THIS YEAR’S OXEGEN festival kicks off tomorrow, with more than 100 acts keeping crowds entertained. But how to sort the ones you’ll remember from the ones you’ll regret? We asked six music experts to help separate the big bangs from the damp squibs with their personal picks.
Aidan Cuffe – Editor, Goldenplec.com
1. Weezer (17.55, Friday, Main Stage) Legendary US alternative rockers. No longer will they be the one of my favourite bands that I never caught live. 2. Foo Fighters (23.25, Saturday, Main Stage) Back with a new album, one of the best live acts going. Do I really need to explain this one? 3. Fight Like Apes (16.30, Sunday, Vodafone Stage) Flapes are a great live act, but can they translate this to the big stage? I want to see them do just that. 4. Patrick Wolf (19.25, Sunday, 2FM Hotpress Academy Stage) This English singer-songwriter has won me over with new album Lupercalia. I absolutely need to see this live.
Claire Beck – DJ, Phantom FM
1. Leftfield (23.30, Friday, Heineken Green Spheres) Leftfield are one of the best sets I’ve ever seen at a festival. I’ve been told they’re breaking out all the classics this time round. 2. Foo Fighters (23.25, Saturday, Main Stage) Very much looking forward to seeing Dave and co destroy the main stage on Saturday night. 3. The National (20.40, Sunday, Vodafone Stage) I honestly think they have special powers hiding in their beards; an incredible live act. 4. Bright Eyes (22.250, Sunday, 2FM Hotpress Academy Stage) I’m a huge fan of Conor Oberst but disgracefully, have yet to see Bright Eyes live. I can’t think of a better way to round off my Oxegen weekend.
Tinie Tempah (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)
Niall Byrne – Blogger, Nialler9
1. Tinie Tempah (19.45, Friday, Vodafone Stage) His set in the Red Bull tent last year was one of the highlights of the festival. Tinie’s energy was infectious and his profile has only risen in the last twelve months. 2. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (TEED) (16.15, Sunday, Red Bull Electric Ballroom) Expect a young English bloke in an Indian headdress playing songs that sound a bit like this. 3. The Shit Robot Show (20.15, Friday, Red Bull Electric Ballroom) At first, Marcus Lambkin swore he would never be able to play the songs from his disco-tastic debut From the Cradle to the Rave live – but with constant pressure he has relented. 4. Odd Future (18.10, Sunday, Heineken Green Spheres) A brat rap posse from LA who have been called the next Wu-Tang Clan. You’ll get pure adolescent energy and the feeling that anything could happen.
Shona Ryan – Music director, Spin 103.8
1. Swedish House Mafia (23.30, Friday, Vodafone Stage) I recently heard a live set of theirs from Miami and it was outstanding. 2. Maverick Sabre (18.00, Friday, Red Bull Electric Ballroom) I love his debut single and he’s going to be massive so I want to catch him before he explodes! 3. Example (20.00, Friday, Heineken Green Spheres) I caught half of his set last year and the atmosphere was electric. I’m going back for more this year! 4. Two Door Cinema Club (17.00, Saturday, Main Stage) STILL haven’t managed to catch these live! Nothing’s going to stop me this year.
Leftfield (Danny Lawson/PA)
Nay McArdle – Blogger, Harmless Noise
1. Leftfield (23.30, Friday, Heineken Green Spheres) Loudly infamous pioneers who formed in 1990 and forged the shape of things to come in electronic music. 2. Tame Impala (17.50, Friday, 2FM Hotpress Academy) Australian psych-rockers could be just the thing to drive away any festival blues with their delightfully uplifting songs. 3. The Shit Robot Show (20.15, Friday, Red Bull Electric Ballroom) 2010’s great electronic album From The Cradle To The Rave is the only reason you need to catch Marcus Lambkin perform a rare show on home turf. 4. Cashier No9 (18.10 Saturday, Heineken Green Spheres) Belfast’s finest export of the year are set for great, great things thanks to wonderful new album To The Death Of Fun.
Phil Udell – Editor, State.ie
1. Coldplay (22.25, Sunday, Main Stage) A band who it have become an easy target over the past few years, Coldplay have nevertheless proved to be a far more interesting prospect than many of their status. 2. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (18.20, Saturday, 2FM Hotpress Academy Stage) Amongst a bill full of similar guitar and electro bands, London rock ‘n’ roll trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis stick out like a gloriously sore thumb. 3. Tinie Tempah (19.45, Friday, Vodafone Stage) Still the man of the moment, Tempah has developed into a genuine live force. Expect ‘Pass Out’ to turn Oxegen into a massive mosh pit. 4. The Minutes (15.00, Saturday, Vodafone Stage) There’s a disappointing lack of new Irish talent on the bill this year, but The Minutes will probably make up for it on their own.