Body&Soul 2017 in review
We sent seasoned festival go-er Declan Whelan down to Body&Soul to sample as much atmosphere as he could. He returned invigorated and full of great memories, ready to give us the lowdown on this year’s festival. Here’s what he got up to…
Ah that time of year again. The bees are chirping, the birds are harvesting honey. A time to rejuvenate your body and your soul. It is, of course, Body&Soul festival.
For me, this year was particularly exciting for two reasons. 1. Metronomy were headlining and I’ve been a diligent and loyal follower of theirs since I was a much, much smaller human and 2. There are, now more than ever, tonnes of amazing, homegrown Irish artists to get excited about: Loah, Jafaris, Too Fools, Ailbhe Reddy, Shookrah, Æ Mak, Le Boom… the list, my friends, goes on. Here’s how the weekend went…
FRIDAY – and so it begins.
Following the relief of pitching one’s tent successfully after two shamefully failed attempts, where does one begin at Body&Soul? The best way to ease yourself into what will be an undeniably fun-filled weekend is relaxing in the company of friends perched on the hill overlooking the main stage, soaking in the crowds, the last of the sun and Too Fools‘ set. Swiftly followed by an excursion into the woods to see Jafaris at the Woodlands stage. Coming fresh off his recently released EP, Velvet Cake, he did not disappoint in delivering his signature blend of stylish moves and funky tunes. A perfect complement to the mellow vibes amongst the woodland peeps. Sun goes in, time for a change of location. I’m thinking the Midnight Circus tent! I’m attracted by the sound of dark electronic drums and the alluring sight of emanating strobe light to The Bug, an artist with which I had not been acquainted but was assured by a friend of mine that I would ‘totally be into them!’ He was not wrong. The set was just what the doctor ordered to kick Friday evening into gear. All in preparation for the big headliner and frankly one of my favourite bands, Metronomy. After receiving the news last summer that they would not be touring their most recent album ‘Summer ’08’, a promise which happily they didn’t stick to, excitement could not begin to describe my feelings whilst eagerly awaiting in the front row at the main stage. And then it all kicked off with the opening track from ‘Summer ’08’. The aptly named Back Together. An hour of familiar, funky bass lines and eclectic synths left me grinning from ear to ear: ‘A right old gas’. Back into the trees to join the woodland folk for more dancing.
SATURDAY – Recovery, revelry and red face.
Tent warm, mouth dry, phone dead. Time to revisit the outside world and start my morning road to recovery.
A few coffees later, my phone picked up from the Vodafone Recharge Room, and I’m ready to join the land of the living and chill in the sun at the Walled Gardens – a picturesque little hideaway filled to the brim with people lounging in a bid to conserve energy for the evening ahead. After a considerable amount of time basking in the sun, I emerge from the walled gardens a new man with a brand new, bright red visage. A brief trip back to my tent to stock and freshen up and I think I’d like to hear some tunes.
Back to the main stage and Dublin local Loah comes on playing fresh material from her new EP, This Heart. Her voice is unique, unlike any I’ve come across before. Painful and melancholic at times but soulful and powerful at others. A juxtaposition which lends itself well to a very unique and original style of R&B. A brilliant start to what was shaping up to be a promising Saturday. Sticking close by the main stage we were treated to an onslaught of promising artists. Alternative country folk, Lambchop, gave us an hour of quirky tunes. Auto-tune is not the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of country music but I was pleasantly surprised. French, krautrock newcomers, La Femme then supplied us with a decent injection of energy. The main stage continued to deliver with Sleaford Mods, Bonobo all following one by one and, of course, Vitalic to end things for the night. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, all told.
SUNDAY – chilling, comedy and conclusions.
The final day at the festival and I need some rest if I want to be on form later. I have yet to chill out in the camping area with my friends so now, seems as good a time as any to do that. Time to grab a breakfast sambo and pull up a chair. After a couple hours of campsite chilling, it’s time to re-enter the stage areas. A quick trip to the Vodafone Comedy Tent and I happen upon Damian Clark‘s set, ‘Latergram’ powered by Vodafone 4G. He’s compiling photos taken by regular Body&Soul-ers throughout the weekend using special phones from the Vodafone Recharge Room and working them into his set. He sort of reminds me of an Aussie Tommy Tiernan. The same level of hyperactivity and vulgarity.
After Damian’s set, I am met at the main stage by a friend to enjoy the distinctly upbeat Ska sounds of The Beat which managed to energise me once again, for what was shaping up to be a nice little Sunday.
Following on from this, we swayed to the perfect combination of slow and spooky vibes from Hundred Waters. This left me regrettably waving my hands and reaching for my lighter which, I’m happy to report, I managed to refrain from. Hundred Waters wrapped up their set and I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to end the festival than the forest, where me and my friends danced until we could dance no more. Hours later, calf muscles suitably cramping, eyelids barely able to remain open… Time now for sleep.
Until next year, Body&Soul.
It’s been real.