22nd Feb 2013
I know I said we had made our last post, but I figured it would be better to have this article published somewhere, where people can read it, rather than sitting on my computer. I wrote this as a freelance piece, which never got published at the time (apart from on Facebook, which I am no longer a member of – they were starting to know too much about me!). It is a review of Glastonbury 2010, which took place just before I started writing the first Music Junkie reviews. I guess it’s nice to end things where you started.
The Stranglers – Friday afternoon, Other Stage
The burning question before The Stranglers walked out on to the Other Stage on Friday was ‘have they still got it?’ Ageing bands playing questionable shows are never a pleasant experience after all. However, the answer, much to everyone’s delight was a great big yes. Their set was brilliantly performed, containing a bag of hits (such as ‘Golden Brown’, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Walk On By’) that reminded the crowd just how many great tunes The Stranglers have churned out over the course of their back catalogue. As one of the first main bands to play the Other Stage, this was a perfect way of kicking things off and getting the crowd into the festival vibe. 4/5
Bombay Bicycle Club – Friday Afternoon, John Peel Stage
While a new acoustic based album is on the cards for the Crouch End indie rockers, the majority of the tunes for this show were taken from 2009’s ‘I Had The Blues
But I Shook Them Loose’. This resulted in a dynamic performance containing key songs such as opener ‘Magnet’ and quiet/loud anthem ‘Lamplight’. The unexpected highlight came at the end of the show, when they invited a samba band to join them onstage for closer ‘Always Like This’, which got the crowd moving even more than that had been already, in defiance of the heat in the packed and sweaty John Peel stage. Excellent Stuff. 4/5
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood – Friday Evening, The Park
We were all told to expect surprises at this years Glastonbury festival, but no-one could have predicted something quite this special. After an introduction from Mr Eavis, Thom kicked off a selection of four songs of his solo album with title track, ‘The Eraser’. Naturally the crowd went wild, but when he was joined onstage by Jonny Greenwood to perform the last of these solo tracks, the excitement went to a new level, as the possibility of the two of them performing Radiohead songs was opened up.
As the sun went down over Glastonbury, the remaining five (Radiohead) songs were performed in a stripped down/acoustic style, causing an atmosphere that was both mesmerising an intoxicating. Hearing stripped sown versions of ‘Wierd Fishes/Arpeggi’ and ‘Idioteque’ was truly special and ‘Pyramid Song’ provided several minutes of pure haunting bliss. The real highlight was the last two classic Radiohead tracks, ‘Karma Police’ and ‘Street Spirit’, which got the whole crowd singing along (and continuing to sing some time after the show ended). This was a unique experience to say the least, providing one of the most memorable moments of the 2010 Glastonbury Festival. This is something that will still be talked about for years to come. 5/5
Gorillaz - Friday Night Headliners, Main Stage
Standing in as a last minute replacement was always going to make hard to please everyone, especially while under the scrutiny of disappointed U2 fans. However Gorillaz managed to pull it off with a stunning multimedia performance, comprising a vast swathe of artists, including the Clash’s Paul Simonon and Mick Jones, a full orchestra and a selection of backing singers, alongside superb videos and visuals. They were joined at various points by star appearances from Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Shaun Ryder, De La Soul, Bobby Womack, Mark E Smith and others. The performance was breathtaking, with the live instrumentation really bringing the songs to life.
The set was based heavily around acclaimed new album, Plastic Beach, along with a vast chunk from songs off Demon Days, and a single track from the slightly less acclaimed debut album. Consequently, a few audience members may have felt left behind at times by the amount unfamiliar material, particularly during more serious moments, such as a darkly powerful rendition of ‘Cloud of Unknowing’. However a good dispersing of hits (including ‘Stylo’, ‘On Melancholy Hill’and ‘Dirty Harry’) kept the crowd dancing. The only downer came when Damon unwisely chose an obscure song, ‘Pirate Jet’, to try and get a sing-along going (next time pick one where we actually have a chance of remembering the words!). One or two additional tracks off the first album, such as 19-200 or 5/4, might have worked better in its place. Thankfully, this was soon corrected with a rather moving tribute to Dennis Hopper, before a double whammy of Feel Good Inc and Clint Eastwood. 4/5
Field Music – Saturday Afternoon, John Peel Stage
Despite years of great critical acclaim, Field Music have never quite managed to achieve the widespread success to go with it. Once you stray from their large local following in the North East, their fans (despite being diehard) are often few and far between. This was reflected in the modest sized crowd they attracted at the John Peel Stage. It is the off kilter feel of their work, with its complex arrangements, that makes them simultaneously so brilliant and so hard to get to grips with on a first listen.
After some technical hitches at the start, they soon got into their stride (with the usual rotating turns to take the lead between brothers Peter and David Brewis). Key songs ‘Something Familiar, ‘Rockist’ and ‘Them That Do Nothing’ drew rapturous applause from enthusiastic onlookers. A rocked up version of ‘Let’s Write a Book’ provided the most captivating moment, developing the track from the version heard on recent double album ‘Measure’. Hopefully they will soon manage to achieve to widespread recognition they deserve. 4/5
Devendra Banhart – Saturday Afternoon, West Holts Stage
One of the big surprises of this festival was the recent image change undertaken by Devendra Banhart. His previous minimal folk sound and hippyish appearance have given way to the increasingly rock and roll leanings of the last few albums and a hipster dress sense. Jumping about energetically onstage with his band, The Grogs, Devendra managed to get the crowd excited with tunes including ‘Long Haired Child’ and ‘16th and Valencia Roxy Music’. A tongue in cheek rendition of Taylor Dayne’s ‘Tell It To My Heart’ was also well received, though the greatest element of the show was the back to back playing of Doors/Zeppelin-esque epics ‘Rats’ and ‘Sea Horse’. Standout song ‘I feel just like a child’ provided a great close to the set. 5/5
Foals – Saturday Evening, John Peel Stage
Being hotly tipped as a must see, after the release of their recent album ‘Total Life Forever’, caused a busy and eager crowd to squeeze itself into the John Peel tent. The title track of said album kicked off a set containing new tracks such as ‘Miami’ alongside older fan favourites, including ‘Cassius’. There appeared to be a few issues with sound levels on some songs at the start, but these were soon corrected, allowing the show to gather pace, in front of an enthusiastic audience. A truly stunning performance of ‘Spanish Sahara’ put the seal of quality on the show as a whole, while ‘Two Steps Twice’ provided a fitting ender for the Oxfordshire 5-piece. 4/5
Muse – Saturday Night Headliners, Main Stage
‘Epic’, ‘massive’ and ‘awe-inspiring’ are words that spring to mind when seeing Muse live. Thankfully their headline Glastonbury slot provided all of these in generous measure. Even fans disappointed by their recent album, ‘The Resistance’, must have found it hard not to be blown away by the opening performance of ‘Uprising’. Conversely ‘Guiding Light’ provided a rather dull new-track moment. Stellar performances of ‘Hysteria’, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and ‘Plug In Baby’ stole a show littered with energetic, improvised rock-outs between songs. A guest appearance of The Edge, to perform a cover of U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ was a nice touch, even for U2 haters. It was a shame that they included no songs off debut album ‘Showbiz’ for longer term fans, but you can’t please everyone. ‘Knights of Cydonia’ brought things to a climactic finish. 4/5
Grizzly Bear – Sunday Afternoon, Other Stage
The Broklyn-based experimental rockers provided an atmospheric of refuge for tired festival goers on the final afternoon of live music at Glastonbury 2010. Impressive vocal harmonies bolstered strong performances of ‘Cheerleader’ and ‘Two Weeks’, providing a welcome retreat from the world cup thrashing that was taking place elsewhere in the festival. Some members of the audience stood-up, in full captivated attention, while others lay in a dream-like state as the warmth of the tunes washed over them. This was a very satisfying performance to watch and provided the perfect moment of calm before the hedonism of the final night of parties. 4/5.
LCD Soundsystem - Sunday Evening, Other Stage
With the release of their latest (strong but not brilliant) effort ‘This Is Happening’, LCD announced that it would be their final album, raising the possibility that this might be one of the last chances to see them live. While this was a solid and entertaining show, it was not one of their best by any means, though ‘All My Friends’ and ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ were hugely impressive performances. The show ended with an extended playing of ‘Yeah’, which saw everyone in the crowd put on their dancing feet. A couple of key songs, such as ‘North American Scum’ and ‘Someone Great’ were noticeable missing from the set however. 3/5.
Orbital – Sunday Night Headliners, Other Stage
The final evening at this years Glastonbury saw a superb performance by the electronic music veterans. It did not take them long to win over the crowd and get them and dancing enthusiastically to a set list comprised of a surprising amount well known classics (that you might not have realised were by Orbital). The vintage dance/sci-fi feel of the songs was accompanied by fitting visuals and a laser show. The most memorable moments included the whole crowd moving to the brilliant ‘Halycon And On And On’, a ferocious drum and bass ending to ‘Satan’, and an appearance by Doctor Who star Matt Smith, to introduce Orbital’s mix of the shows’ theme tune. 4/5.
Brass Roots – Early Hours of Monday Morning, Club Dada
Shargri-La, Arcadia and Block 9 provide Glastonbury’s essential late night hedonistic party experience. On Sunday night the area was still particularly full of festival goers enjoying messy intoxication through soft-focus revelry. It was by stumbling through this corner of the festival, by night, that a treat could be found at Club Dada. Brass Roots, an eight piece brass band from London, took us through a selection of cheeky and upbeat cover versions of various classics, including ‘Hey Ya’, ‘Ring Of Fire’, ‘Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This’ and ‘Karma Police’. The crowd responded with a great deal of cheering and dancing, providing a fun and unexpected element to the final night of the Glastonbury celebrations. 4/5.
Music Junkie UK