Sunday, 28 June 2015


For the third year in a row, the out-of-touch middle aged man's guide to the musical delights (and otherwise) of the annual love-in at Worthy Farm.

Can't believe we're back at Glastonbury already, but thankfully it seems to be sunny most of the time. The major innovation for me this year has been a new telly, which means, thanks to the BBC's fabled 'Red Button', I can watch whole sets by bands when only a couple of tracks are shown by the main channels. So, in no particular order, here we go with my annual rabbit-in-the-headlights reactions.

Jungle Stylish looking and multi-cultural, laying down some dancey feel good rhythms. What really impressed, though, was the small child, aged about 7, they brought on to breakdance, do hand stands and spin on his head as they played. The perfect Glasto band - and therefore perfect Glasto experience - so it's no wonder the crowd going wild.

Wolf Alice Apparently with a debut album heading for Number 1, this lot had reference points from the Breeders, via Hole to PJ Harvey in her particularly loud and aggressive phase. They also had a great deal of something else and make an immediately engaging, original rock and roll noise. Definitely one to see more of.

Alabama Shakes I don't get it.

Courteeners A cynic would say this lot have swept up old Oasis and Stereophonics riffs and shuffled them around to disguise the source. There is, however, something moving, and undeniably anthemic, about the Courteeners' unapologetic, straight-ahead English indie rock, as a packed audience testified. They still have a daft name, though.

Leon Bridges One of the pleasant surprises of the festival - and it's probably easier with the BBC's coverage - is stumbling upon something really good you've never heard of before. Immaculately suited, with a backing band both musically and sartorially smart, this new-style soul singer drew on everyone from Sam Cooke and The Temptations to produce something classy, stylish and vibrant. Another one to investigate in the days afterwards.

Caribou This sounded to me like chilled-out electronic soul, which was perfect for the glorious sunset that formed the backdrop as they played. Kudos for the matching white outfits, too.

The Libertines Bless them. The surprise act of the weekend, still making the world's most listenable, shambolic racket out of the songs on Up the Bracket. Carl and Pete are the modern Jones/Strummer, while their bass player now looks like a bank manager surprised to find himself wearing a guitar.

Motorhead Lemmy's a star and national treasure, but in an ocean of metallic sludge, they only have one great song. Can you guess which one?

Benjamin Booker Another great surprise. Phenomenal rhythm section with blusey, sometimes Hendrix-y guitar and SO much musical energy. The third on 'the must listen to more' list.

The Vaccines The band I wanted to see and feel like I've already seen, as they sound like so many bands I grew up with - the Skids, Ramones and the Buzzcocks, to name a few. It's no secret that acts' reputations, and certainly album sales, can rest on a good Glastonbury performance, and if you'd caught the first few songs that BBC3 showed you wouldn't have been convinced: recent single 'Dream Lover' fell as flat as the muddy sound mix on the first few songs. If you watched the whole set via the Red Button, however, you'd have seen the Vaccines reclaim the day with a rousing, acoustic 'No Hope', a rattling 'Teenage Icon' and a balls-out 'If You Wanna' which inspired the most frenzied moshing of the day. I warmed to the guys even more for turning things around so impressively, but I'm still not sure why the singer's rocking the Steven Toast look. More pop culture irony?

That's it for now. More middle-aged reflections tomorrow.

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