Glastonbury 2005: Friday John Peel Stage 01 July 2005
Walking though a quagmire of filth and shit and floating fruit, the first sound to eminate from the John Peel Stage is Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’ - by the looks on a most faces it should be 'Take Me Home'.
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In fact just take us anywhere, away from the depressing sight of dank and damp, somewhere warm and fuzzy. Fortunately musical magpies Infadels hear our pleas and transport us via jerky rhythms and angular guitars to a place time and grime forgot. “Who wants some fucking acid house?” singer Bnnan yells at us, and suddenly they’re off on an instrumental freak out, holding big smiley faces on sticks and whipping the crowd into a frenzy. They’re full of “Hello Glastonbureeee” cliches as they jump around like hyperactive kids overdosing on SunnyD, and of course, the instruments get punished at the climax of their Gang of Four rave up.
Nine Black Alps are all shaggy hair, trucker caps, and doom and gloom. They hark back to grunge’s glory days, an unashamed Nirvana rip-off with nagging guitar riffs straight out of Sonic Youth’s songbook. Singer Sam’s faux-Seattle drawl works on ‘Get Your Guns’, but comes across more Kelly Jones on shoe-gazing intermission tune ‘Unsatisfied’. As they leave the stage in a flurry of flashing strobes and incessant feedback, the tent fills to bursting point for the arrival of Maximo Park.
Like The Killers last year, the geordie wonderboys are on far too small a stage, far too early. Paul Smith is impeccably dressed as usual; he’s brought his favourite white tie and little red book, from which he recites his tales of misery at the hands of women. He jumps off speakers, tries dancing (it doesn’t work), and treats the crowd to all the hits, including ‘Graffiti’ and ‘The Night I Lost My Head’, where the frenetic plonking of the overexcited keyboardist perfectly soundtracks his warped lyrics.
YourCodeNameIs:Milo play to a much smaller crowd, kicking off with ‘The Problem’, an urgent and raw slab of hardcore, complete with angsty emo howls and thunderous metal riffs. And every song after is a riddle of growly guitar, high pitched hooks, and drum breakdowns reminiscent of Biffy Clyro at their most inventive. Pretty impressive if you can ignore the ridiculous plastic glasses of the singer and the full-on cloth gimp mask the bassist is sporting. “We woke up this morning in Gloucester to the sound of Zeus outside our window” the singer tells us, and it seems like they brought it with them.
It would be lazy, but accurate, to liken M83 to Air. Their breathy vocal samples are less lyrically cheesy, their rockier songs rock hard (although their drummer’s not as good), but their soaring keys and dreamy guitars are from the same school of blissful yet urgent pop. As smoke fills the stage, the music lifts us out of the piss soaked swamp and over the stoned, swaying heads up into the clouds. Joyous.
We’re brought down to earth with a bang by Be Your Own Pet from Nashville, Tennesse, who rip through their set like a morose Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Singer Jemina Pearl swears at us, shakes her booty at us, and jumps up and down to the drum breaks, always keeping half an eye on how she looks. Unfortunately her attempts to ape Karen O’s distraught mumblings often comes across more like the Crazy Frog.
Secret Machines don’t go in for any style-over-content nonsense. There’s no onstage antics, just a watertight rhythm section with lumbering drums and bass building epic songs from the kind of riff that finds its way into your brain and hibernates. They are one part Warlocks mixed with two parts Hawkwind and topped up with Pink Floyd, and tonight they're on top form.