Festival review: Skye Live, Portree
Skye Live *****
The Lump, Portree
Local DJs Niall Munro and Ali MacIsaac started Skye Live in 2015, and they’ve created a show which strikes an admirable balance between booking DJs and producers with a national and international profile and including a range of trad artists whose natural onstage home is in the Highlands and Islands.
Saturday night’s bill made for an interesting compare and contrast exercise, with Glasgow’s widely-ranging DJ duo Optimo (Espacio) playing a joint back-to-back set of beguilingly dark and energetic techno with dubstep pioneer Joy Orbison (aka London producer Peter O’Grady) at the “Sub Club Tower”, a small medieval structure at the top of the hill, while at the same time, in a clearing a few steps down the hill, the marquee-like main stage hosted sets from young Scots Gaelic players Daimh, uilleann piper and bandleader Jarlath Henderson and the consistently lively and crowd-pleasing Blazin’ Fiddles. While it’s fair to say that both stages attracted different crowds, neither had a monopoly on the enthusiasm of the audience’s reaction.
The booking of acts, intentional or otherwise, with a connection to the island was also a nice touch. Mylo was one of the most obvious, with the Skye-raised DJ playing a rare but very welcome set of Eighties-tinged house on Friday’s main stage, before Irish DJ Mano Le Tough’s late-night headline appearance.
Closing the two-day festival on Saturday night, meanwhile, Django Django’s first Scottish gig in 18 months claimed a little local interest, with drummer Dave Maclean’s family history here. Playing a set of already-released tracks, the quartet rose expertly to the rare headline slot, before a late-night afterparty at the local community centre closed a unique and essential festival experience.