Glastonbury Top Tens: The Other Stage

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Justin Madgwick, Daniel Fahey, Greg Rose, Tom Bentley | 01 July 2009

Firstly, they were being polite as this was live for the BBC, but the frenetic yet clinical pounding set was truly outstanding. There was great engagement from Rob Swire with the huge crowd that stretched to the far reaches on all sides, and when they cheekily introduce The Prodigy’s ‘Poison’ and a remix of Calvin Harris’ ‘Your Not Alone’, the whole mass go ballistic. Brilliant from start to finish and the guys appreciated the praise from the crowd with a united applause back when their time sadly runs out. JM

Bon Iver
Bon Iver provided one of the moments of Glastonbury 2009 on the Other Stage as they bring grown men near to tears with tracks like ‘Flume’ and ‘Creature Fear’. There was more guitar echoes than expected, but it is the angelic vocals of Vernon that wrap around the audience like a warm hug on ‘Beach Baby’ and ‘For Emma’. A euphoric slowly built audience participation session on closer ‘Wolves’ sums it up. GR

The Prodigy
Simply the perfect way to close the Sunday. Against an angry sky with a huge crowd and awesome light show, the Braintree boys delivered hit after hit with power, confidence, arrogance and energy - the ultimate rave with tracks from ‘Invaders Must Die’ were mixed with classics such as ‘Breathe’, ‘Firestarter’, ‘Diesel Power’ and a magnificent ‘Out Of Space’ rounding it all off. The only thing they could have done to better would have been to play longer. JM

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Karen O was on typically outlandish form on the Other Stage with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Drawing largel from their synth-driven new album, there was still room for Nick Zinner’s guitar heroics on ‘Cheated Hearts’ and ‘Date With The Night’. O changed from a colourful headdress to a ‘KO’ emblazoned leather jacket for ‘Zero’, while a giant inflatable eye was thrown into the crowd. ‘Maps’ brought some heart, O’s panting and screaming came raucous, which was all greedily lapped up by the crowd. GR

Bloc Party
Bloc Party were in their element having finally snagged a headline slot. “I’ll tell you a secret,” whispered Kele Okereke, “I’ve never enjoyed coming to Glastonbury. Until now.” Following a slow start, a double whammy of ‘Disappear Here’ and ‘Banquet’ upped the tempo. After a rare outing for ‘Two More Years’, praise for Lady GaGa and their very own fighting song, Kele and Co had the other stage for their taking. ‘Mercury’ – with lines from Lady GaGa’s ‘Poker Face’ thrown in – duly delivered, before the light show of ‘Flux’ brought a florescent glow to the show. The band finished with a jubilant ‘Helicopter’ before returning for a one-song encore of ‘Modern Love’. GR

Lady GaGa
“On 26 July 2009, Lady GaGa came to Glastonbury!” Lady GaGa may’ve got the month wrong, but the festival won’t forget the singer in a hurry. From the glam of ‘Paparazzi’ to the singalong ‘Just Dance’, GaGa just nailed it. She couldn’t sing – often she didn’t even try – but with three costume changes, fire coming out of her breasts (honestly) and an accidental full frontal, her show certainly was action packed. “I used to go to festivals, take acid and lose all my friends,” she admits, now people just come to watch her. GR

Friendly Fires
Apt for the break out of sunshine, Friendly Fires took the carnival spirit to the heart of Glastonbury on the Other Stage on the Friday. Singer Ed Macfarlane mesmerised with his Mick Jagger hips, hugged tightly in some white jeans, as the band samba-ed their way through a percussion heavy ‘Jump In The Pool’ and a rousing rendition of ‘Paris’. DF

Peter Doherty

Former tabloid prince, Peter Doherty, played a coherent performance on the Other Stage showing off his mastery from the last few years. An exuberant  ‘Time For Heroes’ and joyous ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ gave Libertines fans enough fodder for another year, while a beautifully enigmatic solo ‘Albion’ proved more polished than the Babyshambles album version. There was still time for ‘Broken Love Song’ from his solo debut, with duet ‘Sheepskin Tearaway’ with Dot Allison proving a golden moment in the sunshine. DF

Enter Shikari
Enter Shikari were their usual exuberant, youthful selves on the Other Stage, throwing caution to the wind turning some of their electro-dance metal tracks into a sort of mish-mash of jazz fusion and skanking hot beats. Despite guitarist Liam Clewlow admitting to having a “shit set,” to which the crowd responded with chants of “Liam, Liam!” they laid down their thunderous riffs and break-downs with vigour. The aptly named 'Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour' produced Glastonbury's first circle pit, 'Hectic' was the band’s new material treat and by 'Fanfare Of The Conscious Man' and 'Antwerpen' they had gone from a four to a nine piece, with a brass section in tow for an unusual climax to their early afternoon set. TB

Bat For Lashes

Natasha Kahn’s vocal cartwheels were the main attraction as Bat For Lashes took the vagueness to the Other Stage. With a former Ash guitarist in the band, the loopy sound remained tight during the set, leaving Kahn to doodle on the piano and thrill with her stunning voice. ‘Two Suns’ was funky, ‘Pearl’s Dream’ proved other worldly and the set in general was well received, if not swallowed up by the drifting crowd at the back. A minor triumph for the thinking persons’ pop starlet. GR

By Greg Rose, Daniel Fahey, Tom Bentley and Justin Madgwick. 

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