This year Marisa joined me between finishing school and her GCSE’s and spending a month in Equador……when I was 16 I got my excitement by trying to sneak in pubs….
Arrived early on the Wednesday this year and by the time I went to work (4pm) the site was pretty much full! With not a lot else to do, most people drank…..and darank some more…….
We opened our festival week end at the Rabbit Hole with the wonderful Mik Artistik’s Ego trip introducing him to some of our gang for the first time. Before we went, although it was 3 years ago, Fog could remember all the songs he played last time he saw him. Mik went on to do 16 gigs over the week end – Glastonbury’s hardest working act!
Marisa and I got to see a band in the red pizza tent in the Green Futures field, but can’t remember their name…….sorry!
We wandered down to the Other stage on Friday morning to see who the ‘suprise’ TBA act was going to be. The rumour was that Liam Gallagher had been seen getting off a train in the area the day before and hey presto, Beady Eye get the ball rolling.
I’ve never been a massive Oasis fan (even though ‘Bonehead’ was in my year at St Peter’s school, Prestwich) but this performance was great. The band were really into it and the strutting featherless peacock that is Liam was entertaining to watch as he shadow boxed then leaned into the mike……. “You’ve been amazing – but not as good as us!”
We were going to go off and see ‘Teleman’ next – the band that rose from the ashes of ‘Pete and the Pirates’ but Fog (who’s rarely wrong) said that The Hives may pull off the performance of the wek end, so we stayed, and he was right! Lead singer ‘Howlin Pelle Almqvist’ is a God-damned marvel. Limitless energy and self belief “This is the first time in festival history that they got the artists the wrong way round and put the best on first!” – Hard to dissagree!
Marisa and I then went for a wander in the theatre field and amongst other things, joined a marching kazoo band…..the kazoo’s then came out at at various stages over the weekend to the delight/ disgust of people around us. We popped our heads into the big tent in the theatre field and the Steve Frost all stars were doing improv comedy in a ‘Who’s line is it anyway’ stylee. Phil Jupitus, Richard Vranch, and 3 others I recognised, but couldn’t tell you who they were, were very funny! We vowed to go back each day…..but didn’t manage it.
A friend of Marisa’s loves the band ‘Peace’ so we hiked over to the ‘John Peel’ Stage, past the Pyramid to see them, catching some of Jake Bugg’s set who pulled a huge crowd. I was wearing my bright orange ‘Neu!’ T-shirt with white writing and saw a guy walking in the opposire direction, wearing a white one with orange writing – we stopped, checked each other out and them had a big hug (krautrock style) before continuing our different paths. We then asked a steward for the quickest way to the Peel stage and he too commented on the shirt too “I remember them giving away a free Neu! LP with the NME many years ago…..it was rubbish but y’know….a free LP…wow!”
Peace did a good rocking indie set….but as the sun was out, I lay outside with my wellies and socks off and let Marisa have a bop on her own.
Back to our meeting spot at the Other Stage for another of Marisa’s choices, The Lumineers who played poppy songs with memorable choruses. They took some chairs out into the middle of the crowd to do a couple of songs which was a nice touch.
The gang met up for Tame Impala who I was really looking forward to, but they’re really a late night band and we were in the mood to PARRRRTY! so we ventured off to the West Holts Stage wher we saw the wonderful Tom Tom Club.
They had us dancing our socks off……
and doing ‘Psycho Killer’ as their last track got the thumbs up all round…..
Marisa Bat and I then headed to the Arctic Monkeys via the theatre field……
….and a bar that was showing the BBC coverage of the festival on a huge screen (quite surreal really. The tables were blackboards so after a game of ‘make something out of a random squiggle’ we ventured back into the festival and caught Dizzee Rascal doing his last song ‘Bonkers’ on the Pyramid stage
We got infront of the mixing desk for the Arctic Monkeys and it was packed. They did a fantastic set that started with the heavy new track ‘Do I Wanna know?’ and was packed with hits including all the ones Marisa wanted them to play, ‘Dancing Shoes’ ‘I bet you look good on the dancefloor’ ‘Mardy Bum’ ‘When the sun goes down’. They were really tight with fantastic drumming right up in the mix
The only worrying thing was people very close to us lighting flares whilst on others shoulders…..the parent in me kicked in thinking “If they set someone’s hair or coat on fire, the emergency services have got no chance of getting to them”.
During the encore, Alex got us all to sing happy birthday to his mum Penny who was in the mixing desk behind us loving it! After they’d finished we couldn’t move for a while which unnerved Bat somewhat “I’ve never been in a crowd like that before and I’m not sure I want to again!”. He was shattered so headed for bed whilst Marisa and I wandered down to the theatre field and had a sit down to watch life go by. A ‘Traveling freak show’ stopped infront of us and we saw the back of their show with the artists warming up.
We watched the end from the front and bumped into Mike and Fenella (who’d bopped to Nile Rogers) and Tal and Freya (who’d also done the Monkeys). We left them for the circus tent but to be honest, were starting to flag so walked back up the hill to bed.
I wanted to catch Bridie Jackson who was on early in the Acoustic stage and on the way we heard a great racket coming from the Williams Green tent and happened upon The Others – a great little outfit who were perhaps a bit too raucous for 11.30am……perhaps not!
I first heard ‘Scarecrow’ by Newcastles Bridie Jackson & the Arbour on Mark Radcliffes folk show whilst driving. It was one of those times when you pull over to write down who it is. I bought the said track and their CD as soon as I got home. They’ve since been picked up by Dermot O’Leary who had them on recently and the same hand bells made great effect on their new single which they gave out for free afterwards. Bat joined us for a chilled out sit down session……lovely!
We next had a lie down in the sun listening to Billy Bragg who did a country set that included ‘You woke up my neighbourhood’ and Woody Guthrie’s ‘All you Fascists are bound to lose’. His ‘political’ banter between songs was a treat “Journalists always ask me why are there no political songs out there anymore, well it’s not the singers who make change it’s you, singers just write about what they see”.
We had a walk to the John Peel stage as there was another ‘TBA’ artist on….but we didn’t recognise them and didn’t fancy walking through the dance bit so skirted the top of the sight back to the West Holts stage for The Bombay Royale.
I first heard the Bombay Royale track on a ‘Songlines‘ CD and their mix of Bollywood and rock’n’roll had me in stitches. Live they were very entertaining with an inflatable elephant as a prop….
Since seeing ‘Searching for Sugarman‘ I’ve wanted to see Rodriguez so we headed towards the Park stage. On the way we walked past ‘Noah & the Whale’ doing ‘Five years time‘ and sat on the bank at the back of the Park whilst Devendra Banhart entertained the kids.
On the way down the front for Rodriguez we saw this duo in the rabbit hole who were great, but have no idea who they are…..
Seeing Rodriguez was a little strange. He was lead on stage by his daughter looking very frail but once he started singing he seemed fine. Told jokes between songs and announced himself as “A solid 70”. My main complaint was ‘why was he singing ‘standards’ with such a great catalogue to choose from?’. He then seemed to lose the plot a bit looking a little confused and strumming irratically. He was then told he could do 2 more songs and said “You know sometimes you feel like you’re on a leash”. His daughter came on to lead him off stage after only one song and he meekly followed……
We were going to stay and watch ‘Calexico’ but the crowd were very young and drunk and it didn’t feel particularly friendly with people jumping up on stage and challenging the bouncers……we moved on…
The main story of this years festival was that The Rolling Stones were headlining Saturday night. We played the drinking game ‘You have to take a swig everytime you see a Rolling Stones T-shirt” but as every 3rd T-shirt seemed to be one….we soon stopped. Mine for the day was by the lovely Tony Husband…..a very sweary man….
We watched the beginning of the Stones but as Marisa didn’t really know them and I have a ticket to see them in July at Hyde Park (and they were due to be on for 2.5hrs) we went to see The Bootleg Beatles instead who look and sound just like them & were terrific fun. When we arrived there were about a dozen people in there…. John: “They may have a bigger crowd than us, but we’ve aged better!” We danced our socks off to all their early hits which sounded so fresh and alive played live.
When they came on for the Pepper hits, Marisa suddenly flagged so I got a pint and we sat out back singing along. We then popped to the Cabaret tent (the warm up guy was great but the main act….hmmm.) before heading up the hill home. We caught the end of the Stones and their encore before hitting the sack
Sunday for me was a work day (8am-4pm) so after that I arranged to meet the gang at our usual OtherStage spot for PiL. Saw a bit of Kenny Rogers on the way down and heard ‘The Congo’s’ but more of them later.
PiL did a storming set that included ‘Public Image’ ‘Death Disco’ ‘Rise’ and finished with Leftfields ‘Open Up’. We weren’t in quite our usual spot but Marisa found us “I knew it was you lot cos you were all dancing”.
I had loads of bands lined up for the next couple of hours (including ‘Everything Everything’ and ‘Public service broadcasting’) but a little stop in the Theatre field turned into an entertaining chill time, with those grannies on speeding shopping trollies terrorising the field!
Marisa was drawing fairies on a balloon for Isla when 2 sugar plum fairies came by walking in a ballet stylee. They happily drew some more……
Then got our Damien involved……
Everything was just fun there…….
…….then we went to the dark side with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the Pyramid. Met up with Amber, Andy and Max (who had his 10th birthday this week-end).
The seeds were just fantastic – powerful and menicing and compelling. ‘Deanna’ ‘Tupelo’, ‘From her to eternity’….Max loved Nick’s “Potty mouth!”. During ‘Stagger Lee’ he climbed onto the fence at the front of the crowd and seemed to hypnotise a young lass who was on a guys shoulders….. “Evil?” I hear you say…..could be…’Red right hand’ encore – ace!
We got to the Gully just in time to catch the end of the fab Hollie Cook’s set. She plays reggae just the way I like it, straight from the 70’s.
We saw out the rest of our night in the Gully with Dreadzone next….although Bat wasn’t keen…..the Kazoos came in handy for ‘Little Britain’…..Derrrr der de derrr de de derrr derr derrrr….
Last on were the wonderful Congos….real 70’s reggae from one of the original real deals. Their Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry produced ‘Heart of the Congos’ is one of my favourite LPs and to be able to sing along with ‘La la bam bam’ and ‘Fisherman’ was just fab!
Marisa and I then left the others to dance til 4 at the silent disco whilst we wandered back, pausing to look one last time at the site of another glorious week end. Thank you Glastonbury xx
Bob the Chiropodist