With both Adjagas and The Subways cancelled it’s down to The Undertones to cheer everyone up. With a set full of classic punk pop anthems, the Irish quintet dedicate the legendary ‘Teenage Kicks’, perhaps inevitably, to the late John Peel to rousing approval.
A heady mix of Aboriginal folk music and funk follows from Australian chart toppers the John Butler Trio. So much more than just another folk band, this incredibly talented unit add a fresh perspective to the genre by throwing in Hendrix-esque basslines on top of already infectious rhythms to the delight of the crowd. Simply brilliant.
It should be illegal to listen to The Thrills during any season except summer. Their dreamy, laid-back harmonies provoke nothing but a desire to laze about, basking in a warm glow. Appropriate then, that the sun makes a brief appearance, and along with the music, turns the damp atmosphere around and brings broad smiles to many faces, 'Big Sur' being the highlight.
Despite most now lodged at least calf-deep in sludge, The Zutons take on the heaving crowd to raucous applause. Looking like extras from a Jaffa Cakes advert in their orange get-ups, the proud Scousers churn out their entire debut, and finish with an instrumental assisted by Misty’s Big Adventure’s ‘Grandmaster Gareth’. Positively unstoppable, they hammer out hit after hit, rousing even the drenched into a dancing frenzy.
From boiler suits to sharp suits: classical composer, singer-songwriter, astrophysicist and brain surgeon Elvis Costello may have reached the pipe and slippers years, but he’s still not willing to compromise, least of all for the Julia Roberts fans. ‘She’ is cast aside in favour of classics like ‘Oliver’s Army’ and ‘Alison’ – punctuated with the odd burst of West Side Story and the other Elvis, just to placate the coffee table set.
While Costellos’s legendary status is more assured (least of all by selecting a colour scheme that proves him as the true inspiration for most US hardcore fashions), Doves are just beginning to show their worth. As Jimi Goodwin continues to morph into a distant relative of the Beach Boys, his band is slowly beginning to match them in stature; the infectious rhythms of ‘Black And White Town’ combine their tendencies towards epic melodies with pounding pop. Sure, their membership of the musicians-who-produce-great-meisterwerks-but-do-bog-all-onstage club doesn’t make for the most enthralling stage show, but somehow the images of brights lights and talk skyscrapers makes perfect sense.
Second-to-top billing on the main stage at a festival is enough to give anyone the willies, but the bored continental Europe banter from The Killers' immaculately besuited Brandon Flowers (ie. “Hello. We’re The Killers. You already know that.”) doesn’t bode well for their first Pyramid stage stint; 'Smile like you mean it' indeed. It’s not until Flowers take the mic that he approaches anything near animated, but soon he's engrossed, swinging his arms like a demented orchestral conductor to the infectious Scissor-Sisters-gone-indie-boy anthem ‘Mr Brightside’, and for just a brief second you can glimpse a ghost of a smile crossing the visage of the cool-as-fuck (or scared-as-fuck) frontman. If the same fear hadn’t meant they turned the headliner offer down, they would have done Kylie proud.
Tonight’s headliners, meanwhile, certainly seem content to put on a spectacle, not least from watching roadies wheeling out a cornucopeia of red and white instruments that’d keep The Polyphonic Spree in business for at least two albums. Not what you’d expect from the world’s most famous two person band, yet over the course of the next hour and a half The White Stripes marimba, tom-tom, piano, and guitar chord from the bowels of hell their way across the Copacabana-themed stage, taking in the agonised howls of the band’s own version of ‘Jolene’ and a frantic ‘Seven Nation Army’. Meg’s over-the-top backlit hair flies about her seductively as she loses herself in her quasi-orgasmic, don’t-give-a-shit drumming, while her brother flies about the stage between instruments like Speedy Gonzales’ multi-talented negative. In fact, squint just a little at Jack White in that hat and hair during ‘Blue Orchid’ and it could almost be an alarmingly sped-up Michael Jackson doing that famous falsetto. From blues, to punk, to country, to latin-flavoured grooves; who knew two people could make the Pyramid Stage seem too small.
“We’re sorry about the mud, and we’re sorry about the rain, and we’re sorry we’re from America,” Jack says. On behalf of Glastonbury, apology well and truly accepted.