As soon as you mention the words “Oxegen festival”, someone will tell you to go and see such a band: “make sure you see the Ting Tings” or whatever. It’s bound to happen. Unfortunately you can’t see every artist. Nor would you want to see every artist. For the casual music fna, knowing who to see is often a challenge. You might waste your time listening to some run-of-the-mill rock, while the Next Big Thing are onstage in the Green Room.
Always around this time, the major publications release their own special previews. Expect Hot Press to have a special Oxegen 2008 issue just in time for next week. Today the madness starts with previews in the supplements of both the Irish Times and Irish Independent. But is either worth buying? Should you save you cash and wait for Swear I’m Not Paul‘s special coverage next week?
First off, the Irish Independent has advertised its preview everywhere. It even came in the Oxegen Official Newsletter! Must be some backhanders going on there. The special ooh-ahh-wonderful section on Oxegen isn’t all that special, and I wouldn’t recommend investing in the Indo just for that reason. There is an interview with Craig Finn from The Hold Steady (which you can read freely online), as well as a nice site map for the venue, as well as the critics’ suggested acts to see. As usual, the misguided-Ed Power has chosen someone as awful as his music writing: the Sugababes! Power is the same guy who did a live review for Neil Young at Malahide during the week, but spent more time discussing Neil Young’s choice of outfit and where the name Chrome Dreams II came from rather than talk about the music. You can find some of the Independent’s coverage freely available here, as well as that Craig Finn interview:
The Irish Times, on the other hand, has a great write-up on the festival. Instead of the pretty pictures and cute layouts the Independent went with, they have a full preview from their rock critic, Jim Carroll (a fine writer – I’m usually able to pick which reviews he writes in a particular name just because of the artist involved, he’s got a cool image to protect after all, but amazingly he only gave Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer a paltry two!). Carroll talks about all of the bands and gives his opinions on whether they’re worth seeing. It’s definitely worth checking out, and you can read it all for free here:
Oh and I hope to get a copy of that nice little map and put it up here. But being lost at Oxegen is fun too!