Living the dream with Tradiohead at Electric PicnicSeptember 6, 2012 - 7:00am
This summer may well have been the wettest on record, but perhaps the season just decided to condense itself into one weekend. At the 2012 Electric Picnic it was hard to quibble with many punters’ highlight – three days of glorious sunshine.
This year I made the trip to Stradbally Estate to perform, as a member of a band called Tradiohead. This group interprets the songs of Radiohead using instruments more often associated with Irish traditional music.
The members are Philip Fogarty on bodhrán and accordion, Pat Hargan on guitar, Michael Chang on violin, viola and mandolin and myself on vocals.
The idea for Tradiohead came to me at a session in the now defunct Sheridan’s on the Docks years ago and I mentioned it to Michael, who was there too. He liked the sound of it, but as sometimes happens with plans hatched on a night out, it took a while to follow up on them. Fast forward about three years, to last October, and I met Philip Fogarty. I mentioned Tradiohead, and he jumped at the idea. I promised to call Michael and discuss it; the next day Philip texted me to make sure I had kept my word. We met up, and Michael suggested Pat Hargan as a guitarist. By the end of autumn, the members of Tradiohead were jamming.
On Friday last Tradiohead met up at Michael Chang’s house. We loaded up his car and Pat’s van and headed for County Laois.
Though we met other Picnic-ers at service stations en route, there were no major traffic delays until we got to Stradbally town. Even then, it wasn’t too long before we were in the performers’ car park. After getting our wristbands, Tradiohead were directed to the equipment lock up. The affable young woman there informed us that the container would be driven to the Body and Soul area, where we were to play two shows over the weekend. After a small bit of separation anxiety (it’s kind of like leaving your kid on their first day at school), we dropped off the instruments and began the trek to the campsite. Fifteen minutes later we were pitching our tents in the performers’ campsite. It was starting to fill up, and a troupe of fire jugglers and drummers were putting on a show. To use some festival parlance, the vibe was good.
By then it was close to 4.30 on day one of the Picnic and the first act I wanted see were due onstage. But we had more stuff back in the car park. Being the gents that they are, the other members of Tradiohead offered to bring it, leaving me free to peg it across the main arena. Thanks to Philip, Pat and especially Michael for carrying the fold-out – and heavy – aluminium bed.
Cold Specks were just about to start when I got to the Crawdaddy Tent. Led by Canadian singer Al Spx they gave a beguiling performance, and when Spx sang ‘we have caught fire’, it was hard to disagree.
I met up with the rest of the lads after that and we rambled through the Body and Soul area, locating Natasha’s Living Food Emporium, where we were due to play the next day. Michael had the idea of printing out flyers advertising our two shows at the Picnic, and soon Tradiohead were introducing themselves to the punters.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.