Glastonbury 2005: Saturday John Peel Stage 01 July 2005
It's easy to be cynical approaching The Rakes; another gang of mockney Paul Epworth produced boys surely riding the current ragamuffin bandwagon...
Please click on a photo to enlarge it...
But their schizophrenic mix of oh-so-sensitive indie pop and full-on Clash style punk is hard to deny, even if singer Alan Donohoe patronisingly tells us how it's all down to the yin and yang between him and guitarist Matthew Swinnerton - a bit mystical for today’s crowd - but he leaps around like a prepubescent Ian Curtis, giving Eddie Argos a run for his money as the new Jarvis. Top stuff.
Up next are The Departure and their new single ‘Arms Around Me’, a beautiful anthemic love song full of strutting bass and shimmering cymbals. Unfortunately the unassumingly dressed band then go on to churn out more carbon copies of this song, recalling Martin Hannett-era U2 or early Echo and the Bunnymen. Instantly forgettable.
They run off to make notes at Ian Muculloch’s set and up step Rilo Kiley, who are really just a backing band for singer Jenny Lewis. Hailing from Vegas she has that showtime ability, and whilst most female singers feel the need for aggressive snarling, her voice soothes and teases, especially on the love songs where she plays piano, bashing a tambourine and flashing the punters in her scarily short little dress. The crowd are like putty in her hands but it might not be down to the music. The most popular and closing track starts like incidental music for Lovejoy but builds to a climax with soaring guitars that might soundtrack a Ford advert.
A big roar next for The Subways, who are all grungey riffs and Jet vocals. Like most subways you shit yourself that you’re going to find something scary and challenging, but they’re harmless really. Behind the menace, songs like ‘Oh Yeah’ are like a less messed-up Vines, but their frantic teeny bopping and boy/girl vocal interplay demand attention, with bassist and little minx Charlotte Cooper’s soft voice balancing boyfriend Billy’s Craig Nicholls growl.
The Magic Numbers take an age to arrive, and the ‘hilarious’ children holding badgers on sticks only add to everyone’s agitation. But their arrival changes all that and it's soon obvious that they are as ecstatic to see such a huge crowd as the crowd are ecstatic to see them. The feeling in the tent is indescribable as people cheer every second of every song. Beaming uncontrollably, singer Romeo Stodart tells us "this is honestly the definitive moment, the best night of our lives”, a sentiment that many might share. From the three part harmonies of ‘Forever Lost’ to the hoedown stomp of ‘Wheels On Fire’ (a rare and impromptu encore due to crowd pressure) their set is a blur of beautiful melodies, tambourines, and glockenspiel.