Los Campesinos!, Bloc Party, Martha Wainwright, Shirley Bassey, The Who - GIITTV@Glastonbury 2007
Kev Eddy 16/07/2007
Guilty Pleasures with the Tor Dogs and guests (10.45am, Jazzworld)
It's Friday morning. It's wet. It's cold. It's muddy. But there is pear cider, and something called Guilty Pleasures. If you're not familiar with the concept, it's a club night based on really really cheesy tunes from our youth. Think Charles and Eddie. Think Belinda Carlisle. Now you're on target.
Well, it's here and it's live, with celebrity guests. Could be a recipe for disaster, but somehow turns into a strangely enjoyable karaoke singalong led by such luminaries as the Magic Numbers Ed Harcourt and Suggs. Great fun.
The Cribs (12.30pm, Other Stage)
Hey Scenesters! Observed from afar, through a queue for the portaloos, The Cribs are surprisingly vehement, giving their fairly innocuous guitar pop a snarling edge. Not amazing, but more fun than working out whether the smell of effluence is coming from the cows or the people.
Los Campesinos! (1.20pm, Park Stage)
And the most anticipated small band of the festival isâ€¦ even so, only a small crowd has gathered to witness the tweeXcore underground. And they don't disappoint. Familiar favourites like Don't Tell Me to do the Math(s) are enthusiastically performed along with several newer surprises. It's the tag-team conclusion of You! Me! Dancing! and Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks (including a barefoot stagedive by lead singer Gareth Campesinos!) which steals the show.
Bloc Party (18.15pm Pyramid Stage)
I don't know what it is, but I don't think Bloc Party work at Glastonbury. Their tightly-wound urban post-punk just doesn't seem to translate properly to the Somerset countryside. Mind you, even on an off-day they stand head and shoulders above most other bands, and you can't quibble with the quality of songs like Helicopter.
The Pipettes (12.15pm, Pyramid Stage)
Straw! There's straw on the ground! So this is where the Ł80,000 on 'extra drainage' has been spentâ€¦ I see your game, Eavis. Anyway, to music. The Pipettes kick off Saturday with their Spector-esque synchronised stylings. However, while it is a lot of fun while the sun shines, it becomes clear they've not toured for a wee while, as dance moves and harmonies run somewhat ragged. Fun, but could be better.
Brakes (12.40pm, Other Stage)
It feels a bit odd to be watching a band that was avowedly a side project play a stage much more prestigious than the band that spawned them. Still, once Brakes hit their stride, you can see why. Mixing humour, rage, melody and flying pineapples with equal measure, they get the blood pumping nicely. Dragging in Kate Jackson from the Long Blondes for a spirited rendition of Jackson helps matters along too.
The Long Blondes (1.40pm, Other Stage)
The Long Blondes are a conundrum to me. On record, they're one of the best British bands around at the moment, mixing a silky flair with dirty realism. However, live they're samey, reedy and disappointing. A shame.
Holy Fuck (3.00pm, John Peel Stage)
Memoriesâ€¦ returningâ€¦ shit, did I watch Hot Chip in here last night? Damn, they were good. That was yesterday, however, This is today and Holy Fuck live up to their name. Adding meat to a resolutely DFA Records-influenced skeleton, they create a visceral show that even strays close to freeform jazz at times. One to look out for.
CSS ( Other stage 3.30pm)
A much needed ray of sun admidst the relentless rain, CSS managed to put a smile on even the muddiest of faces. Dressed in multi-coloured, sequined lotard and with a cheeky smile sprawled across her face, lead singer Lovefoxxx had the crowd in raptures. Unlike the introverted, narcisstic musings that were to follow from a certain Mr Pete Doherty, CSS gave the crowd exactly what they needed. Throwing out bottled of bubbles into the bewildered audience all mud and rain was momentarily forgotten as a carnival- like atmosphere ensued botrh on and off the stage. Never letting the pace slacken CSS played hit after hit off their debut album. After taking a quick swif of helium from one of the many baloons decorating the stage Lovefoxx parted with a few squeaky words of wisdom before the anthemic "Lets Makr Love And Listen To Death From Above" chimed out across the water-logged fields of Pilton. Definetly one of the best looking bands around, and with the tunes and charm to match, CSS were one of the highlights of the weekend and, possible, the only band to usurp the real headliner- the mud.(Kirsten Banks)
Lily Allen (4.30pm, Pyramid Stage)
Yeah, Lily, what-everâ€¦ drawn here by a relative lack of otherwise interesting acts, I expect to be shuffling my feet. Or at least staring at my sinking boots. But I am caught unawares. Little Miss Pottymouth, it appears, is actually very, very good. She catches the mood of the crowd perfectly - after two days of trudging through various grades of gunge, we want some fun - and, with the aid of a couple of Special friends, makes everyone leave with a smile on their face.
DJ Scotch Egg (6pm, Dance G Stage)
Gameboys? Ooh, drums. Mmmm, white noise. Screaming Japanese lady? OW! MY EARS! Maybe another night.
Martha Wainwright (The Park Stage, 6.50pm)
Equipped with an acoustic guitar and a can of Red Stripe beer Martha Wainwright delivered a spine tinging set on Glastonbury's newest stage, The Park.Obviously in good spirits Martha Bantered freely with the crowd, playing an eclectic mix of old and new songs. Dedicating one to a friend who had commited suicide, Matha stopped mid-song to suggest that you all start "smoking pot." A spliff was promptly thrown on stage by a generous fan and received with thanks from a smiling Martha who quickly lit up. Joking and smoking aside though this was truly a special set. Martha's powerful voice and raw lyrics were hypnotic and every son was greeted with ear splitting applause. By the time the crowd pleasing "Bloody other fucking-Assshole" was played the Park was absolutely crowded as Martha made a hasty exit. However the day was not yet over for Wainwright fans as about thirty minutes later Martha was on stage once more. Singing a slightly shaky rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as Martha joined her brother amist his set on the Other stage. Leaving the stage to the sound of elated applause it can't be long now before Martha is playing the Other stage herself.(Kirsten Banks)
Paul Weller (7.30pm, Pyramid Stage)
Wow. Doesn't the Modfather look old? Unfortunately, that's about all that stands out from a set composed largely of insensate dadrock. Let it go, Paul. Let it go.
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly (10pm, John Peel Stage)
Thanks to a late-running Leftfield stage (and maybe one or two drinks) we stumble into Mr Duckworth's set about ten minutes after it starts. It's certainly okay - but after a sterling first few songs with a backing band, GCWCF's relative lack of material begins to show as filler after filler makes the crowd restless. It's almost a relief when he finishes.
Tiny Dancers (12.45pm, John Peel Stage)
By Sunday morning I'm normally well into the festival mood. Today, though, I'm pulling on mud-caked wellies wondering when we get to go home. Tiny Dancers make it somewhat better though. Despite - or because of - the fact they've obviously just found the singer face down somewhere, their chirpy Seventies psychedelia-cum-Beach Boys-cum-Bowie pastiche works well down on the farm. A welcome fist of fun.
Noisettes (1.45pm, John Peel Stage)
A good veggie sausage is hard to find. Cauldron Foods have got it about right, as have a couple of other rather flavoursome brands. However, not everywhere stocks Cauldron, so occasionally you have to go for Quorn - which are ok, but not quite as tasty and filling. The Noisettes are like Quorn sausages to me - I'll happily listen to them if I have to, but if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are available, I'll take the superior option like a shot, I'm afraid.
Mark Thomas (3.15pm, Leftfield Stage)
As has been said many times before, Mark Thomas straddles the line between investigative reporting and comedy. A risky tactic, but one he performs with such sheer indignation at the wrongs the PTB attempt to inflict, and such conviction (occasionally literally) that you can't help but empathise - and be motivated to make a change yourself.
Billy Bragg (4.25pm, Avalon Stage)
It's not a Glastonbury if you haven't seen Jools Holland, the Glastonbury Town Band or Billy Bragg. Well, since the former two are conspicuously absent this year, it's left to the king of acoustic punk to hold the fort. And hold the fort he does, alternating tenderness with wit to excellent effect. Young folkies take note - you don't need a band to make a big sound.
Shirley Bassey (5.20pm, Pyramid Stage)
It's like walking through glue at the heart of the festival. The mud, churned up by thousands upon thousand of feet, has begun to dry - and it exerts a vice-like grip on unwary gumboots. Dame Shirley doesn't care though - she's coming up, so we'd better get the party started! Yes, it's horrifically cheesy, and thoroughly surreal, but iconic tunes like Big Spender (twice) defy logic. Simply diamond, darling.
Manic Street Preachers (6.30pm, Pyramid Stage)
Wales continues its residency on the Pyramid with the return of the ultimate fallen angels. Leaner than in recent years, yet still betraying the onset of middle age, the Manics rip straight into a fan-pleasing You Love Us, followed by Motorcycle Emptiness and Yes. And it's like I'm 15 again. However, the Manics are - even now - defined by that conspicuous absence next to James Dean Bradfield. And, once they begin treading the post-Everything Must Go path, the magic evaporates. Once a great band - now an average band. Mourn their passing.
Dan le Sac vs Scrooobius Pip (8pm, Dance Lounge)
How did it come to this? Sharing tequila and Sprite with a pilled up new best friend. Must be back in the Dance Village. Still, it's a small yet enthusiastic crowd that greets the Best Beard in hip-hop, and it don't disappoint. Of course, chart-botherer Thou Shalt Always Kill receives the most rapturous reception, but Scroobs and Dan prove that they're more, much more than just a one-hit wonder.
The Who (10pm, Pyramid Stage)
Christ almighty. Have we nearly made it? All limbs, possessions and (nearly all) brains intact?
It appears so. It's still pissing down, mind, although by this point the rain's looking strangely beautiful in the spotlights. The Who are nowhere near strangely beautiful. Both Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend show the ravages of time and various substances -at least they're still alive though.
And don't they half show they're alive! While it seems ridiculous for a sixty-something man to be singing 'I hope I die before I get old', tonight it doesn't matter. The Who are headlining Glastonbury, and it's their moment. If anything, the years of experience work in their favour, as they work the gargantuan crowd with a magisterial presence younger bands just can't match.
Yes, it's cold. Yes, it's wet. Yes, it's overcrowded. Yes, we've spent all weekend trudging through more consistencies of mud than there are covers of Heart of Glass. Yes, we've bitched and moaned that it's not like it used to be, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it makes it different, and we don't know if we like it. The Who transcend all that though, and connect this new Glastonbury, the land of pre-registration and Mexican-style wraps with the Glastonbury of old through the strains of (Won't) Get Fooled Again, Let's Drink Some Tea, and Pinball Wizard.
It's moments like this that you realise what this unruly beast of a festival is all about - and why we love it.
Images taken from the BBC Glastonbury website Copyright.