Longitude, getting old, cut off jeans and Mr Alan Vega

Longitude, getting old, cut off jeans and Mr Alan Vega

I have seen the future and it wears cut off jeans...

As I walk through the entrance to Marlay Park in Dublin for the Sunday of this years Longitude Festival I am struck by a sea of fake tan, cheap larger, naggins of vodka, warm Heineken, eye brows called slugs or something and in general the heady stench of youth.

I don't often feel old these days (I do) but today is definitely a day for being reminded that one is not as young as one might feel.

Longitude has been going for a number of years now in the capital and though it does require a pretty intensive trek all the way out to the leafy suburbs, the line up this year over the three days is nothing if not eclectic.

With Hip Hop artists like Kendrick Lamarr and Major Lazer headlining the other nights, Sunday was the day for fans of all things rock n roll.

First up is Courtney Barnett and the much vaunted Australian does not let us down.

She is one of the more exciting and interesting artists to emerge from Australia in the recent past and shows the audience here today just why that is.

Playing a set from her wonderful melodic and grungy début Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, it seems if anything that she should be higher on the bill.

The sun beats down, young men with no tops on and no sunscreen work on their farmers tans and I lie back and let the catchy, melodic and witty world of this diminutive singer songwriter wash over me.

Next up on the main stage is Father John Misty, real name Joshua Michael Tillman, who was once a member of folk rock band the Fleet Foxes, there might just be no-one trendier in the ever trendy world of music than this man right now and he knows it, there is an arrogance about him that only true rock stars possess and the crowd seem to agree, lapping up an energetic and anthemic set, he could have played all night, his one hour set passing much too fast.

Perfume Genius is next in a smallish tent somewhere hidden from the main stage, I am led there by my friend Fergus who seems to know where he is going and what he is doing at these things and I follow obligingly.

Perfume Genius is the stage name for Seattle based artist Mike Hadreas and he tends to deal in a sort of opaque baroque chamber pop that is at once completely singular yet strangely familiar.

Again surprisingly given the wet behind the ears nature of the youth attending Longitude, he goes down very well to a pretty much packed tent.

Perhaps the youth of today have taste after all.

The National

This notion is confirmed with the eventual arrival on stage of tonight's head-liners The National. Fronted by (the now long perm haired) Matt Beringer, the National have risen from cult indie status ten years ago to now being one of the biggest bands on the planet, although unlike someone like U2 they are actually quite good.

The set they play is pulled from all their records bar the first two albums.

No one does anthems these days like the National do, song after song here tonight gets the sing along treatment and while it is true that most of the, now very, very drunk, teenagers, now look a tad bemused by what must seem like some sort of Dad rock spectacle to them, it is still striking just how good the National are.

Like Arcade Fire we can only be thankful to have them and with a new record coming soon, hopefully we will have them for some time to come.

In some act of God I am lucky enough to actually get on one of the many buses lining the street outside when we are all turfed out. I leave with a smile on my face like everyone else around me.

Things could be worse.

Summer is still with us and the air is filled with the smell of cut grass.

It's only when I get off the bus do I remember: Work tomorrow. Hallelujah.

This is going to hurt...

Remembering electronica great Alan Vega

It seems every week now we have news of another death in the arts. That's the thing about time, it catches up on you.

This week came the sad news that Alan Vega, co founder along with Martin Rev of the avant electronics duo Suicide has died, he was 78 years old.

Formed in the early 1970's, there really was nothing quite like Suicide before them and there has been nothing like them since. Channeling Elvis croons over primitive drum machines and performing punk before it was a thing, Vega was as much a performance artist as he was any kind of conventional lead singer of a rock band.

There debut record Suicide remains a high point of modern American music. Vega wrote about a world where people where lost hurt and confused, violence reigns and something rotten is stinking up the place.

The raw honestly and confrontational nature of the work pushed boundaries with both good taste and the edges of what music is supposed to be. Alan Vega was that rarest of things, a true original. Listen to Ghost Rider By Suicide and be amazed. A real artist and human being.

Rest in peace.