and clear camaraderie as a band. Their live performance is authoritative and powerful, with everyone in attendance captivated for the whole duration of the show and frontman, Alex Rice, even nipped to the bar to get a few pints in for some members of the crowd. They’re a compelling live band, who have unquestionable potential to carve out their place in the indie history books with their ballsiness and bravado signalling their capacity to excite and enthral the masses. A debut album from this bunch is a very exciting prospect.

O2 Forum Kentish Town: Thursday 26 September (w/ Pale Waves) Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Glasgow: Friday 4 October (w/ Two Door Cinema Club) Buy Tickets

O2 Academy Glasgow: Saturday 5 October (w/ Two Door Cinema Club) Buy Tickets

O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester: Monday 7 October (w/ Two Door Cinema Club) Buy Tickets

O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester: Tuesday 8 October (w/ Two Door Cinema Club) Buy Tickets

*This show is sold out but re-sale tickets may be available through our official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

YONAKA

Yonaka are ambassadors of heavy riffs, rock and roll and formidable live shows. They enthral the Electric Picnic crowd with their bombastic musicianship, and vocalist, Theresa Jarvis, is a fierce leader, prowling the stage and engaging the audience with her magnetic charisma. Fresh off the back of releasing their debut album, Don’t Wait ’Till Tomorrow, their ever-growing fanbase are out in force and are here to mosh, sing and show their appreciation for one of the most entertaining live bands on the circuit. This is an act built for big stages and arenas, so seeing them on an intimate woodland setting is a real treat for these fans, who gladly take the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Brighton rockers. With their biggest ever headline tour on the horizon, people can rest safe in the knowledge that Yonaka are ready to step up and blow the roof off any venue in their path, so watch this space.

O2 Academy Oxford: Tuesday 12 November Buy Tickets

O2 Institute Birmingham: Friday 15 November Buy Tickets


Want to keep up to date with all our festival coverage, interviews and more? Why not sign up to our newsletter?

Sign Up


You can now purchase Academy Music Group gift cards! They can be used on thousands of shows across the UK in our venues. For more information, click here.