Glastonbury 2004: Dance Stages, Sunday

With around three hours sleep snatched, the intention at lunchtime is to simply crash at the back of the Dance Tent with a traditional Sunday lunch of chips and curry sauce.

[r-zone1]DJ Parker has far more ambitious notions and insists on ferreting out top-notch floor fillers with which to torment our fatigued and fragile mental state. Like something out of Shaun of the Dead, we are summoned stage-wards with paranormal compulsion as. N.O.R.E.‘s ‘Nothing’, Prodigy‘s ‘Poison’ and the Chemical Brothers’, ‘Brothers Gonna Work It Out’ conspire against us.

The advent of Skinnyman permits at least a little relaxation although his tales of suburban tribulation are at times unsettling but nevertheless captivating. His acapella rhymes without the accompanying beats of DJ Flip admirably so.

[l-zone2]Over at The Glade, Glastonbury dance veterans are pretending they’re in a field off the M25 somewhere as the dog-on-a-string brigade chew their cheeks to a whole day of Psytrance. From the bouncy hypnotic grooves of James Monroe to the super psychedelic sunshine music of Hydrophonic even the youthful security look to have ingested more than just good time vibes as they hop from foot to foot.

[r-zone3]Blue States, the forces behind 2002’s seminally chilled album, ‘Man Mountain’ squeeze being into the Guardian Lounge‘s decks as we nervously keep a date backstage with Goldie Lookin’ Chain. The assorted chavs that greet us in ‘full hanging round the off licence’ get up might look the part but they fail to take into account the drinking capacity and general recklessness of a crew that spends most of its summer in fields with nothing but music and beer for company. An hour later, along with other members of the VF team, we’re walking with heads held high having brutalised Newport’s supposed bad buoys in what could well become the website’s annual getasmuchlagerandanyotherboozeinyergob as quickly as possible competition. Lightweights.

Feeling elated with this victory and following GLC Maggot’s advice of storing cans of Stella in our wellies, it’s time for another wander around the site. As a handful of people mill around the Radio 1 Stage, our ears are pricked with the sound of, “….is f**king in heaven, f**king, f**king, f**king in heaven.” Nah. Can’t be. But, there’s a head just visible. It’s Fatboy f**king Slim! Get in.

[l-zone4]This brings to mind the Square Pie Company – the base of which has been the Camden Lock Tavern Tent, a tiny venue that last night hosted the likes of Erol Alkan, Jo Jo De Freq and FC Kahuna. Not even the organisers knew what time anybody was playing. When I asked, they laughed, shrugged their shoulders and made the universal drinking sign. It’s just a case of being in the right place at the right time. And that really sums up the true spirit of Glastonbury and what sets it apart from any other single festival. Inevitably, you’ll miss favourite artists but what’s also likely is that they’ll then turn up in circumstances that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Just going with the flow reaps its own rewards.

From the strains of Felix Da Housecat‘s ‘Silver Screen’ to Elton John‘s ‘Are You Ready For Love’ there’s plenty of room on the front row. This for a gig that on another day would have the entire population of Glastonbury fighting for space within a half-mile radius. Normski‘s on top form and in a jovial mood for Sunday Best‘s Rob Da Bank‘s birthday as he dons a number of masks and wigs whilst dancing with the missus. By the time a beefed-up mix of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ is aired, the few have multiplied into the many as the word’s spread quicker than Jordan at an awards party.

When the immensely talented Cuban Brothers enter to ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’, the craggy faced loveable rogue, Howard Marks, is spotted sharing more than just a word with Mr Cook. The party’s certainly started in the DJ box as the Cubans continue to entertain with their naked Samba breakdancing but before long it’s time for the GLC so we reluctantly return to the tent of dance.

And what a turn out. For the first time this weekend, the arena has overspilled its contents into the surrounding fields and beyond as the Goldie Lookin’ Chain, emboldened by their earlier liquid refreshment bound out onto the stage. Amidst the flurry of shiny leisurewear and random hip-hop gestures comes a voice that announces, “This is Live Aid. Did anyone see John Lennon last night?” as Adam Hussein, P Xain, Eggsy, Mystikal and The Maggot take position. Mug Pitman, kick The Darkness in the balls and hang out with The Streets – then you’ve got something approaching Goldie Lookin’ Chain. Incomprehensible in interview they might be, but put them up in lights and the Welsh massive do the business which leads us to believe that there’s more to this lot than first meets the eye. Genuinely hilarious but shout-a-long tunes such as recent single ‘Half Man/Half Machine’ and live favourite, ‘Your Mother’s Got A Penis’ confirm their potential to inflict serious damage to both the charts and civilisation as we know it when they’re brought to wider attention later in the year. Safe as f**k!

[r-zone5]Sunday ends with disappointment for all world music bods as incongruous headliners, Ozomatli, are shifted elsewhere. Shame! Especially when they’re replaced with drum ‘n’ bass nutter, Dillinja! But, it’s the last night of Glastonbury and a short walk away, two of the UK’s finest techno pioneers are about to bid a fond farewell to their spiritual home and much more besides. Could we miss Orbital? They’re on the Other Stage. Let’s have it…

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