Not exactly full of hot takes here, just bang-on dependable acts, from alt-rock to full-on techno, life-affirming hip-hop, politically-engaged electronics and industrial ultraviolence.
Death Grips (Rankin’s Wood, Sunday, 9-10pm)
California trio Death Grips are one of the most notorious underground acts of the last 10 years — a visceral pile-up of hip-hop, industrial, noise, hardcore and nihilist performance art.
Their last Irish show at the Academy was a fully-strobed riot of intensity, with MC Ride’s neck vein about to pop, and drummer Zach Hill and electronics  Andy Morin battering us into next week.
Frazzled new album Year of the Snitch pushes even more boundaries, and this hour-long slot will also feature their regular noise petrol bombs such as I’ve Seen Footage, Double Helix and their breakthrough YouTube hit Guillotine.
Sleaford Mods (Cosby Tent, Sunday, 11pm-midnight)
Nottingham post-punk duo Sleaford Mods are one of the most prominent acts to break out of the cult circuit in the last few years. Over minimalist bass a drum loops by producer Andrew Fearn, Jason Williamson rants in a manic Midlands accent about austerity Britain squalor, division, working class struggles and on the bullseye shots at authority figures. Williamson is also one of the most magnetic live performers out there, a ball of sweat, tics and hilarious ad-libs.
Kendrick Lamar (Main Stage, Friday, 10-40-midnight)
A lot has happened since rapper Kendrick Lamar played Dublin’s Vicar Street in 2013 – one of the ‘had to be there’ Irish gigs of the last few years. With his albums Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN., the Compton MC has managed to become an arena-filling festival-headlining hip-hop star while elevating the artform to the levels of winning a Pulitzer Prize.
Nina Kraviz (Rankin’s Wood, Saturday, 11pm-12.30am)
Russian DJ Nina Kraviz playing hardcore at 9am in a Serbian fortress as the finale of EXIT festival has to be a personal highlight of the summer — and don’t expect her to go any easier on Irish audiences. Expect full-on techno, industrial and some trademark flamboyant dancing in the peak-time Saturday night slot.
Massive Attack (Main Stage, Saturday, 12.15-1.30am)
Massive Attack’s audio-visual display could well be the most stunning of the weekend – with their dense, dubby trip-hop beats lifted by constantly-updating politically-engaging imagery and artwork. Always an intensely introspective listen on record, their live show will root you to the spot.
The Prodigy (Main Stage, Sunday, 10.30-midnight)
UK rave crew The Prodigy will never shock like they used to in the late 80s and early 90s, but it’ll be a hell of a Main Stage jolt of energy when energy is flagging on the Sunday night. Later tracks like Take Me To the Hospital and Nasty are a bit try-hard, but earlier electronic punk cuts like Their Law and Firestarter, and hardcore classics like No Good (Start the Dance) and Everybody in the Place haven’t lost a bit of venom.
St Vincent (Electric Arena, Sunday, 9-10.15pm)
Annie Clark goes beyond the art-rock tage for her whole career to be a work of performance art – culminating in her latest audio-visual cinematic presentation of her album The Masseduction of Annie Clark. With the avant-garde chops of any guitar maestro but a wry pop sensibility, Clark is one of the most singular artists on the Picnic bill.
King Krule Rankin’s Wood, Saturday, 9.30-10.30pm
Billed as a “UK and Ireland exclusive”, King Krule aka Londoner Archy Marshall takes his outer-limits jazz-punk/trip-hop to the Picnic, for one of the most nervy shows of the weekend. Armed with a guitar on off-centre minimalist strums, he drawl-raps his way through skronky jazz passages, lo-fi punk and electronic drones to get lost in.
Bitch Falcon (Body & Soul, Friday, 1.15-2.15am/Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow, Sunday, 8.10-8.55pm)
Dublin trio Bitch Falcon were the loudest band at this year’s industry showcase Eurosonic in the Dutch city of Groningen , and they’re one of the most thrilling live bands in Dublin at the minute. On record, they go with a grunge/noise-rock racket, but stick them on a stage and it gets even sludgier and dense, hitting Melvins levels of heaviness – without losing any of their genuine hooks.
Kojaque (Other Voices, Saturday, 11.50pm-12.40am)
Kevin Smith aka Dublin rapper Kojaque has one of the best Irish releases of the year in DELI DAYDREAMS, a mini-album based around the life of a deli counter worker, that one constant of mundane Irish life that transcends all cultural divides. Like fellow Dublin MC Mango, he has a gift for elevating the the everyday into engaging surrealism, and his minor key electronic productions add extra heft.