IF you have a ticket to Glastonbury, lucky you. Ahead of the big Somerset gathering on June 24-28, I’ve been looking at the Irish acts worth catching – although the homegrown contingent is thin on the ground this year, I’m sure the chosen few will come all guns blazing.
Flying the flag on the grand stage is the colossal HOZIER (Pyramid Stage, Sunday, 1-1.45pm), while honorary Irishman MIKE SCOTT fronts THE WATERBOYS on the same stage on Saturday (1.30pm-2.30pm). With the 150 anniversary of poet WB Yeats’ birth, they might well throw in tracks from their 2011 album, An Appointment with Mr Yeats, based on his work. Seasoned trad singer CARA DILLON takes to the Avalon Stage (Friday, 5.15-6.15pm) while Dublin-born DJ ANNIE MAC is broadcasting live on BBC Introducing on Friday, 7-10pm.
Rising acts to watch for include exquisitely harmonising folk duo THE LOST BROTHERS. Now on their fourth acclaimed album – New Songs of Dawn And Dust – they hit the festival’s Acoustic Stage on Saturday, 2.30-3.10. Another must-see is teen songwriter SOAK from Derry, playing tracks from her glorious debut Before We Forgot How To Dream on the Other Stage, Sunday at midday.
RAINY BOY SLEEP aka Stevie Martin makes his Glastonbury debut on the John Peel Stage (Friday, 1pm-1.40pm). His EPs Ambulance and most recently Manchester Post showcase a potential to go Ed Sheeran-huge – catchy electro-folk with a sharp pop edge that puts me in mind of a dark jangly mix of The La’s and I Am Kloot.
I caught up with the lad from Lifford for a swift chat about the festival…
So RAINY BOY SLEEP, the hallowed John Peel Stage at Glastonbury on the Friday – exciting! What expectations have you got?
I know! John Peel Stage is going to be epic! It’s definitely a cool phone call to get, hearing news like that. I’ve seen some awesome bands play there already like The Strypes and Crystal Castles so I know the layout and just how loud those speakers can go.
You’re one of only a handful Irish acts on the bill this year along with the likes of Hozier and your tour mate SOAK. Will you be hanging out? Any other acts you aim to see?
Ciaran Lavery’s another Irish act playing this year, I’ll be catching his set for sure. [Watch out for Northern alt-folk troubadour Ciaran on Friday, on the Avalon & Glade stages – FS]. Reuben Keeney will be coming to help me with the technology side of things on stage. Hopefully we will get to hang out with all the fellow natives.
Any interesting or unusual festival memories, good or bad?
Yea there’s been loads. I’ve played during a thunderstorm at a festival once and got sunstroke at another. It was a long walk back to the car at the end of those weekends…
What’s the story with you singing Time After Time with the legendary Cyndi Lauper in the Hammersmith Apollo?
Haha Cyndi! She’s amazing. Such a cool lady. I don’t remember much about it to be honest, I just got lost in how surreal the whole thing was. It was the last date of the tour I was supporting her on, so she invited me up for a tune. I had just left my job the week before, then for something like that to happen… crazy.
Any favourite London shows or experiences?
I’ve played London a good few times now. My first trip over was for a gig in Proud in Camden. Last time I was over it was a support slot in the O2 arena I think [with James Morrison]. I’ve gotten to play some very cool places.
So what have you got coming up?
There’s gonna be a couple of singles coming out this summer. One is a collaboration with rap artist MC Lynchy [Limerick MC whose freestyle YouTube video went viral last year – FS] – I’m really excited about that! It’s a real left-turn in terms of what I’ve been doing up until now, so I’m looking forward to gauging the reaction.
Rainy Boy Sleep’s latest EP Manchester Post is out now on iTunes. Catch him if you can at Glastonbury on Friday at 1pm on the John Peel stage.