Saturday, July 04, 2009
I walked away from the usual morning nonsense and pottered about on my own, picking up newspapers (on Sunday they have all the main newspapers, not just the Guardian), and yoghurts for everyone. The Q Daily, which is Glasto's daily free newspaper, seemed to be of a lower standard this year - with little in the way of highlighting smaller features of the festival or alternative bands - instead it had helpful advice like "go see Bruce Springsteen" - I'm sure no one would have noticed him being on otherwise, thanks Q!
The Yeo Valley lot looked at me slightly strangely when I ordered 8 large pots of yoghurt, but their suspicion that I was some sort of sick dairy fetishist was allayed when I explained I was buying for our group. They were out of strawberry, but still had apricot or vanilla, so I bought a mix. As someone else said, these yoghurts must be one of the few things that are cheaper on site than off, at a pound for a large pot.
Heading to the Avalon Stage to meet the others, I passed a lovely (Cornish!) African dance band, Zambula, beautiful music for the sunshine, and perfect for the festival.
One of my regrets is not getting to the African Express Sound System, a movement started by Damon Albarn as a reaction to the lack of African artists performing as part of Live8, and basically involving African and Western artists jamming together. This year they had a several hour slot in Dada one night. Anyway, next I popped in to catch some of Drea Chuma's second poetry set.
Unfortunately I couldn't stay, as I'd arranged to meet everyone for the fantastic 6 Day Riot, a relatively little-known London band that I recommend to everyone!
Tamara Schlesinger leading 6 Day Riot
They seemed to go down well with our crowd, as did the yoghurt and papers. Dad's eyes lit up when he saw a Telegraph after several days of the Grauniad!
At the end of this set I marched everyone across to the Dance Village for Goldfish, a fantastic dance act of which I thought Dad would approve. Wrong! But to be fair, I think it was the tent and acoustics that put him off rather than the music itself.
Goldfish were introduced to me by Elaine, they're a mix of house music with African samples and beats, often with jazzy notes on top. Unfortunately IMHO they didn't play any of their best tunes, but it was still good, and they were having a great time up behind the decks, playing double bass, sax, and all sorts of other instruments!
South African dance duo Goldfish
Sadly a short half hour slot, which may explain the many missing tunes. Why so short, Glasto? Next up, Amadou and Miriam, via a spot of the very lovely Emmy the Great on the way. We sat outside the John Peel and watched the screens. A couple of spots of rain fell.. I watched the sky suspiciously!
Emmy the Great
Gabriel is definitely my favourite tune by a million miles, but she did some other good'uns, including Hallelujah and First Love. She didn't play another favourite of mine, "We Almost Had a Baby" - look it up on Spotify.
Amadou and Miriam I saw a few weeks ago in Islington, supported by the legend Dave Gilmour. Then Mei invited me to go see them about a week ago, and here we are again! Bizarre but very welcome sudden infusion of Malian music! Dad was annoyed as these were one of his bands he really wanting to see, clashing with someone else he really wanted to see, i.e. Penguin Cafe Orchestra! Welcome to Glasto, Dad! I couldn't find the boys, Lewis having helpfully told me that they were between the speakers and a crane at the top of the field, and now I couldn't get through to them.
Instead, I sat down, and enjoyed my Goat Curry in peace. I purchased this enormous tray of food for 7 pounds (I think) from a Caribbean stall between John Peel and Pyramid. This was probably the first food this year that I felt was worth the money for the portion size and food quality.
Goat curry, or "Curry Goat"
I am reliably informed that it should be called Curry Goat not Goat Curry. Anyway, delicious! Next year I will have to try doubly hard to find the "original" curry goat in the Jazz World fields.
It was interesting to see Amadou and Miriam again, as this time without Gilmour there was more of a focus on Amadou's fantastic guitar skills, on his golden guitar!
Next across to the Acoustic stage for Imelda May, mainly because I knew Dad would be there. Indeed he was, with Pippi and Lizzie. The Acoustic tent is a bit strange, as firstly there seems to be very little genuine "acoustic" there, and secondly I think it would work much better as a stage than a tent, so people could sit about on the grass etc. One interesting innovation this year was that they had designated chair areas near the back. Fair enough - a lot of people aren't very happy with the huge rows of chairs at Pyramid. I'd be interested to know what the feedback on this trial is, as it has been suggested there should be restrictions at the main stages as to how far people can go with chairs.
I headed off to the bar. It seemed the entire site had been drunk dry of cider! I wonder if this was to do with the weather, it being baking hot whenever the sun was out, must encourage quaffing?
My spiritual home, the Red Flag bar
No such trouble with ales. The standard ales across site were Bath Ales Gem, and Otter Brewery's ale. Both drinkable, but neither particularly exciting. I probably preferred the Gem slightly of the two.
Imelda May somewhere in the distance on Acoustic
I left Dad after a couple of Imelda May tunes, down to Tom Jones, who was belting tunes out with an excitable crowd! I wouldn't have minded staying, but there were greater things to be seen - the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were on Other. I met up with the boys, then Elaine and Herrington joined too. I was surprised that they seemed to be playing their headline tracks near the beginning of the set. Little did I and most punters realise that a band early on in the day on Other stage had pulled out, so they had shifted the whole programme forward half an hour!!! What nonsense!!!!!
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs had an enormous inflatable eyeball bouncing around the crowd, and it came closer and closer, until we were whacked on the head by it. A chap near us grabbed it and held it. People booed! "Set it free" people yelled. He lobbed it and a cheer went up. A policeman ran from the path, grabbed it to more cheers, and threw it at his beat buddy, getting him on the head with it. More cheers!!
Elaine and Will turned up having had a couple of Brothers' ciders. My how this had a marked effect on the two of them compared with everything else they'd been drinking. That'll be the "festival strength"!
Time for Madness! We headed over to Pyramid in good time to make sure we got a reasonable spot. The crowd was buzzing.
The Madness Crowd
I spotted someone a few rows in front with a eFestivals logo on his flag, so I went over to say hello.
My brothers stomping to One Step Beyond
They opened with One Step Beyond and suddenly there's several tens of thousands of people all skanking like MADNESS! I'd spoken to Dad previously and he'd asked whether the Madness crowd would be full of people going (pause) mental? Damn right, that's why we're here!
Elaine and me
After a few classics, they played some new and lesser known tunes, which calmed the audience down a bit. Some more than others!!:
Not everyone was going "Mad"
But they picked it up by finishing with many of the biggest tunes in their repertoire, including House Of Fun, Baggy Trousers, Our House, It Must Be Love, Madness and Night Boat to Cairo. Overall a fantastic set and the right choice, despite missing Bat for Lashes over on Other :(
Like the sort of person I hate, we ducked out as the final song played, I didn't want to get caught in the squeeze a couple of minutes later, and there were things to do.
The Noisettes I came across by accident when an Introducing band that I liked (The 1,2,3,4s) were described as being similar.
In the bar, still no cider apparently. Obviously the bar staff were begin to get fed up explaining this to punters:
Alex switched us to drinking Smirnoff Ice with an extra shot of vodka. I'd been on the ales all day and felt nothing but needed to pee constantly. This should pick things up a bit!
Around the site I'd noticed lots of small metal canisters - what are these things? Presumably some sort of drug thing.. are they poppers?
What on earth are these things?
Anyway, Dance Village time for a fabulous set of acts: Mr Scruff, MJ Cole, London Elektricity and High Contrast. These were on between the G Stage and Dance East, and we found by hovering between the two a few steps in each direction would bring you within range of most of each act! First up MJ Cole on G Stage. I've known his music for a long time, and have always been impressed with his mix of Garage / DnB with real instruments - he's a very talented musician, and created his first big tune Sincere in his bedroom with a sampler and an Amiga!
Over the "road" in Dance East Mr Scruff came on, starting with some kicking tunes and a wonderfully simple animation of a speaker, just a rectangle with two circles in it. As the bass thumped, the speaker would vibrate. That was it, and yet I couldn't stop watching it. After some time, words or phrases started to flash up occasionally.. like "ug!" or "this used to be grass", or "drink tea!". Simple and effective!
Scruff's groovy animated speakers
So from Dance East...
a few yards the other way to G Stage...
G Stage with Hedge going for it
Hedge is mad about London Elektricity, and they were good. Lewis turned up too, and Alex. The Crawley boys were together!
Ride that horse
And just in time, as High Contrast came on and were FANTASTIC!
Sun setting behind G Stage
What a beautiful sight, the sun going down behind the stage as we four brothers jumped around like mentalists... this is what Glasto is all about, one of those special moments..
Alex and Jonathan at High Contrast
Prodigy... the last big act of Glastonbury 2009, and I was so excited! We were quite far back as we'd stayed at High Contrast for as long as possible, and we had looped round to the right-hand side (forward planning, see!). Weaving our way into the crowd, i.e. something I'm not very good at, we got about half way in towards the stage from the back.
The Prodigy came on, and it was brilliant. Fantastic tunes, a stunning light show. But.. just not loud enough.. Prodigy is not something you "listen to", it's something that should be pulsing through your body and adjusting your heart rate with the bass. This wasn't happening. We tried to get a bit closer, but the same. Amazingly some bloke playing the flute on Glade was seriously bleeding into the Prodigy set! Bonkers.. And the lack of sound meant a less fired-up audience. It wasn't what it should have been... and I'm ashamed to say that we left..
Through to Jazz World for some of the Black Eyed Peas, a more fun way to end the festival perhaps, and with the District 6 bar handy as always!!
Black Eyed Peas
After watching some of Black Eyed Peas I thought we could use the opportunity of an empty Shangri-La to show Alex around - he hadn't seen much of it, so in we went. It's so pleasant wandering around the place when it's not rammed to high heaven, though many of the smaller wackier places don't open until later.
Time to head back to camper for a recharge before we come back!
Dad lurking back at the camper
Dad had apparently been up here a couple of hours - disgracefully skipping Blur! We all pulled up chairs and had a well-earned sit-down. Will had apparently been about five rows back from the front of Blur. Some interesting things had been thrown at him in cups, yucks. That's what you get in the "mosh pit".
Elaine showed up, having apparently had a bizarre and not very enjoyable experience, involving medical services and moonwalking.. At least she was safe now..
The gang all back
As it started raining we all piled into the campervan. Dad made the mistake of falling asleep before the rest of us...
Despite my wish to head back out, dance the night away and then watch sunrise.. it was all for naught, for the rain continued, and indeed became heavier.. There was no way I was going down into a mudbath now! Maybe it was for the best - a year older and I didn't feel I had quite the bimbling energy of last year. A few hours sleep would be appreciated... Good night Glastonbury..
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Posted by Sam Crawley at 1:15 pm