Anybody heading to Body & Soul in Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath, this weekend will know the big acts they want to see. John Grant, Jon Hopkins, Tom Vek and Shabazz Palaces are on my not-to-be-missed list. But there is so much more going on around the vast site, from bath houses to the disco tree to decadent dining. Probably the best way to enjoy the festival is to wander headlessly around the place for 72 hours trying to take in a bit of everything. There are plenty Irish artists playing throughout the weekend as well. Here are some who you should try and catch. You can see the entire lineup and stage breakdown here. See you at Body & Soul, folks! (Here’s what I thought of B&S 2013 – it was fun)
Somadrone………. Friday, 7pm – Reckless in Love stage
Neil O’Connor released his fourth album as Somadrone last year. Depth of Field is immersive and engaging from the 3D glasses that come with the LP through to the songs themselves. There’s nothing under the four-minute mark, which allows the songs to glide along naturally. He only has 30 or so minutes on the Reckless in Love stage on Friday but expect to be transfixed.
The Careers………. Friday, 8.30pm – Pagoda stage
The four young lads from Cork have just finished their Leaving Cert exams and celebrating it in a rather unique way by playing Body & Soul on Friday night. Expect: fun surf-guitar tracks. Don’t expect: Leaving Cert celebration strippers
Young Wonder…………….. Saturday, 3pm – main stage
It’s been a while since Ian Ring and Rachel Koeman took to the stage. They’ve been working on an album so expect to hear a couple new songs – and see a lot of headdresses in the crowd.
Jape…………… Saturday, 6.15pm – main stage
Another act who hasn’t played an Irish stage in a while. The last time I saw Richie Egan and co was supporting Villagers in the Savoy in Cork last December. The set was dance/electronica focused and if Jape chooses to do that on Saturday then it’ll be one of the sets of the weekend. Though Jape can play their songs a few ways, floating from indie-guitar riffs to plaintive acoustics.
Ships………. Saturday, 10pm – Reckless in Love stage
Because ‘Space Inside’:
Do you really need another reason?
Ryan Vail………. Saturday night/Sunday morning, 12.30am – Wonderlust
I’ve been following this Derry artist for a few years now. He’s released a rather wistful new EP, Grow that should provide for a mellowing out session on Saturday night – don’t worry, the party goes on for a few hours afterwards.
Spook of the Thirteenth Lock………… Saturday night, 1.30am – Wonderlust
If you want a nu-folk party on Saturday night, then look no further than the mighty Spook of the Thirteenth Lock. They’ll offer something totally different to what’s on elsewhere across the Body & Soul site. And two years on, ‘The Brutal Here & Now’ still sounds stunning. Get your annoying ‘yeows’ ready now, folks!
God Knows and Mynameisj0hn……… Sunday, 4pm – main stage
Probably the best Irish album of the year thus far and also easily the best accompaniment to the crazy summer sun. They’re ‘Serious’ about bringing the vibes on Sunday afternoon (sorry).
All City Records and Guest………….. Sunday, 9pm – Radioshack
Calling Radioshack a stage would be a stretch. It’s essentially a DJ booth with some grass in front. But it has one of the best buzzes anywhere on the B&S site. All City Records is among the best labels in the country, putting out releases by the likes of Buz Ludzha and Gamertag. Expect to buzz.
Sacred Animals…………. Sunday, 10.30pm – Wonderlust
I’m not really sure what to expect from Sacred Animals, but I know I enjoy almost everything that he produces, his remixes, his artwork and his only EP to date (I think). Why not choose to end the festival with something so intriguing? That’s what Body & Soul would want you to do.