Monday, August 25, 2008

Provisional Picnic timetable?

A typed Electric Picnic timetable which purports to be the official one has been leaked.

It's clash city as far as I can see for quite a number of acts I was hoping to catch and there's a few mystifying times/stages too. Yet again, the Main Stage will be deserted for most of the festival, particularly on Sunday which is just one old cripple and heritage act after another. The most glaring omission from the Main Stage on Sunday has to be Christy Moore who is playing the noisy and boisterous Crawdaddy stage on the Friday evening. Stange choice that. Sunday is probably the weakest of the three days, thanks in no small part to the atrocious decision to book the Sex Pistols. The tent will be heaving for MBV no doubt, as it will for Underworld on the Saturday, the set I'm most looking forward to all weekend.
Friday night has plenty to offer as does Saturday evening. Wonder who the 'mystery guest' on Sunday night will be? As you can see the time after MBV has been left blank, unless of course they're planning an hour long wall of feedback during "You Made Me Realise" instead of the customary half hour.
Hot Lunch festival site report: A friend of Hot Lunch was on site in Stradbally this morning putting up a mast, and reports that the Green 'Oscar Wilde' campsite and dance area is probably the wettest/swampiest part of the site. His exact words were "it's a disaster waiting to happen". The yellow 'Hitler' campsite is also set to be a bit soft but he said the rest of the site is holding up pretty well with just a few areas under water.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Johnny Cash at Glastonbury

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

And with that famous introduction, uttered from the centre of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury on Sunday June 26th 1994, Johnny Cash won himself around 60,000 new fans and invented the Sunday afternoon 'living legend' slot at the festival. It helped that he followed his iconic introduction with a decent set, and his Glastonbury show has gone down in history, with even the man in black himself rating it as one of his own own personal favourites. Christ, the Garda helicopter is flying around outside, the knackers must be at it again. One would imagine the Olympics would have quietened them down. However, for me the Glastonbury show is typical of the stodgy ground Cash had mithered himself in for decades. I saw him in Dublin at the turn of the decade and whilst good fun, it was hardly the sort of show to cement itself in ones list of favorite gigs. It was so old hat that he even had TR Dallas supporting him that night!

Anyway, the Glastonbury show did mark a pivitol moment in the career of The Man in Black as it was this year when he released 'American Recordings', the first in is savage series of albums with Rick Rubin. Some tracks from it appear in this set, marking the transition. The album (and subsequent sequels) was perhaps the greatest reinvention of his career but yet, like the inventions of the Man in White, Joe Dolan, all he changed was the music. He still dressed the same, sounded the same and looked the same. But what a look!

The show is not fully captured on this disc, as this is a radio broadcast. The full concert can be found if you look hard enough and no doubt you'll end up on some Russian site full of fucking pop ups.

Tracklist: - Folsom Prison Blues- Sunday Morning Coming Down- Cristopher Song- Ring of Fire- I guess thing happen that way- the Beast in Me- Let the Train blow the Whistle - Big River- A Boy Named Sue

The wah-wah psychedelic blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf

Two of the most revered but hardest to find blues albums of all-time are a pair of discs released at the tail-end of the 1960s – Howlin’ Wolf’s “This is Howlin' Wolf's New Album” and Muddy Water’s “Electric Mud”. They are perhaps the best (and the only survivors) of the Psychedelic Blues era when bluesmen reluctantly embraced what the kids were getting high to and played a hybrid blues that would scare anyone. As a child, these were two curious beasts at the back of my dad’s record collection, and they equally terrified and enthralled me. Sadly, they were part of a mass clear-out in the 1980s of which I’ll go into again at some stage so when I got to read about them as a teenager, and their importance, they had disappeared. However, on a trawl through another website where I was, er, getting the lend of a couple of Isaac Hayes albums and James Brown’s long-lost “Hell” album, I found them. But the links were dead. So I asked the webmaster if he wouldn’t mind uploading them again and he did, just for me. I owe him lunch, which I’ll buy him when I’m in America next month. Anyway, it was like meeting two childhood friends, and, for a couple of weeks, here they are for you dear readers (Hi Johnny, Simon and Ken!)

The albums were released by Cadet Concept, a short-lived but influential record label founded by Marshall Chess, the son of Leonard Chess of Chess Records.

Somehow, Chess convinced both bluesmen to deviate from their pure blues roots and embrace the then hip sounds of psychedelic electric guitar rock.

"Electric Mud" is one of most original blues albums there is. When this album was recorded in 68, Waters' career was in a slump and noting how the likes of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones were making a mint out of “re-interpreting” old blues classics including some of his. Marshall Chess thought it best to seek out a new audience for Muddy and Howlin’ (and probably a few others too) if the kids were getting down to their stuff, albeit reimagined and ripped off. Both men were elder statesman who couldn't even sell to their own community but were still well known so over a hot lunch he convinced them to embrace a new sound.

“Electric Mud” is a wah-wah pedal and fuzz box friendly feast for the ears. The basic instrumentation on it includes a heavily distorted guitar (often with the wah-wah up to eleven), fuzz-tone electric bass, saxophone, synthesizer, and drums. This is quite a stretch from the trademark Muddy Waters sound! Five of the eight songs on 'Electric Mud' were Muddy Waters back catalogue staples, songs he had sung thousands, of times. A little hesitantly, he sang them as he always had. His accompaniment, however, was very much of the moment, and dopers of the world could united with new renditions of songs like "I Just Want To Make Love To You," "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," and "Mannish Boy," in a hard, psychedelic rock style. It's a career-best recording of "Mannish Boy", and may be familiar to some as it appeared on an Uncut CD a while back. He even tries a Rolling Stones cover - “Let's Spend The Night Together." The vocals are one of the strong selling points of this album, and Muddy Waters is in great voice and some of his writing on it gets an A+ from me.

The record was a big hit, popular with both, er, communities and with all types of music lovers, including my dad.

"Electric Mud" was followed up with an attempt at relaunching the career of Howlin’ Wolf.

Wolf's opinion of the resulting record was emblazoned on the cover in bold letters- “This Is Howlin Wolf's New Album. He Doesn't Like It. He Didn't Like His Electric Guitar At First Either.”
In fact, he fucking hated it but it’s a class album and well worth downloading or buying if you ever see it in a shop. It’s worth ten fortunes though so the possibilities of that are impossible.

For the album, Marshall Chess brought in the same band that was used in the “Electric Mud” sessions: Pete Cosey and Phil Upchurch- guitars, Louis Satterfield on bass and Morris Jennings on drums to create the psychedelic blues-funk- rock-n-roll fusion that was becoming popular at the time.The album is funky with a tight rhythm section making Wolf's loose bluesy vocals pierce through even more. On Smokestack Lightning, a song he had probably performed a million times in its original raw form, a flute crops up to add some jazz fusion touches before the song trips off into a wah-wah wonderland. The rest of the album is just as funky and gritty.

If you don’t like big stoned wah-wah guitars and widdly-widdly-wee solos and funky drumming (as well as the odd glass-breaking howl) avoid both, but if you like a new twist on the blues, get these impossible to find (both albums have long since disappeared) albums while you can, particularly "Electric Mud".

For your aural pleasure:


01. I Just Want To Make Love To You 02. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man 03. Let's Spend The Night Together 04. She's Alright 05. Mannish Boy 06. Herbert Harper's Free Press News 07. Tom Cat 08. The Same Thin

Cut n paste either of the following links into a new window but BEWARE, they are “sponsored” links and if an ad doesn’t appear (skip it) the first page that will come up is a holding page full of porn; When it opens click on the line that says ‘if your link has not appeared here in ten seconds’ or words to that effect as quick as you can and the download will give you numerous options such as Rapidshare, Megaupload etc. or


01. Spoonful 3:48 02. Tail Dragger 4:20 03. Smokestack Lightning 5:48 04. Moanin' at Midnight 3:13 05. Built for Comfort 5:17 06. The Red Rooster 3:48 07. Evil 4:06 08. Down in the Bottom 2:43 09. Three Hundred Pounds of Joy 2:34 10. Back Door Man 6:17

Cut n paste either of the following links into a new window but BEWARE, they are “sponsored” links and if an ad doesn’t appear (skip it) the first page that will come up is a holding page full of porn; When it opens click on the line that says ‘if your link has not appeared here in ten seconds’ or words to that effect as quick as you can and the download will give you numerous options such as Rapidshare, Megaupload etc. or

Thanks to The Roadhouse.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gunnsunrosus go for broke

Axl Rose toasts his new Wall-Mart deal. "Screw you record store owners of America!"

Back in the late 1980’s and up to point when I realised that they were shite all along in the summer of 1992, if someone told me they had nine fresh tracks from an unreleased Guns ‘N’ Roses album, I’d have painted their house, killed their mother and raped their sheep to get my hands on them.

Earlier this year, after a widely publicised “leak”, nine Guns and Roses (or ‘Gunnsunrosus’ as they are referred to here in the midlands) tracks from their 14-years-in-the-making album "Chinese Democracy" appeared all over the internet. Anyone with even the slightest illegal download tracking skills could have found them – they were everywhere. And there was plenty of chatter that Gunnsunrosus were back! Back! Back! I had no interest in them; really and truly none at all. The world and its mother has spent over a decade reading about the tedious creation of this Axl solo disc, and even 14 years of rumour couldn’t sum up the “eagerly awaited” excitement in me. At one stage, as a smelly black tay-short wearing lad, I loved Axl and the boys but my G n’ R fixation only lasted until the bus home from Slane on May 16th 1992. They were shite that day and probably every other day. Utter, total shite. It was a gig I didn’t have to fight too long to forget about.

In fact, now that I think of it, all I remember from that day is an early morning naggin of vodka on the bus to Slane, My Little Funhouse being shit, another naggin of vodka, Faith No More being savage, the crowd throwing paper cups in the air for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours until Gunnsunrosus finally took the stage (in fact the wait was so long that a friend took up smoking such was his boredom - the poor fucker still smokes and personally blames Axl. I think I got sunstroke, and to add insult to injury I sobered up as Axl and that raggle-taggle bunch – except Matt Sorum, he was too clean – finally took the stage about 4 hours after Faith No More finished ). Of the Gunnsunrosus show itself all I can remember is the mind-numbing wankology of it all – solo after solo after solo, extended “Use Your Illusion” bombast after bombast and sweet fuck all from their one and only good album, “Appetite for Destruction”. The best song of the night was a short Axl-on-the-piano cover of Black Sabbath’s “It’s Alright” (the standout track 1976’s “Technical Ecstasy” album featuring an almighty emotional vocal from alcodrummer Bill Ward) and when it was all over I never listened to Gunnsunrosus again, even though I continued to buy their albums and CD singles. When I heard their cover of The Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” on the end credits to the awful “Interview with a Vampire” adaptation I thought I was going to spew. That was the official end point. Good luck, fuck off, and goodnight.

Anyway, to cut an increasingly long story short, the other day I was happily downloading a Pink Floyd gig from 1971 from a relatively harmless bootleg blog when I spotted nine allegedly "mastered, finished" tracks from Gunnsunrosus eagerly, er, awaited "Chinese Democracy" album, months after all the furore and excitement about them had died down and months after I had first saw them on th’internet.

“I wonder what the Axl Rose-led ‘band’ sound like?” I said to no one in particular, my curiosity peaked by a recent AC/DC purchase and a drunken bout of air guitaring, so I grabbed them.

And guess what? They are shit. They are so embarrassingly bad and so beyond normal standards of shit that I’d love to get Gillian McKeith in to have a rummage through them.

But shit doesn’t matter to bands like Gunnsunrosus who should, by right, be called brands. Fello brands like U2 haven’t released anything remotely interesting since “Pop” back in 1997 whilst it’s been so long since The Rolling Stones released anything decent that it’s doubtful whether there’s anyone old enough still alive to remember it.

Like all brands it is the actual release of the product that’s much more interesting than the actual product itself. Never mind all the digital prospects and new markets. Brands like Gunnsunrosus deliver to old habit creatures, so a physical release is where it’s at for these dinosaurs. According to reports from America, negotiations are well underway for "Chinese Democracy" to come out as an exclusive in Wal-Mart supermarkets only in the States. Holy Shit! What about the Salt Lake City version of Soundcellar? A deal like that makes the album title all the more pertinent doesn’t it? Democracy my ass. What about the little guy? Gunnsunrosus is now managed by big shots Front Line Management who also manage the business affairs of Christine Aguilera, Van Halen and bloody Aerosmith. They also manage that other “great” American brand The Eagles and last year they released their awful double disc MOR-fest "Long Road out of Eden" exclusively through Wal-Mart, much to the chagrin of every other merchant still left in business in the States. I’d never heard of this (sadly I heard The Eagles album) and then I read in Billboard that beloved Slane-bound veterans AC/DC are also releasing their next album exclusively through Wal-Mart. “Merchants were particularly incensed that the deal was apparently struck with the blessing of Columbia,” the report says. I bet they were.

Different or exclusive versions in different stores is nothing new, especially in America where, for example, David Gilmour’s “On an Island” had different formats for different stores, as did Bloc Party’s Grouse Lodge-recorded second album, whatever-it-was-called. And here we have Xtravision having movies for a month before others and the likes of Zavvi having different covers but this just sucks, and following other trends in the music business there’s no doubt we can expect similar things to happen in Ireland in, oh, about 40 years.

I hope people like Tommy in Soundcellar gets to stock “Chinese Democracy”. Like banks and backers needing Coldplay albums, people like Tommy in Soundceller need brands like Gunnsunrosus. I don’t, but I sure prefer to see places like Soundcellar still in business, but if you really want to hear Gunnsunrosus have a look around you’ll get those nine tracks of mp3 shite in all their glory.
Instead though, you should take a look at

It’s a short feature by Last Light Films. A nice piece of work, and they have a few more up there on YouTube. It's kind of like those business profiles you’d wished you’d written but only thought about them when the business was closed. There’s loads of them around, and now I’ve got time on my hands (book finished, back in the real world for a while, hello, hello, good to be back etc..) I’m gonna try and profile some of them as a New Years Resolution.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Due to an acute case of food poisoning, Hot Lunch is taking a break for - ohh - about two months, but promises to return with even more badly written observations about nothing in particular oncehe learns the lesson that you cannot eat a carvery lunch after 1.40pm.

In the meantime Hot Lunch was delighted that his wild predictions for the Electric Picnic line-up last month were taken as the real thing by so many credible journalists, bloggers, message board posters and people in the music industry. Hot Lunch spent about ten minutes carefully cobbling a list together from acts who were playing festivals and who may have been close to Ireland in late August, and threw in a couple of curveballs for good measure. To see it reprinted as the real McCoy a day prior to the unveiling of the dismal real thing gave him a similar feeling of joy that eating three Tunnocks Tea Cakes in a row would bring.

On the subject of Tunnocks Tea Cakes, why can you get them in TEN PACKS in the North of Ireland and only in SIX PACKS down South? And how come Tunnocks Snowballs have yet to make it to Ireland?

Anyway, see you soon, in June, or maybe earlier.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Jimmy Cake "Spectre and Crown"

Here's an excitable review I wrote for a few regional papers about the best album I've heard in a good two years - The Jimmy Cake's awesome "Spectre and Crown" which is out on Pilatus Records on April 11th.


Get a slice of this – Third time lucky for The Jimmy Cake

If you only buy one album this year that has no lyrics, mixes classical music with the epic windswept post-rock and features some of the most beautifully structured music recorded in Ireland in decades, then make sure it’s “Spectre and Crown”, the long-awaited third album from the 18-legged groove machine that is Dublin instrumental collective The Jimmy Cake.

It is the best album yet from the instrumental leviathan, and it’s worth every single one of the five difficult years it took them to create it. The album is a moving, sweepingly beautiful, orchestral epic with nine life-enhancing tracks of such diversity and scope that it’s hard to fathom that just nine people made it. Listening to its most epic moments, you can picture over a hundred people crammed into a studio, perhaps with an orchestra in one corner, a string quartet or four in the other corner, a drummer, bassist and guitarist in the other corner, and a classical concert pianist or ten in the other corner.

“Spectre and Crown” opens with “Red Tony”, the deceptively calm first two minutes of which are just soothing piano and the threat of atmospherics. It then transforms into a lush, guitar and string piece, sliding in with such consummate ease that you’d swear it was made of feathers. As openings go, it’s as near to the opening of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” as you’re ever going to get without a singer inviting you to “breathe in the air”. But you might as well, because as things just keep on getting better and better and better as the rest of the album opens out, you’ll drown in its lush aural embrace.

Alongside numerous classical music references from composers whose names I cannot spell, and operas I have never heard, there’s elements of the music and idealisms of bands such as Mogwai, The Cure, The Orb, Sophia, Can, The Who, Godspeed You Black Emperor, KLF and Explosions in the Sky scattered throughout this gorgeous disc; and hidden away you’ll find little elements such as a plucked banjo, an accordion, and more that gives the game away that this is actually an Irish band and not a state-funded musical experiment from the East.

The piano of Paul G. Smyth is the key to most of the tracks, especially “Jetta’s Place” which jaunts along to one of the most emotional crescendos The Jimmy Cake has ever put its name to. Their trademark brass section overload makes this one of, if not the best, tracks you’ll hear all year. Honestly.

As well as possessing the best song title in years, “The Arms That Came Out of the Wall” possesses a melancholic but surprisingly smooth juxtaposition of two bass guitars which recall a peaceful Alpine train journey up and through a mountain with The God Machine warming up in the next carriage. They guide it to the orchestra pit via a detour with a little self-contained acoustic rock band within a band and some synchronised slow hand-clapping. Please don’t allow that put you off though. When the accordions kicks in it all makes sense. Its seven minutes give the band barely enough time to arrive back to where they began, and when they do, you want them to start off on the journey again.

The album is all breathtaking, epic music, delivered with such belief and cohesion that it’s hard to believe that three of the members of the band are new guys, still being bedded in following the departure of a trio of founding members.

Still, the spirit of previous releases by the band - their gentle debut “Brains” and their schizophrenic and disappointing follow-up “Dublin Gone, Everybody Dead” - is there in all tracks, especially the five slow-burning minutes of the sweeping “Haunted Candle” which is extinguished by an orchestral build-up led by accordions. Elsewhere, “Collapsing Cloud Night...” is possibly the sweetest love song you’ll ever hear without lyrics, whilst “The Art of Wrecking” is one of the saddest pieces of rain-soaked string quartet music one will hear for quite some time. You could soundtrack 50 great movie deaths with it if you wanted to. The nine minutes of the rampaging“Hugs for Buddy” should evoke fonder memories, and no doubt will soundtrack years worth of artful nodding in the homes of anyone lucky enough to buy and fall in love with this beautiful album. It sounds like the conclusion to a concept album or rock opera The Who or Pink Floyd always wanted to make, but never could, as their roots were with rock and blues and not with the sweeping classic The Jimmy Cake were fed on. Instead they ended up producing flawed masterpieces such as “Tommy” and “Atom Heart Mother”. What sets The Jimmy Cake apart is that their roots are classical, and when they allow their multitude of other influences into the mix they end up making epic tracks like this.

Few bands have mastered how to melt the orchestral sweep of classical music with something that nearly resembles rock music, but The Jimmy Cake has, and with “Spectre and Crown” they have set a stunning template for other collectives, quartets and bands to follow. As it is, few records will reach the heights that this royally brilliant piece of work reaches. An instant and longterm classic.

Ten out of ten.


Please Queens of the Stone Age - give up now

I've been a QOTSA fan for pretty much all of their existence, and a massive Kyuss fan before that, and over the last couple of years I've kinda grown used to my beloved band losing the plot, particularly with the pretty hopeless "Era Vulgaris" album and the unfocussed mess that is "Lullabies to Paralyze". But I've stuck it out, as to me QOTSA represented everything great about American rock music, their first three records are unlike anything any band has released before or since, and they always delivered, even if the majority of the payload in recent years has been pretty weak material and an ever-fluctuating line-up. Still, there was the odd moment of magic on each disc, and the Desert Sessions has always been a welcome excursion. But when the parent band is eclipsed by the Desert Sessions collective something must be wrong.

Anyhow, I've tried to catch QOTSA every time they've been in Ireland, and even in such poxy surrounds as the Main Stage at Oxegen they have never failed or disappointed. But I've noticed a gradual decline in their stock, their interest, and and in Josh, their ginger beanpole leader, in recent years. Sure, the hired guns give it socks, but the band has been a shadow of its once great self for years now, and despite assuring myself that they will one day return to reach the heights they once did with consumate ease, it's been difficult to muster any enthusiasm for them as I once did. I can't even listen to the last two albums anymore they're that bad.

But the news that QOTSA are supporting LINKIN PARK in the RDS in Dublin at 70 QUID a ticket is the final straw for me.

The last time LINKIN PARK played Dublin it was at the same venue was with Metallica, The Darkness and a few others and they were bottled off the stage from the second they walked onto it. 40,000 people booed en masse during their set, the "DJ" goaded the crowd to try and hit him, and almost in slow motion, a beer bottle then curled through the air and hit him right on the forehead. So poor was the reception and the degree of hatred shown towards them when Chester Copperpot or whatever he's called unfurled a shop bought Irish tricolour that their set had to be cut short. It was magic stuff. Like Donington in the good old bottle of piss days. Even James Hetfield took the piss out of them when Metallica came on.

So, it's a sad end to a once great band like QOTSA to be playing second fiddle to an outfit like LP, and a it's a sad way to end my relationship with a once great band... but this is just the pits, and to me it sadly represents what QOTSA is about nowadays: Money. It's fuck the fans, fuck credibility and fuck their legacy. I wish Josh Homme would do the decent thing later this year and split the band, as support slots with the likes of Linkin Park undermines everything they have ever set out to achieve and represents the nadir of a decline into cliche.

I wish at this stage that Josh would just give it up, and stop pretending that QOTSA is a band. We know it's a nice cheque he's probably getting for the RDS but it's going to cost you a lot more in street cred.

So goodbye Josh, my lovely friend, your band means no more,
I hope we'll meet again, I've lost you now for sure
Goodbye my lovely friend, I loved you from the start
I knew that it would end, but didn't have the heart to see us part
No I must go.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Latitude Ireland "will not happen this year"

Latitude - not coming to a country near you soon

The proposed Irish staging of UK festival 'Latitude' at Belvedere House Gardens and Park in Mullingar, Co. Westmeth over the weekend of July 18 -20 has been postponed.

Although the venue, which has played host to the Hi:Fi and Midlands Music Festival in recent years, was booked for Latitude and plans were submitted to its owners, Westmeath County Council, by Festival Republic (which Irish giants MCD have a share in) the festival was called off earlier this month.

A Council spokesperson told Hot Lunch that Latitude "will not happen this year" or possibly any other year for that matter. The local authority and the management of Belvedere are said to be devestated that the high-profile maiden voyage for the festival has been nixed. Earlier this year there was THREE music festivals booked for Belvedere, which is undoubtedly the finest festival site in Ireland. Now, it looks like there will be none. As On the Record said last week, the Irish festival market is in a state of flux, with some high profile casualties including both the Midlands Music Festival and Garden Party for POD Concerts, who are rumoured to have lost money on both. MCD, their main rivals, even struggled to shift tickets for the teenage rite-of-passage that is the Oxegen festival. It's line up was pitched at the oldies and, it has to be said, is the one of the weakest Oxegen line-up in years with plenty of old timers on stage to confuse the kids who have made this festival a no-go area for most self respecting music fans in recent years.

But POD have an ace in their sleeve, and that is the peerless Electric Picnic, the line-up of which is being announced tomorrow (Wednesday). Latitude itself was modelled on the Picnic (or Leccy Piccy as Hot Press inanely call it) and with Latitude falling by the wayside, and MCD not able to tie in acts for a twin festival (as they do with T In The Park/Oxegen) that now isn't happening it's technically been 'open season' for a number of acts on the UK Latitude bill, which no doubt means we'll be seeing Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand and the brilliant Elbow play the Electric Picnic this year.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Delorentos tour hell

Delorentos, who should have won the Choice Music Prize last month, are in the US of A at the moment. Well, kind of. Have a read of their tour diary here

It's quite brilliant.

Hot Lunches Electric Picnic predictions part 2

Dear God, please get your favourite band Slayer to play the Electric Picnic.

Ok, two days to go until the announcement of theElectric Picnic line-up and Hot Lunch is going to take a punt at predicting some of the bigger acts.

Before we begin, let me be the first to announce that Portishead will NOT be playing in Stradbally this year, contrary to much rumour.

(As good as) definites: My Bloody Valentine, Sex Pistols (meh), Moby, Tindersticks, Underworld, Super Furry Animals, Fat Boy Slim, The Breeders, Elbow, CSS (now living in Ballinasloe by all accounts), George Clinton and a load of random people pretending to be one of his bands, Chic featuring Nile Rogers, Gary Numan, The Human League, 808 State, The Orb, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Faust, Neon Neon, Jamie Liddell, Foals, Lee Scratch Perry, Baaba Mal, The Wedding Present, Sebastien Tellier, Henry Rollins, Billy Bragg, Marty Mulligan, Saul Williams, Booka Shade, Transglobal Underground, Two Gallants, King Creosote, Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong, Damien Bloody Rice, The Duke Spirit, Crystal Castles, Tinariwen, Red Snapper, Fuck Buttons, Micah P Hinson, Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Fish Go Deep, Grand National, Lisa Hannigan, Cinephile, Kings of Convenience, David Kitt, Donal Dineen, Gemma Hayes, Gossip, Plaid, Kevin Rowland, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Two Gallants blah blah blah.

Good Chance: Fat Boy Slim, Massive Attack, Paul Weller, James, Bloc Party, Fat Freddy's Drop, Mighty Boosh (they really need to shake up the comedy tent this year and lose Des Bishop et al), Cornelius, Buzzcocks, DJ Krush, Supergrass, The Coral, Bonnie Prince Billy, Notwist, Goldfrapp, Calexico, Jimmy Cliff, Robyn, Hayseed Dixie, Low, Dirty Three...

Long shots: The Cure, Paul Simon, Flaming Lips, Sigur Ros, Mercury Rev, Cypress Hill.

Fingers Crossed: The KLF (one-off reformation?), Masters of Reality, Cinematic Orchestra, Slayer and, er, John Shuttleworth.