31 July 2017 (gig)
03 August 2017
This boutique family-friendly festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years; so much so that this year's programme boasted no fewer than 55 gigging acts over the three days and also included separate DJ and comedy venues as well as lots to keep the kids interested.
The final day of the event was blighted by rain of biblical proportions accompanied by celestial pyrotechnics that ruled the need for any extravagant accompanying lightshow redundant. The leaden grey sky did not however prove portentous for the arrival on stage of The Unholy Gospel Company.
As one of the few bands playing on a covered stage, the arrival of the rains proved a blessing for TUGC as the crowd moved inside in a somewhat futile attempt to avoid a soaking. Here they could bask in the warmth and depth of the vocals featuring Cormac Neeson from rock giant's The Answer. The band ran through their gospel inspired repertoire which included standards such as Praise You, Moving on Up and even I Saw the Light - though it would be morning before any light worthy of the name would pierce the gloom.
Despite an unashamedly Christian undertone the power, and yes glory, in the delivery of this set of classics was an unexpected pleasure and one that converted the majority of the dance-orientated rain dodgers that stumbled onto their set.
Back on the main stage Le Galaxie were struggling to master the elements and there were a couple of false starts before they kicked off with Pleasure featuring the vocals of May Kay.
This is a track from the Dublin band's forthcoming new album and marks a progression from some of their earlier oeuvre which tended towards the obviously poppy. This has a much more trancy feel and immediately got many in the crowd moving.
Just to flog the religious theme to death the singer Michael Pope was suitably sporting a beard that would have an envious Moses breaking one of the commandments.
This was a statement from a guy that screamed that he knew he wasn't in the first flush of youth but the good Lord put him on this Earth for a short time and he was going to make the most of it.
The beligerent beard was soon off the stage and into the crowd encouraging them to tap into his band's blend of pure pop electronica and indulgent back beats.
Crowd favourite Love System from the Le Club album of 2012 is much more standard fayre of rock/synth crossover recalling the soundtrack from any eighties movie. However the majority of their stuff displays a love of up tempo disco fused with influences ranging from Blancmange to Hot Chip and Daft Punk.
The band have been porominent on the Irish and European festival circuit which included a sold-out show at Ireland's most prestigious venue, the Olympia Theatre. A enthusiastic and dedicated following has resulted and one that eagerly awaits samplings of their new album – Fade to Forever.
This is much more rythmically robust version of electronica featuring some stunning hypnotically intense tunes which did much to lift the gloom on a wet and muddy summer evening.
Hillsborough, Co Down: Le Galaxie/The Unholy Gospel Company