The wonderful folk at Heineken Music answered my prayers last week by providing me with a chance to experience Oxegen '09.
I've been to the festival a number of times before but this year I found the line-up particularly enticing. Sometimes it can be hard to gauge how acts will fare in front of a festival crowd but, thankfully, none of the acts I managed to catch seemed fazed by the Punchestown punters.
I've already written about the effect Florence and the Machine had on me. Seeing the band play in such an initimate space, the week their soon-to-be-classic album was released, in front of such an appreciative audience ranks among the greatest festival experiences I've ever had.
Another brilliant performance came courtesy of Friendly Fires, who more than lived up to their reputation as a formidable live act. With such an arsenal of incredible tracks ('Jump in The Pool', 'Paris', 'Photobooth' and 'Skeleton Boy' to name but a few), it's a wonder that the Engish trio haven't enjoyed more mainstream success but I suspect they won quite a few fans as a result of their dazzling live set.
I'd seen Oxford four-piece Foals play twice before and loved 'em both times. However, seeing them at the Heineken Green Spheres was the first time I felt where the sound system was able to do justice to their high-octane guitar-driven indie pop. Or maybe they were just on form? Either way, they were a definite highlight.
I'm sure some would disagree but I also thought Lady Gaga delivered in spades. A performance that involved a moped, a piano covered with plastic bubbles, a box made out of mirrors, a keytar, several costume changes and some pretty slick choreograhy meant it was impossible to pry your eyes from the bolshy bottle blonde. Oh, and she can sing.
Good show, Oxegen. Good show.
[Images: Heineken Music]