The freshly converted are always the worst. Born again Christians, ex smokers, and in my case, those who never showed much interest in going to Glastonbury but now – courtesy of a ticket from the very kind organisers of the Emerging Talent competition - stand transformed into a grade A #glasto bore.
While theres clearly some truth in the charge that over 40 years the festival has become more commercial, less edgy and enevitably at £195 pounds a ticket overrun by the middle classes. I can only judge it through my own first timers eyes, and on that basis, it was like somekind of musical wet dream.
A typical evening begins with Jarvis and the newly reformed Pulp revisiting the festival that made their name back in ’95. After that a short hop up the hill to The Crows Nest cafe where The Master Musicians of Joujouka are winding up a bewitching set, before the new queen of country Caitlin Rose takes to, what just about qualifys as a stage. A crowd of about 30 lap it up while sipping their herbal tea.
Leaving the nest, the walk down to the main site is accompanied by a sky alight with lazers from the Chemical Brothers. Their music booms out, but over on the West Holt, Big Boi from Outkast has the crowd bouncing to the catchiest riff of last year, “Shutterbug”. He ends with a triumphant “London, thank you, you’re the best“.
And thats just a few hours of music, as the cliche goes, Glastonbury is about much more than that.
Most of the first day involved getting there, finding a muddy swamp on which to pitch and then cycling through a series of perplexed facial expressions while working out which pole goes where. Its never ideal to be on your own in these situations as throwing the tent pegs on the floor and storming off in a huff is much less rewarding when on your return, someone else hasnt put the tent up for you.
Earlier in the year 40 bloggers were chosen to judge new bands applying for a coveted “Emerging Talent” slot at the festival, and a few left their computers behind for the weekend to attend.
Robin from the Breaking More Waves blog had the foresight and a twitter account to summon a handful for a meetup in the Park bar. Remarkably the people behind Just Music That I Like, Flying With Anna, Hot Cakes, and This Music Wins were charming, friendly, knowledgable about a wide range of musical styles and in many cases claimed to hold down jobs, relationships, and children (well not hold down children, but you know what I mean).
The conversation naturally focused on things like how long your blog had been going, music you like, the story behind your name, and of course a few mildly competitive when did you first hear X band. Take Caitlin Rose, one by one those who’d seen her recounted the ever increasingly tiny and obscure places they’d first seen her play.
At this point – realising I hadnt seen her at all yet – I panicked and claimed to have introduced her parents… but I think I got away with it.
Later @BMWaves and myself headed to Croissant Neuf (who said Glasto was middle class!) to catch Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer. Its been five years since Mr.B arrived delivering Banjolele led Hip-Hop history lessons for those that say Scone, not Scon but given that “Chap-Hop History” still cracks me up I was eager to see him live.
The set was packed with cricket inspired takes on Hip Hop, “Let Me Clear My Throat“, becomes “Let Me Smoke My Pipe“, followed by “Straight Outta Surrey” and “Timothy” an ode to fellow posh boy hip hopper Tim The Big Dawg Westwood. I loved it initially and many people struggled to get in so packed was the tent but after about half an hour the joke started to wear a bit thin for me. I departed to research the relationship between sleep and the ability to remember to pack a blow up mattress.
Download Mr B’s DJ Mix featuring George Formby, Brass Bands, and Spank Rock here.
The day began with a few bands at the BBC Introducing tent, the pick of which were Brighton’s Twin Brother. They were selected for the Emerging Talent finals by This Music Wins, but despite missing out made it to the festival and delivered a very confident performance. Stand out track “Lungs” certainly wears its Strokes influence with pride.
Placing them in his top 3, Peter described their songs as “intensely catchy and well thought out, but retain that youthful spontaneity and feeling of being thrown together at the last moment which keeps them unfailingly fresh”.
After lunch I squelched off to the Common Area, home of Mexican wrestlers and the Ken Fox Troupe of daredevil wall of death riders. This has to be one of the most incredible things I saw all weekend, even though I assume this kind of show has been around pretty much since someone first strapped a motor to a push bike I was gobsmacked. Watch the video here or here but neither quiet conveys the excitement as they perform trick after trick whizzing round an 18ft cylindrical wall about an inch from your nose… look no hands, not impressed how about no hands and facing the wrong way, ok what about three bikes at the same time. The only time the performers seemed nervous was when coins were flung down from above in appreciation at the end of the show.
As the rain begins the full compliment of surviving Wu Tang Clan members emerge telling the crowd exactly what they don’t like about the UK. No, not the rain… Customs! Apparently – and Im paraphrasing – the mother fuckers treated them like the fucking Taliban and almost sent them back.
I’m not convinced Glastonbury goers are ever going to be the most enthusiastic hip-hop crowd but Method Man asked for ”some motherfucking noise” and largly got it, along with lots and lots of “W’s” held in the air (pictured).
Dressed in an oversized dressing gown Method Man led the clan through a 40 minute set, that inevitably peaked the moment the crowd were asked to check out their gravel pit.
Well worth seeing in the rain even if when Method Man implored “Who in the crowd loves real authentic hiphop?” the response was half enthusiasm and half confusion… authentic??? Do you mean Eminem or Will I Am?
Wu Tang vs. Beatles – Slang Editorial by Polonium210
Download “Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers” Wu-Tang Vs The Beatles here
Blues legend BB King came on next or rather he did after 20 minutes warm up and solos from his band. Looking very frail but still with a fine voice and guitar skills, I’d love to enthuse about what many have declared one of the best shows this year, but stupidly I wasn’t massively impressed by the opening 30 minutes and buggered off.
If I manage to make it to 85 it might take me a little while to warm up, so i’m disappointed I missed what the Guardian reported as King’s “imposing, regal presence”.
The photo above shows the crowd waiting for the days “secret” guests on the Park stage, Radiohead. Well before Thom and the boys arrived the Park had to be closed off due to overcrowding. Mick Jones reformed Big Audio Dynamite were the happy beneficiaries of the massed early arrivers as they welcomed a much bigger crowd than they surely must have expected. From my soggy vantage point high on the hill they held the attention of an impatient crowd with their mix of punk rock, dance, hip hop, reggae, and funk…
“Thanks for coming! We’re called Radiohead”
Which is more than can be said for Radiohead. In some ways I admire the band for refusing to play the kind of hit filled singalong set that Glastonbury cried out for, especially a crowd who’ve stood dripping in torrential rain for several hours. Excellent though their last two albums were, playing almost exclusively from them felt needlessly self indulgent. By the time Street Spirit arrived during the encore, many had opted for drier tents with bands more willing to pander to the occasion.
Radiohead wouldnt let the Beeb film their set but AustinBrock has cut together the complete performance in youtube clips to watch.
The limited edition “King Of Limbs” Remix 12″s have been superb so far with Caribou’s version in particular hopefully being the first shot in a campaign for more harp action in modern music. Mark Pritchards electro-floorfilling take on Bloom is also rather tasty.
RADIOHEAD – Little by Little (CARIBOU Remix) (2011) by cossetgaleria
Radiohead – Bloom (Mark Pritchard RMX) by Radiohead
Radiohead – Street spirit (fade out) Blunt Instrument Dubstep remix by bluntinstrument
I’d come to the park to see the side project of Alexis from Hot Chip, and Grosvenor, the chosen name Bang and Olufsen probably indicates this is strictly a never for release hobby. Having seen them play once before I expected a crowd in the tiny Crow’s Nest up on the top of the Park Hill but no half a dozen people were mooching around sipping herbal tea. Another bunch sheltered from the rain while attempting to catch the end of Mssrs Yorke and co.
Playing a upright piano Alexis from Hot Chip performed some tracks from his solo album along with Bang and Olufsen originals. It was one of the highlights of the whole festival, with covers of Roy Orbison’s Love Hurts and a incredible version of McCartney’s Let Me Roll It being the best of a lovely set. When you’re playing with someone with a voice as beautiful as Alex Hot Chip then it must put some pressure on you but Grosvenor’s guitar licks on Let Me Roll It were phenomenal. The only sad thing is I cant find a single second of audio or video of the performance (or indeed any other) online. Brilliant.
Alexis Taylor – “Coming Up” (MP3)
“Let Me Roll It”
U2 on the Pyramid, gave up to go watch the stunning Primal Scream on the Other stage.
But its a good excuse to post Negitivland’s U2 remix (above) and the two tracks featuring U2 samples and Casey Kasem that incurred the wrath of Island/U2′s legal team.
Poked my head in the East Dance to hear a bit of Fatboy Slim before bed.
Peel Stage at midday: Fight Like Apes, then Yuck
Catch Fujiya and Miyagi (Live) at Oxlyers In West 1pm
Nicolas Jaar LIVE 13:45 West Holts
Isobel Anderson 15:00 Acoustic
including a mesmerising version of Portishead’s “Glory Box”
20,000 people standing in a field, was in fact guestimated at over 30,000
Pulp – “This Is Hardcore (End Of The Line Remix)”
Caitlin Rose (pictured) in the Crows Nest
The Chemical Brothers 22:30 Other Stage
Big Boi 22:45 West Holts
Midday Cassetteboy + Dj Rubbish – G Stage
Plan B 18:15 Pyramid
Pendulum 19:45 Pyramid (endured this for a ringside position for Jay Z’s mrs)