Treetop Flyers- Long Cold Winter by Maludo
I had to work up to noon on Friday 24th June but an Aer Arran 3pm flight to Bristol and a coach journey to Pilton ensured I got to the mud bath by 7pm. The tent went up in time for Morrissey's fine set from the Pyramid Stage at 8pm. I confess to never being a big Smiths fan but tunes like 'Meat is Murder' and 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out' were amazing to hear. After a trip to the Hot Spiced Cider bar it was time for a greatest hits gig from U2. Normally you'd have to listen to a few crap tunes from the new album before getting to the beefy hits but U2 went straight to honouring Achtung Baby the album they recorded 20 years ago in Berlin. While not a vintage show it was all about the music and U2 played the best set for the occasion.
My home for the weekend was stuck between The Pyramid Stage and The John Peel Stage and Saturday began with two bands in the John Peel Stage. Jersey's 'Brave Yesterday' made nice indie rock tunes but they have a seriously good drummer. The drumbeats were irregular and constantly fluid during the tracks and the drummer was highly entertaining by himself.
Paper Tigers by Brave Yesterday
I think it's always difficult when a band like 'Fight Like Apes' are given an introduction where they are called the liveliest most entertaining band on the scene or something like it. Instead of winning over the crowd they had to make sure they didn't lose the sizable crowd who beat their way through the midday mud to get to the band. To be fair I was entertained by their stage antics and there's no denying MayKay's superstar-like qualities.
I headed off to one of the bands I was excited about seeing and it was The Twilight Singers. Greg Duli is in my top 10 all time favourite songwriters and I love the sound from The Twilight Singers. Unfortuneately the biggest cheer from the crowd happened when the sun appeared from behind the crowds and the old naked dude decided to stand next to creating ample photo opportunities for a young crowd waiting for Greg Duli to stop singing and for Jessie J to appear.
After a few miles walking around the vast site I decided the winner of the 3PM 'Battle of the Girls' between Rumor on the Pyramid, Jessie J on the Other stage and Anna Calvi in The John peel tent would be miss Calvi. It's all them bloody Jeff Buckley comparisons which got me curious. When Anna does her guitar solos it is massively impressive and entertaining however the songs have a tendency to drag slightly. The accompanying drummer and multi-instrumentalist instills much life into Anna's performance but I could sense her nerves playing to a packed tent.
After a rest spot back at the tent it was off to see the first half Aloe Blacc on the West Holts stage and wow what a performer. I knew of him a few years ago when I came across his song 'I'm Beautiful' which is a highly inspirational song. Things have moved on from there and his success isn't a surprise.
Next to The Field of Avalon and Newton Faulkner. I know Newton is seen as being yesterday's star but the man has huge talents even if he doesn't pay PR to tell you how good they are. His one man show without the use of pedals or backing tracks was so inspirational. At one point he is singing, playing guitar, kicking a bass drum, playing bass like sounds on a keyboard with his other foot and includes violin playing on cassette into a microphone. The biggest cheer was for the cassette. Popular songs like 'I Need Something', 'Gone in the Morning' and 'Dream Catch Me' became major sing-songs along with the covers he has perfected which are Massive Attacks' Teardrop and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.
Back to the nearby West Holts stage to find out what's special about Janelle Monae. The performances and the choreography of the Janelle Monae's experience put the songs and music into the background. Janelle's vocals are an aural pleasure!
My venture up the hill brought me to Scotland's finest 80's pop band
There was a general consensus that the Sunday line-up didn't compare favourably to the Friday and Saturday line-ups. I first catch Beth Rowley in the Avalon cafe which was pretty good. Beth has a wonderful voice and it was a shame she got a bad deal with a few sets in obscure settings over the weekend. I then catch a few songs from Jamie Woon on the 'West Holts' stage and I was impressed with the relaxed tunes and superb vocals.
Find of the week for me was Kitty, Daisy & Lewis in the Avalon tent. Their energy, musicianship and songs blew me away in the midday heat and are a band I'm definitely going to go see again and to download their album.
Of course Kitty, Daisy & Lewis were just the support for The Wombles and it was a joy to watch and observe!
There's no better legend to get to do the Sunday afternoon sing-song than Paul Simon and his highly talented band. Of course I'm the idiot you see leave the area when it looks like the set is finished and there's no way there's an encore .... he isn't going to come back on to play 'You Can Call me Al' ....which of course he does. I decided to go over to TV on the Radio on the other stage. It was great to see them live but it didn't register high in my internal ranking system. I was confused by The Ghostbusters cover! Moving on meant taking a break before running up that hill to see Imelda May in the Acoustic Tent. I must say I walked through the Pendulum crowd to get to the Acoustic Tent and I didn't get what that band are about.
Imelda May was such a great entertainer. She controlled that band which in turn controlled the crowd and she had the charm, the vocals and the looks to pull off one great performance.
From the sublime of Imelda May to finish with the ridiculous in Queens of the Stone Age before I head back to the tent to check on my foot blisters.
Observations: There are three broad groups of Glastonbury goer. On the one hand there's the bohemian, free thinking hippy side with it's wonderful arty areas and stages. Polar opposite to this are the people who use Glastonbury as their once a year music re-fueling and stick to the Pyramid and Other stages. These people are likely to bring their camping chairs to a good viewing spot for Coldplay seven hours before they go onstage. The third group are the Guardian readers somewhere in between the hippys and the regular Joe Soaps. They are probably too middle class to be considered a hippy and too bohemian to consider lounging in the Sun with a beer while reading The Sun! Glastonbury brings all 175 thousand of them together for five days of fun and it works [except the loos]!
Best Glastonbury Moment: Newton Faulkner and a few thousand of his fans in the Avalon Stage;
Would I go back? Hell yeah!