Arcade Fire / Pixies at Marlay Park

arcade fireHordes of music fans made the trip across town to Marlay Park for a day of sunshine and sounds. Unfortunately the eccentricities of public transport meant missing TVVINS. Ham Sandwich on the other hand caught the lazy, sunny mid afternoon vibe perfectly. Singer Niamh Farrell bounced around the stage like a livewire, belting out Long Distance, Illuminate and others while Podge McNamee layered guitar lines over a bed of horns and fiddles. If that sounds a little busy it was, but in a sort of joyous way.

Next up, indie icons The Pixies took the stage, with newcomer Paz Lenchantin on battered bass. There wasn’t much bouncing in evidence here, Frank Black stood there like an alt- Buddah belting out selections from across their career. Starting with U-Mass and Wave of Mutilation, the band sounded tight and well-practised, though never quite ignited, even on crowd favourites Here Comes Your Man and Where Is My Mind?, mostly avoiding new material from the recent Indie Cindy album. Still, despite looking a little worn out the band played the songs as well as you could ask for, though was it just me or did Frank Black’s vocals crack more than usual? The set ended abruptly after Tame when, as he put it, Black’s guitar just died.

Headliners Arcade Fire drove the intensity up several notches. Beginning with Normal Person, the set dipped into all four albums, their brand of electro pop/rock not only got everybody dancing but moved the crowd emotionally. Joan of Arc, The Suburbs and No Cars Go, were just some of the highlights, accompanied by a spectacular light show. The gig climaxed with an encore which included Neighborhood #3 before the final singalong of Wake Up. If there is a criticism of the set it was maybe that the material laced real variety, leaning heavily towards their more ‘groove’ oriented songs. But few were disappointed on a balmy summer’s evening where the music seemed to ‘reflekt’ the sunshine-y vibe

Killian Laher

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