Glastonbury 2008: New Bands
Earning our spotter's badge for the next big thing
Daniel Fahey - 01 July 2008
Pitching up around the John Peel Stage, Park Stage, The Queen's Head and BBC Introducing Stage over the weekend we hope
to discovering that rarest of creatures: the next big thing.
Here's who took our fancy and how they fared…
Glasvegas (John Peel Stage – Friday)
Ah, the infamous buzz band, not too dissimilar to the blind date: high expectations beforehand, and then you actually see them. Glasvegas are the much-hyped band of the moment, the act that the NME described as the 'Best Band In Britain' but who sadly aren't. Distinctive and daring, there's no way you can miss them as singer James Allen enhances his Scottish drawl over layered guitars and repetitive drums, but in this greatest of festival settings they don’t quite leave their mark. Quiet and covered by smoke and red lights throughout the set, the quartet simply go through the motions, as many fans go through the motions of leaving the tent.
Florence and The Machine (The Queen's Head – Sunday)
Hotly tipped and even hotter on stage, Florence and her band 'The Machine' take to the stage to only a half full tent. But what a lucky bunch of punters they are as the London enigma bewitches the crowd with an energetic and mesmerising visual performance. Bounding over the stage in a shoeless Sandy Shaw style dress, the bendy singer throws flowers into the audience over her coarse blues yelping. Current single 'Fist For A Kiss' gets the biggest cheer as the tent fills as Florence reciprocates by gesticulating and giggling with her band mates - perhaps Machines have hearts after all.
White Denim (Park Stage - Sunday)
White Denim are a grafting blues outfit straight out of Austin, Texas, with a sound that welds Brimstone Howl's tunes with The Music's effect pedals. Their tracks are more extensive than many garage-rock bands, allowing for their intricate guitar-work to be greatly observed, but the vocal growl of James Petralli lacks melody or intimacy. Their latest single 'Let's Talk About It' is their highlight as its indie riff joins the dots between The Black Keys and Kings Of Leon.
Noah and the Whale (The Queen's Head – Sunday)
Noah and the Whale are the latest act to emerge from the rather incestuous anti-folk scene. Former band of Laura Marling, and with Johnny Flynn's sister Lily on backing vocals, the six-piece blend delicate harmonies with delectable melodies as they soak acoustic guitars with drawn out horns. Their latest single 'Shape Of My Heart' is an irresistible piece of summer pop that you'll likely to be humming all the way to the ice cream van.
Ten Bears (BBC Introducing – Sunday)
Taking an early morning Sunday slot, there aren't many that have managed to drag themselves from their canvas hotels but unluckily for them, Ten Bears certainly deliver a treat for the early birds. The five-piece adorn a mismatch of costumes: a hippy, a cowboy hat and humbug trousers but there prog garage rock is full of catchy rock riffs roused by a very energetic performance. "I've seen a few of you at our gigs," says singer Sam Hammond, "thanks for coming to watch us again." A few performances of this nature and this crowds will be growling louder then the bands name already suggests.
Crystal Castles (John Peel Stage – Sunday)
The Canadian duo are equally unpalatable as teenage drama Skins, the show for which they toured. Described as the next generation of punk, the pair (plus a live drummer) may have the fashion sense and unpredictability of their 70s predecessors, but their computer game induced electro leaves us very little. Lead singer Alison Glass is excitingly energetic, clambering around the stage like a young Iggy Pop, but the synths, provided by Ethan Kath, lack any real hooks or substance. But then, style over substance always was a true punk cliché.
Holy Fuck (John Peel Stage – Saturday)
Get over the shock name and you'll find the better half of Canadian electro. Holy Fuck stick to the similar Italian house formula from the early 90s, patiently building their tracks through addictive synth melodies. 'Royal Gregory' rises epically over its pounding drums, as the band work to manipulating the recorded sound on the live stage. The five-piece are a prime example of how electro should be progressing: strong memorable hooks without any compromise on the atmosphere.