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13 Irish Acts to See at Electric Picnic, August 29-31

27/08/2014 14:37 BST | Updated 27/10/2014 09:59 GMT

Pet Shop Boys, Portishead and Beck are some of the big draws at this year's sold-out Electric Picnic but, as usual, there's also a strong showing from Irish acts.

There's so many extraordinary musicians and comedians in Ireland at the moment: Here's just a small taste of ones to watch out for at Ireland's biggest and best music and arts festival.

Ham Sandwich

Ham Sandwich have worked hard to become one of Ireland's best live acts. Their ever-growing following is testament to their great musicianship and big bold brave show (there could be anywhere up to 12 musicians on stage at any one time). A headline gig in Dublin's Olympia Theatre last April was life-affirming, while their single "Illuminate" is still securing significant and deserved radio play.

- Electric Arena, Sunday 3pm

James Vincent McMorrow

Comparable to Bon Iver and clearly stepping into the recently retired musician's shoes, McMorrow nonetheless deserves his growing global audience. A lot of fans who missed his three recent gigs in Dublin's National Concert Hall are now are eagerly awaiting his EP slot. I suspect, like Arcade Fire's 2005 EP slot which helped secure the band's global prominence, this could be a very special moment.

- Electric Arena, Saturday 11pm

Sinead O'Connor

On fire at the moment, O'Connor hasn't been this good for a decade or so. Back in the early 90's, she was a dangerous woman who shone a light on Ireland's sexual and moral hypocrisies, exposing herself to great personal risk. Indeed, she was one of the first to speak out, and she deserves her place in the history books. But for all the controversies, her talent is what matters: O'Connor is an incredibly diverse and charismatic artist with an exceptional and mighty voice. She will tear the stage apart.

- Main stage, 3.50pm, Sunday

Hozier

Touted as one to watch at last year's Hard Working Class Heroes Festival in Dublin, Hozier has certainly lived up to expectations, with appearances on Ellen and David Letterman displaying his undeniable talent and presence. His first hit Take Me To Church seemed impossible to follow, but his latest release Sedated - a dark tale about the initial lure of drugs turning into a desperate addiction - is quite a song indeed.

- Main stage, 5.30pm, Saturday

Fred Cooke

Disclosure: I've known Fred for many years. Back in our student days in UCD, he was an aspiring comedian with buckets of potential who was sometimes squirmingly unsure of himself on stage. I was his mean and horrible friend who pointed out how uncomfortable it could be to watch - often via the medium of heckling.

I've committed many other offences against Fred since, but I hope he forgives me for that one. Fred's early potential was obvious to anyone who met him, and it's been such a joy to watch his progress. He's headlined his own shows in Vicar Street and Whelan's, and is a regular on RTE television's Republic of Telly.

As well as having developed his own unique brand of musical humour and a lightning-quick improv style, he's wonderful with crowd interaction. His unrivalled energy, once an uncontrolled and poorly focused distraction, is now the foundation of his act. But the main reason that Fred Cooke is a special and unusual comedian is because, slapstick and wacky as his stage persona can be, his comedy comes from a place of genuine warmth, kindness and empathy, and this shines through.

It's been a thorough pleasure and an honour to watch Fred grow as a performer over the years. I knew he could do it. Go and see him: he will have you in stitches.

- Comedy tent, 5pm Saturday

Sleep Thieves

Sensual electronic music to kiss Ryan Gosling to.

-Body and Soul stage, Friday 5pm

Spies

Dublin five piece gaining considerable momentum this year.

Stage time TBA

Rubberbandits

If you've never come across Rubberbandits - or if you have - this is an unmissable show. This award winning comedy and musical hip-hop duo from Limerick have topped the album charts and produced several highly original videos. In the tradition of the finest surrealist satire, those videos are often highly unsettling.

- Comedy tent, Saturday 6.50pm

The Strypes

A good early opener for the festival. How young are these highly accomplished musicians? Their influences stretch back many decades, embracing The Rolling Stones, The Undertones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lead Belly, and John Lee Hooker. They've been criticised as lacking in originality, but they have much room to grow as musicians. Worth showing up early for.

- Main stage, Friday, 6pm

Mongoose

Delightful folk/jazz four-piece. Their Knockanstockan set went down a storm. The perfect way to spend the early part of Saturday afternoon.

- Body and Soul stage, Saturday 2pm

We Cut Corners

Perennial favourite at the Huffington Post. Always a surprise from Conaill and John at every gig.

- Electric Arena, Saturday 4.45pm

Meltybrains?

Fantastic instrumentation, fun dancing. The second half of their set tends to be better, so do stick around.

- Body and Soul stage, Saturday 7.30pm

Tvvins

Opening the show on the main stage, try and get your tent pitched on time and go see Conor Adams and Lar Kaye.

- Main stage, Friday 5pm