Saturday, July 04, 2009

Glastonbury 2009 - Saturday

Glastonbury Day 2
Another slow start thanks to group slackness at getting ready in the morning, and it is only thanks to us approaching from the back of the Jazz World field that we got in to see the wonderful Rolf Harris. There has been much debate on the internet recently, with youngsters asking what the fuss is about. But if like me, you grew up with Rolf's Cartoon Club, you will be in awe of the man, something that has only grown with, for example, his appearance as chair on Have I Got News for You recently.

Rolf on JazzWorld

The 20,000 or so capacity field was jammed, and I later learned that large numbers of people approaching from the front could not get anywhere near the field. Another predictable jam - why was he not on Pyramid instead of Tinariwen? We set ourselves up near District 6 as he belted out Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Stairway to Heaven, Two Little Boys (which gave me a little shiver) and other classics.

Zero7 t-shirt. Check.

He did a rap bit, inviting on stage a chap called BB Manik. Cue this funny conversation:

Manik: When I say "Rolf", you say "Harris". Rolf?
Manik: Rolf?
Manik: When I say "BB", you say "Manik". BB?
Crowd: Who?
Manik: BB?
Crowd: Err...

Lewis is here

Near the end, Rolf said that he would do a British version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down. How on earth would this work? We speculated amongst ourselves - Tie Me Bulldog Down? Tie me Squirrel Down? No, Rolf surprised us by launching into Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport to the tune of Land and Hope and Glory!!!

Rolf was quoted afterwards as saying it's the best show he's ever done in his life. Awwww bless the lovely chap!

My cunning strategy was then to see the Lancashire Hotpots, a mere 100 yards or so away. Easy on the feet! We hung out before the set in the Avalon Cafe, which was sweltering, and not helped by being out of pies and so where I ordered a curry!

Avalon Cafe

Avalon Inn

Outside it was a bit cooler as the Hotpots came on. The lead chap's voice carries really well so despite them playing in the tent, we sat outside and could understand most of his funny lyrics. The only song of theirs I'd heard beforehand was Chippy Tea, which has marvellous lyrics such as "I don't want lobster thermidor with a raspberry coulis, I'm a working man from Lancashire and I wants a chippy tea!".

Avalon Stage

We were not disappointed with their other offerings, including a song describing how if you want to surf porn on your computer you need a firewall (with the chorus being "firewall, firewall" etc - also a line something like "now you've a worm on C, I told you about McAfee" and so on! Also a song about trying to make drinking an Olympic sport, one that the UK could excel at!

Headed off through the circus fields, which are filled with wacky random things going on whenever you pass through, day or night.

Tommy Coopers everywhere

Viking action in front of BrambleFM


No escaping the bagpipes

Amazingly given the huge crowd watching the rugby at the Meeting Point (very bad decision to show it there), I bumped into Hedge!

Hedge watching the rugby

His lack of shirt was to cost him dearly later, as he had to go back to the camper and missed 2 Many DJs. Silly silly boy! Anyway, I went up to the Red Flag to get a couple of beers and some cider for Hedge, then left him and headed back to catch someone I'd been in touch with before the fest - the Batwanan poet, Andreattah Chuma (Drea). We have mutual friends in Gabarone - small world, eh?

Andreatta Chuma was performing in the Poetry and Words tent, which sadly wasn't featured in the main festival guide, so I guess many were not aware of its presence, a shame given the fantastic line-up.

Andreattah Chuma, a poet from Botswana

After catching the end of the previous chap, I said hello to Drea just before she was called up on stage. She came on to cheers, then went through several of her poems, some of which were about her relationship with her words, and one about Botswana, which brought home lots of happy memories for me from my travels.

After it was time to head towards the Dance Village, where most of the rest of the day would be spent. There was a fantastic line-up, with La Roux, Deadmau5, Pete Tong, 2 Many DJs, and much more..

Passed some silly signs on the railway line:

Silly Signs Pt 1

Silly Signs Pt 2: Go Mental!

The railway line, or I should say "disused" railway line is a raised straight trackway running right across the Glasto valley. It's a great way of getting around, as there are no stalls or meandering types that you get on the other thoroughfares, so even if it's not the most direct way, it's usually worth using. I wonder when it was last a railway.. presumably pre-Beeching.

Pete Doherty was on the Other Stage, sounding okay, though I had read that he messed Glasto around, by cancelling, then reconfirming, then almost cancelling again. I thought for a minute that it was Kate Moss doing backing singing for him, but was perhaps mistaken.

Amazingly I managed to meet up with Tom and Lisa, who were sitting with friends on the grass at the back of Other. I say amazing as the mobile reception was making things really difficult - calls would never go through, and texts would take 4 hours at best to go through - hence a long sequence of "meet you at X place in 2 hours" messages that you receive the following morning. Not good! This was the only time I managed to meet Tom and Lisa, a shame as they're a lovely couple, and about to get married! Congratulations guys..

In the Dance Village, we positioned ourselves in the Dance East tent on the right-hand side, expecting La Roux to be very busy. It was, but the right hand side never got too jammed.

La Roux doesn't like dry ice

The crowd had filled up with a lot of people who were there because of the hype rather than knowing La Roux, which affected the atmosphere a bit. On stage, the first blast of dry-ice prompted Elly Jackson to yell for them to not ever do that again!

La Roux

She worked her way through her tunes, but apart from Quicksand the audience didn't seem to know the music, and there certainly wasn't the Fascination (geddit) with Fascination!! Still great to see her live..

NYC Lowdown comes to Dance East

This unsightly expression from something Will had been on the receiving end of from some trannies earlier!

La Roux

It always seems a bit strange enjoying dance acts during the day - ideally I guess the bands would play all day then the dance stuff run all night - I think the licence of Glasto precludes this - I guess the sound pollution would be too much for local residents, especially at this end of the sight which is nearer to the town?

Daylight over the crowd


You get a bit casual about massive names at Glastonbury and this happened to me with both Mr Scruff and Pete Tong, both acts that I would normally die to see, but at Glasto you pop in to the tents where they play almost as an afterthought "nothing else to do" approach!! Pete Tong was DJing in Dance East as part of a long line of great dance names, but for us as soon as there was a boring tune it was a chance to pop out for drinks and to see what else was buzzing in the Dance Village.

Pete Tong

The answer was.. the Qemists!


The Qemists had been epic in the Pussy Parlour a couple of days previously, but somehow in Dance West with a lesser crowd it just didn't seem to have the same energy. Same fantastic tunes and MCing, but just didn't feel as good. We headed back to Dance East.

Deadmau5 (pronounced dead-mouse) is a Canadian house DJ who is claimed to be the best in the world today. His tune "I Remember" remixed by Kaskade is definitely one of the best dance tunes out currently. He came out wearing a big mouse hat, which came off after a few tunes, presumably as he couldn't bear wearing it in the heat.


The set was great, but he made the schoolboy error of slipping in I Remember relatively earlier, which gave us the opportunity of heading off to see something else for the second half of his set.

We decided to make a dash round to catch the last half an hour of Kasabian on Pyramid. Will asked who "Usabian" were. Where have you been, boy?! Anyway, it was worth it, despite the horrible crush near the ice-cream van (and that was the closest we were going to get, as they worked their way through several of their biggest tunes at the end of the set!


Right, that over.. back to the dance tents!

And how long did your beard take?

Eric Prydz, despite being best known for Call on Me a few years ago, is a well established DJ and producer, and this showed in the way he kept the crowd happy and dancing, even though we all knew what this really was... a warm up..

Mr Prydz on the decks

This is "dance", you say?

He ended with his excellent track Pjanoo, and a big cheer.

Will and Lewis prepare..

2.... MANY..... DJs!!!!!!!

It was time. 2 Many DJs. Missing Bruce Springsteen and Pendulum amongst other things to be here. It didn't matter...

Radio Soulwax is LIVE!

As soon as that Radio Soulwax sign came up on the stage and the dance geniuses of David and Stephen Dewaele appeared at the front of the stage, the crowd went wild, and so they should, for the next hour and a half was heaven in aural form.

Lewis demonstrating the moves

Starting up with the siren-like electronic whirr, kicking into Hey Boy, Hey Girl, but then storming through a varied set that I was pleased differed greatly from As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt2. There was a Michael Jackson tribute in there, with the animation switching from his top half to his legs moon-walking.

Dizzee keeping an eye on things

The animations were so simple - just the record covers of whatever was being sampled, then aspects of the cover flipping like a Python animation in time with the bass - so Dizzee's eyes gazed back and forth, Michael's feet moon-walked. They seamlessly glided through the Gossip, MGMT, Annie Lennox and many other great bands, spinning them into one almighty party.

Rock the Kasbah

Funnily enough, Jonathan earlier had commented on Rock the Kasbah playing all over the site in random places - cafes etc. And here it was, playing in the middle of 2ManyDJs, as the minarets in the background rocked back and forth, and the characters danced.

Kicking animations

My friend Will has never really been into dance music before - he's a die-hard indie lover. I think this afternoon's spectacular dance-assault, finishing with 2 Many DJs, may have swung him to the cause!! To those who say that we should have been at a "live" show, it could not have been more electric and live. The frenzied crowd, the perfect choice of tunes not strung together but manipulated into an audiovisual story, the screen to the right showing their magic hands jumping all over the decks and mixing boards, dropping cds occasionally or catching them before they fall, these guys are truly legends and it's true what they say - 2 Many DJs are immense live.

On the road to Damascus

I started to get worried as we approached the end, surely this should go on forever? At times in the set I felt like we were being subjected to a Heston Blumental-like affair - these guys were playing with our emotions, teasing us with tunes before dropping the fat beats that our hearts were beating to.. this was the set of the festival for me.. Life felt complete as they wrapped up..

Can this be the end...

Suddenly the tent exploded with a seemingly never-ending blast of confetti raining down on us as the crowd cheered their delight..

And still the magic fingers are on the decks...

As the music stopped the crowd was shell-shocked, not believing it was over. I mentioned to the others that you don't get people playing overtime at Glasto, but even myself I wanted it to continue! I'm sure it would have been a health and safety issue if they'd carried on all night, people would have danced themselves to death! We staggered out into the night air, stunned...

Back at the camper later it took some energy to motivate myself to go back down into the site, but you're only at Glasto once a year, right? I headed down into Shangri-La, looking for Jonathan and Dushka who I found in the diner venue. They were part of a group that was trying to leave to head over to Trash City - I left them and went exploring SL, checking out all the venues I didn't have time for the previous night.

The Japanese slum covered alleyway was the place for all the really weird places, like the electronics shop filled with broken fuzzy tvs and hundreds of alarm clocks. People were dancing to tunes and yet bizarrely someone actually was fixing a mobile phone for someone with a screwdriver! Next door, a madhouse filled with drum machines - earplugs were required! Round the corner, some strange underwater world with girls writhing about on tables. Across from there, a kidney and liver transplant centre belting out reggae. And what were the music travel agents and that bizarre 30s front room with someone playing the piano all about? :)

Basslines wasn't as busy as last time I was there, which was a relief. They had some banging DnB playing with MCs, which I stayed a while for. The Igloo dome I also finally got into - and now could see what all the fuss was about - they were projecting fantasic landscapes 360 degrees round above people - when I was in there they had a fabulous space scene, as if you were up above Earth in orbit.

Club Dada had been a disappointment to me this year compared with last, but this evening I found a fantastic act playing.. unfortunately they were listed as Special Guests on the line-up - they were some sort of 20s swing-like dance band with a lead chap dressed in a dove-tail jacket and with round Harry Potter-esque glasses. Any idea anyone? Really enjoyed it, but no idea what it was, and the line-up on the web isn't helping me.

Later I tried to find Jonathan and Dushka again, they were heading to Trash, but when I got there I found the group had gone in the opposite direction. Too tired to return, I headed home! The gates are nice and quiet at 5am!

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