Friday, July 11, 2008

Glastonbury 2008 - Saturday

Day 4: Saturday! Non Stop Music Action

Knitted house

Once again I head off on my own in the morning to catch Shakin’ Stevens kicking the day off.

Shakin’ Stevens

Good set, although when he said he was going to do some songs off his new album there was a groan and someone yelled “No!”, a bit mean! Also someone in the crowd had made a large Green Door and was holding it up the whole set, but he never sang it! I was more disturbed by the chap in front of me who apparently had a transparent skull!

I can see your brain, mate

Shakin’ done, I pegged it down to John Peel for Emmy the Great who is very very lovely.

“What are you doing here?”, she asked, “You should be at Martha Wainwright on Pyramid!”. She worked her way through several songs including the divine Gabriel, also explaining that this is the first time that she’s played without her ex-boyfriend’s band. Ah ha, single, eh?

After Emmy, it was back to Other Stage for Los Campesinos, another Introducing band who have taken off. In fact, lots of the headline acts here started out with Radio 1 Introducing – I know it’s only a smallish proportion which go big, but generally the bands that Hue Stephens raves about seem to do very well. Perhaps because he raves about them… oh well.

Los Campesinos means “The countryside folk” in Spanish, a cute name for a band that are all from about 20 miles of Glasto in various directions. Good local Somerset boys.

Unfortunately I’d made the assumption that the boys would get down here in time for this 12:40pm act, so had purchased a four strip of beer. Of course they hadn’t. Ah well!

Ale, enough for this set at least

Happy people in sunshine

Interestingly, the drummer had a remarkable resemblance to Mike Sowa, who appeared shortly after they went off stage. I think we should be told!


Up to Park, where I caught Laurel Collective on Introducing Stage

Afterwards, there was a mystery guest, though slightly disappointingly for me it was Get Cape again! Well, he’s good, but I’ve already seen him (although not two metres away I suppose).

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Before Team Waterpolo and then Alphabeat on the Park Stage (they seemed to be running quite late, hence catching Waterpolo).

Alphabeat are a cute Scandinavian band, unashamedly loving pop, and the main reason I was up here! Clashing with Crowded House though, sob.

After Alphabeat and some tasty nachos, I watched Picture Books in Winter on Introducing. Incidentally, the reason I don’t talk more about what all this music was like is that I’m awful at describing music.. it was progressive funky retro house upbeat vibe-laden rock with a punky edge?! I just don’t have the vocabulary. Suffice it to say that if I mention it, it was good and I recommend it to you. There was no such thing as bad music at Glasto as far as I could tell, and if there was, I wouldn’t have hung around to listen to it, there’s too much good stuff going to waste as it is!

Down the hill to some Tom-tipped bands. Incidentally it was great having Tom and Lisa along, firstly they were very lovely people, but also really knew their music. I’m a bit out of touch, having been travelling for the last two years almost. I’ve got some great Ethiopian and Easter Island tunes, but as for British indie.. I’m a bit rusty. Anyway, The Courteeners were on at John Peel.

I could see the flag near the front but there was no way I could reach it. I’m not good at doing the “barging through crowds” thing.

Round to Pyramid for a bit of the Raconteurs

Not the best view

Flags ahoy

Then I followed the “ladies” round to Duffy at Other.

By now my back was killing me – there’s an awful lot of standing around at Glasto, so given the now glorious sunshine, it was time for a brief lie down whilst being serenaded with my “local” song, Warwick Avenue (my local tube station!).


A Knee View

No rest for the wicked though, I had to get in position for the evening set. So, I’d decided to do Pyramid for the whole evening. This meant Manu Chao, Amy Winehouse then Jay Z. This also meant.. sigh.. missing Massive Attack. Life is cruel. Anyway, the benefit to my plan was that we’d worked out that there was a small area in front of the Pyramid stage protected by a crowd-surge buffer, with small entrances at the sides. If you were inside this area, it was surprisingly spacious, no matter how many people were in the main field behind you. And no shoving up. I manoeuvred myself in plenty before Manu Chao came on. Amy would surely be packed, so this was the time to get in.

Looking back at the crowd!

Manu Chao I came to know in Peru. For some reason they’re bonkers about him in South America. He plays poppy reggae, all upbeat with generally quite silly lyrics, in a variety of languages, often Spanish (though I think he’s actually French?).

Next up.. Amy Winehouse. I have to confess when I came back from my travels, I’d heard the name so many times, but didn’t know the music. She was in the news so often, how could one escape her? Anyway, I was not disappointed with the music, though one has to wonder how much longer she’ll carry on for, burning the candle at both ends as she does.

On stage she was funny, but a bit wobbly. One wasn’t sure what she’d do next, from using rather unpleasant language about Kanye West, to telling us that her husband was coming out of jail in two weeks and when some people boo’ed, threatening to call their mothers and complain about manners. It was rock and roll, and most enjoyable. Her singing was fabulous, and the backing singer dancer chaps, my goodness they had some moves. How do you dance like that in a suit? I need to practice at home in front of a mirror!

Towards the end of her set she proceeded to climb down to the audience and walk along singing and touching.

One could see the security people fretting about this, and sure enough, someone apparently tried to grope her, at which point she started punching and elbowing until pulled away. End of set!! Rock and roll, man!!!

Next up, the most controversial act at Glastonbury in years… Jay Z

The focus of the fuss had been remarks from Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, something along the lines of “Jay-Z? At Glastonbury? No f*cking way, I won’t have it.” So how did Jay-Z handle this? After the large video screens played the video clip of Noel making these comments, mashed up with all sorts of other video shorts implying that Jay-Z wasn’t welcome, he swaggers on stage with a guitar, grinning, and plays Wonderwall, with 150,000 people singing along. Fantastic!!!

He then launched into a set apparently programmed to be relatively easy to get into, for those non-R&B types like me, with most songs starting with a sample of someone else, like Punjabi MC, or Rihanna’s Umbrella song, then he’d start rapping. He got a bit political for me, with lots of Bush bashing (yawn), but otherwise it was good. I think he himself was impressed when he cut the music to one of his songs and the crowd kept singing it for two clear verses! I of course had no idea what the words were.

I suppose part of it was him trying to prove himself, and hence no rumoured guests came up to perform with him, but it also did seem like he was genuinely surprised at the massive positive reaction he received from the crowd. I was proud, and enjoyed the whole show. I won’t be rushing out to buy his CDs though, haha!

The headline over, I was swept with the crowd towards John Peel, looped round up to Dance Village and by lucky chance caught the end of the Kosheen set, including the beautiful All in My Head.


Meeting the peeps at the Pussy Parlour, we headed over to Trash City where we caught a bizarre performance involving naked ladies and snakes in Drag Strip. Whereas Tom and Lisa were in charge during the day, Sarah and Pete were the stewards of the night! Sarah somehow got us past most of the huge queue for the gay bar – you get a stick-on moustache as you go in. All good and fun, especially with her setting me up with someone who we subsequently lost! The thing that bothered me is that I’d have to dance with about three random men every time I’d head to the bar. It’s simply not cricket! Later we headed over to Shangri La for Basslines and Tilted Disco till dawn, baby..

Shangri La

Basslines for breakfast

There’s something mad about queuing in broad daylight..

What’s going on just in front of Pete

This is the way it’s supposed to be, party on!!

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