Glastonbury 2010 - party starters and party poopers!
Who made the 40th birthday a classic, who shouldn't have come?
Literally starting the party first thing on Friday, it could have been a pooper. Particularly when we heard that the octogenarian Aussie had a bad throat. But then the animal lover wangs away his didgeridoo and launches into ‘Tie Me Kangeroo Down’ with full force. A pleasant arm waving 40 minutes flies by as Rolf treats us to his expansive back catalogue with the only wobble coming from his customary board. Bonza highlights include ‘Irish Rover’ with ‘Animal Hospital’ interlude and his comedy version of ‘Stairway To Heaven.’ Finishing with a very British ‘Tie Me Kangeroo Down’ to the tune of ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ it makes you glad that festival flags weren’t banned. DD
Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra
Dammers could have made it so much easier for himself. All he had to do was rejoin The Specials, plink a few keys and cash a cheque so large that he could have all his teeth replaced, not just the front row he seems to be missing. But instead he’s created avant-garde reggae and dipped into Sunn Ra territory with a full modern orchestra. Switching his time between playing the keyboard and leading the troupe as a conductor, the set was wonderful with Tommy McCook’s ‘Samson’ a joy, a hypnotic version of ‘Ghost Town’ marked delightfully by improvised poetry from Anthony Joseph before Arthur Brown headed up an unrehearsed reggae rendition of ‘Fire’. The orchestra all end up marching through the West Holts field, not something you’d get at the Proms. DF
Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood
OK, the word ‘party’ doesn’t usually get mentioned in the same sentence as Thom Yorke, but the Radiohead singer kick-started 5,000 grins the moment Michael Eavis introduced him as Friday night’s special guests at the Park. Playing magical versions of ‘Harrowdown Hill’ and ‘The Eraser’, Thom had already made the weekend but it was the incredulous moment when Greenwood walked quietly on for ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ that caused thousands of neck hairs to bristle in the evening breeze. Thom ain’t no Pink yet, but he sure knows how to get a party started. KJ
Pet Shop Boys
Working with top-flight stage directors and choreographers, the Pets have always put on a good show. And on Saturday, whilst Muse were wringing drama from every guitar solo on the Pyramid, Pet Shop Boys put on a considered, honed and refined performance on the Other. Chris Lowe played with gleaming electronics on the right, as Neil Tennant shared the stage with a cast of blockhead dancers who escaped their particularly cubey world through the power of disco (hurrah!). It was stormers such as ‘Go West,’ ‘It’s A Sin’ and ‘Domino Dancing’ (mashed with Coldplay’s ‘If I Ruled The World’) that got the biggest cheers. And typically PSB, they also manage to reduce us to tears with 'Jealousy' with a passionate performance from two core dancers who physically drag us through their love/hate relationship. Genuine dramatic impact. DD
The penultimate headliner slot on the Pyramid Stage is an important one for setting up the vibe for the rest of the night. Friday night came alive with a ridiculously good set from Dizzee Rascal. If anyone knows how to get the party started, it's this man. As the sun hung lower in the sky and the heat subsided, the entire field got its groove on. 'Bonkers' indeed, as everyone – old, young, hippy to hip-hop - jumped along with him through 60 minutes festival anthems. AK
Having brought together his Fantasy Funk Band in the opposing tent the night before, the former-Red Dwarf man took centre stage on Sunday in Cubehenge – an illuminating, Tetris-style Stonehenge throbbing in the Dance Village. Bobbing side to side like a boxer, Charles had to use a towel to wipe his sweat-filled brow as he MCed, played air bass guitar and horns through a set of modern funk and soul classics. His dancing was as infectious as his tunes with Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and The Apples among the tracks that set the scene for Stevie Wonder an hour or so later. DF
Two things strike you immediately when watching ex-Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera make his Glastonbury debut at Dance West: he’s actually brought a bloody drum kit with him and he’s swiping at it like he’s still blasting out ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’. He spends half the set like this, accompanying his wife Laima Leyton on decks, the other half joining her in mixing up juicy, rabid electro - proving Mix Hell is as worthy in the electro-filth market as anything by Digitalism, Proxy or Guns’n’Bombs. KJ
A secret set is always a great way to get the night off to a good start. Although, possibly the worst kept secret on Worthy Farm Saturday is that Scot rockers, Biffy Clyro would be playing 6:40pm up at The Park. With possibly the largest crowd The Park has every seen, the atmosphere is electric. It's a short but rather wonderful 6-song set but enough to ensure the conversation starter of: "Did you see Biffy up at The Park?" would continue long into the night. AK
For its 40-year anniversary the Sunday night closer had to be special. And what better way to spend it than with the debut of a true legend? Stevie Wonder stuck almost entirely to his classic period - two and a half hours are crammed with pitch perfect hits including ‘Uptight’, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and ‘Superstition.’ Star status eccentricities are forgiven – such as the weird section where he drank a magic potion and became Little Stevie Wonder for ‘Fingertips (Part 2)’, only for it to fall over when he said the word “magic” by accident. Wonder even dipped into his questionable 1980s back catalogue with ‘I Just Called’ and the show’s closer ‘Happy Birthday'. Appropriately Michael Eavis came on stage for this to add his atonal, Somerset burred voice to proceedings, leading Stevie to proclaim: “Man, he flat.” Flat Eavis may be but with 40 years under his belt he shows no signs of fading. DD
Mariachi el Bronx
Mariachi music evolved from the heat of Mexico, maybe that was why Mariachi El Bronx’s early afternoon set at a sweltering West Holts stage on Friday just sounded so refreshing. In full traditional garb, the punk band treated sun-seekers and overwhelmed loungers to a bopping ‘Slave Labor’ but it was ‘Cell Mates’ that impressed most in an enjoyable 30 minutes. DF
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly!
The Leftfield Stage made a welcome return to Glastonbury this year with Billy Bragg as curator. They may need to get a bigger tent next year as it was bursting at the seams for Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly!'s set Friday at 6.30pm. The '…Bohemian Teenager' is all grown up now and with his eight-piece band turned it up to 11 for a raucous late afternoon jam that got everyone involved. We all love a bit of a sing-a-long and there's nothing like a bit of crowd participation to get the festival vibe going. AK
The beguiling dream-pop that Beach House call home is an ideal soundtrack for the Saturday afternoon Park Stage. This is music for meadows and cloud watching, melancholy hymns that swim under Victoria Legrand’s lovelorn vocals to create your own breezy slumber party where no one else is invited. KJ
Scissor Sisters will never be a band who are thought of as dull. They were a crazy genius of a shambles when they first appeared at Glastonbury in 2004 and now six years later, they're still a bit crazy, but polished and perfect. They're party anthems will always be a welcome addition at any festival. Saturday night, they pulled off the perfect Party Starter moment by inviting pop-princess Kylie Minogue to join them on stage. Whether you're a pop-picker or hippy, it doesn't matter. That was a great moment. AK
It’s not that we’ve gone off Hot Chip but that we had to leave Thom Yorke’s surprise set to watch them. Maybe feeling like they were in competition with Yorke made the Chips stick to their bounciest songs but this meant that their show lacks balance. Inversely, their traditional festival fancy dress was more subtle and stripped down than previous outings - Alexis wearing a Pearly King style baseball cap, which made him look like he’s on day release from a cockney asylum. However, in the post-Yorke mood we’re in, if Alexis came on with full on prosthetics and started zapping the crowd by puking lasers a la ‘I Feel Better’ it would still probably fail to impress. DD
Thursday night, following two packed sets from Boy George and Beardyman, rising dubstep star Joy Orbison took to the decks at witching hour. But as a pre-cursor for all the stages opening on the Friday morning, the show simply didn’t deliver any punch. His own remix of Four Tet’s ‘Love Cry’ was one of few highlights in a set that swung between stagnant garage and fumbling dubstep and when INXS’ ‘Need You Tonight’ falls out the speakers it suddenly became time to leave. DF
Frankie & the Heartstrings
Anyone who missed the usual Glastonbury muddiness could have done well to witness this atrocious display of indie-dirge at the Park on Saturday. It was like driving down a highway of potholes with no wipers, while being pelted with muddy ballads. KJ