Despite the somewhat rebellious weather, Glastonbury pulled off another great year of live music and contemporary arts. As many can appreciate, the sheer size of the event makes it difficult to really review, so I feel it’s best just to suggest some of the weekend’s highlights.
Despite the site coming alive from Wednesday evening, the real music begins on Friday morning. We headed straight to the Pyramid stage and caught a surprisingly engaging set from London electro band Metronomy. I was stunned that the organisers decided to put the band on the main stage, as I had imagined that they would have been better suited to the dark covered area of the John Peel tent, yet their set was good and the crowd were greatly entertained. Metronomy – Radio Ladio
It was clear though that many had gathered for the following set by Two Door Cinema Club, I think a band deserving of the hype and radio play they have finally received. Their performance matched the plaudits, with the large crowd chanting along to their singles such as the dancey ‘I can Talk’ (watch on 6Music). I Can Talk by Two Door Cinema Club
Our main decision to head to the Pyramid stage so early came from one friend’s obsession with the legend that is B.B. King. The 85 year old, rated third in Rolling Stone’s greatest guitarists of all time ranking, put on an enjoyable set of classic blues with his large support band (watch on 6Music).
Friday afternoon led to an unfortunate dilemma- to see the special guest already known amongst the crowds as Radiohead or head over to the Other Stage for Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons. My curiosity got the better of me, and the decision to head to The Park for Radiohead was consequently a bad one.. The crowd had already swollen to an unbearable level, and in an attempt to even get a glimpse of the stage we headed up the hill that overlooks The Park. From there we could see very little, let alone hear anything, but thousands of others seemed to have followed the same route. Watching others attempt to climb the muddy hill and the increasing fear of the eventual trip down became the real entertainment.
As many have said, there’s no doubt that the set will become legendary, but it lacked the crowd pleasers, focussing on the band’s new material. Disappointed, we pushed through the mud to the Pyramid for U2, who despite catastrophic sound issues were pretty good. We managed to cheekily catch ‘Rocks’ by Primal Scream as we headed back that evening (watch on 6Music)
Personally, I found that Saturday was the best day of music. My first highlight of the afternoon was Yuck. Following an energetic set from Fight Like Apes, they managed to create their own unique atmosphere, as well as performing an absolutely brilliant set of lo-fi indie. Suicide Policeman by Yuck
The Walkmen performed as the sun came out on the Park in the late afternoon. ‘Lisbon’, their most recent release is a fantastic mix of slower summery tracks and other more rousing and heavy songs on similar lines to their earlier work, such as ‘The Rat’. The album which made up the bulk of the set came across well live, and their sound certainly suited the better weather. The Walkmen – Woe Is Me
Just as on the previous day, I had to make the decision whether to commit to the Special guests PULP on The Park Stage. I chose to avoid the crowds (some 30,000 revellers) and went to relive my angsty early teenage years with a stellar set from Jimmy Eat World. Elbow, as expected, created one of the best festival moments of the weekend, performing their atmospheric ‘One Day Like This’ to a massive crowd just as the sun began to sink (watch on 6Music). I have always been a shy Coldplay fan, not always willing to admit my love of the band’s earlier work, yet their set on the main stage was epic and enjoyable, with fireworks, lights and every festival gadget mentionable (watch their set at 6Music).
Sunday was a day of heat and sunburn which few had really prepared for after the previous struggles through mud and rain. We decided to enjoy the sun on the grass in front of the Pyramid stage and just survived a disappointing and rather dull set from Laura Marling. Laura Marling – Blackberry Stone
Paul Simon followed, and cheered up the audience with his definitive style ending with the classic ‘You Can Call Me Al’ (watch on BBC2). Our group split to enjoy both Plan B and TV on the Radio, who were both fantastic; Plan B Providing his usual attitude, and TV on the Radio performing a fantastic set featuring a rousing ‘Dancing Choose’ and an inspired ‘Ghostbusters’ cover to close (watch on 6Music). TV On The Radio – “Will Do”
I had to catch a little of the Kaiser Chiefs, who have been out of the picture for a while, but seemed to return back on form opening with the stirring ‘Every day I love You less and Less’. Frankly, we were happy as long as we didn’t have to endure Pendulum. Disappointed not to be able to catch a little of Lykke Li, the surprising desire to watch Beyoncé was burning and we headed back over to the Pyramid. I could have been trendy and said I saw Queens of the Stone Age, but Beyoncé seemed too much of a one off opportunity and her performance is a justification in itself (watch her set on BBC3).
Another great year of music and an amazing weekend, I am already gutted that Glasto is off the calendar next year.