The most mesmerising moment of Forbidden Fruit 2017 came towards the end of Sunday night’s set by Aphex Twin, during which the producer and DJ unleashed an audio-visual assault of apocalyptic ferocity. White noise swirled, strobes winked madly, beats lurches and skittered. The rain that had fallen on and off through the afternoon was suddenly a secondary consideration. You feared for the sanctity of your soul.
The urban music festival overlooking Heuston Station was back with one of its more intriguing line-ups to date. In addition to the aggressively avant grade Aphex Twin the three day event featured the retro techno of Orbital and a rare European appearance by ethereal folkie Bon Iver, also “curating” the final evening’s main-stage selection.
Saturday was pitched at dance fans of every hue. Berlin duo Booka Shade were joined by singer and guitarist Craig Walker for a turn that spliced minimal techno with a curiously moving cover of Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’.
Bringing the nostalgia were Orbital, who donned their signature head torch glasses and delivered seismic readings of ‘Lush 3-1’, ‘Halcyon’ and ‘Belfast’. In the Outsider tent, meanwhile, Tycho laid down blissful grooves.
Aphex Twin was the most talked about artist on Sunday. The rest of the bill refused to be overshadowed, though, and, with the weather growing steadily worse, there were impressive cameos by laptop composer Nicolas Jaar and German synth-rock band Moderat.
The tempo was very different on Monday, with a more guitar-oriented line-up featuring Co Meath’s Lisa Hannigan and sister three-piece The Staves.
However, the marquee name was Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, going on the road for the first time with last year’s 22, A Million album. Sadly, the swirling conditions did their best to spoil the fun and , with the downpour remaining relentless, Vernon and band were forced to leave the stage for 10 minutes towards the end.
For those who endured a drenching however, it was a shiver-inducing performance, with Vernon and his band meticulously re-assembling 22, A Million and sending the audience home cold and happy with favourites Skinny Love and Beth/Rest. You tramped into the night wet but happy.