Live. Glastonbury Festival 2013.


Live. Glastonbury Festival
Wednesday 26th – Sunday 30th June 2013

The Rolling Stones played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. 120,000 people watched. As the expectant polish of Jumpin’ Jack Flash dyed down, everyone ticked “See The Rolling Stones live” off the list. What followed next was a two-hour unevent that left an uneasy but bemused taste in the mouth. Having been force-fed promises of treasured memories from every angle in the weeks leading up to Glastonbury, the reality was always going to be a tricky sell. You’d like to think they’d still try though.

It wasn’t all aged relics and disappointed expectations though. Despite the very real threat that the days leading up to The Stone were nothing more of a warm-up, the days that followed a cool-down, Glastonbury still had a few surprises up its sleeve. Quality was readily available and for a festival not entirely about the music, Glastonbury managed to put together an impressive show.

Despite rumours of Daft Punk, Bowie and Kings of Leon, the biggest surprise set of the weekend came with Beady Eye opening the Other Stage. Their lumbering rock ‘n’ roll failed to ignite any sense of excitement though, even after a couple of Oasis classics were wheeled out. The clumsiness of the awkward Gallagher show was even more apparent after what followed.  With a two-stroke assault of polished garage-rock anthems and the ramshackle brilliance of Howlin Pelle Almqvist, The Hives stood up to their own claims of being the world’s best band, with a devilish sense of fun.

From ego-centric wonder, to the unbelievable fantasy of Zun Zun Egiu. The Bristol four-piece hone a basic core of Math-Rock flourish but injected with howling unknown, they pit soaring vocal soundscapes against snarling breakdowns and scoped chaos. The end result verges on ridiculous, but stands proud with genius.

Another artist at home with genius is London rapper Mikill Pane. Having grown into an impressive showman, Mikill Pane delivers his triple lyric entendres with poise and deliberate weight. His live band give the skipping beats a driving punk bite. Together with considered delivery, Mikill manages to float like a butterfly but hit like an avalanche.


Rudimental have had a year of runaway success, and as the Silver Hayes tent reached capacity, there was a very special energy in the air. Unfortunately, Rudimental started and you couldn’t hear a thing. There were hushed murmurs from near the stage and deafening discontent as the crowd moved onto something else.

Frightened Rabbit also stumbled with their transition from underground heroes into major-label darlings. The song-writing was never better but live, they seemed unsure of their new crowd. Flags a’ flying, they found their feet. The Scottish five-piece, led by a humbled Scott Hutchinson, delivered a proud, passionate set that showcased the very best of their jagged indie-folk heartbreak.

Owning hearts and channelling love were Molotov Jukebox. Their music, worthy of the scorching weather outside, is a carnival blend of sex, scandal and unadulterated havoc. Turning the tent into an orgy of delight, the six-piece wrestled rhythmic dance out of accordions, trumpets and violins. While the usual suspects of bass, drums and guitar squared up to the tropical threat with aplomb. Natalie Tena led the romp with smouldering allure that, with the chemical unease behind the music, made for a dangerously enjoyable set.

There’s nothing dangerous about Gabrielle Aplin. Leading her band with nervous giggles and blushing glances, the young singer-songwriter sways like a flower in the breeze. Her delicate, yet warm voice stalks her blossoming song craft. Doused in classical beauty she creates a picturesque meadow in which to lose oneself in.

Kate Nash has lost herself somewhere along the lines. Gone is the charming girl next door. In her place, an angry young woman, full of fight, belief and snarling abandon. Upbeat hunks of dashing punk play out beneath howling cries for equality as Kate Nash re-imagines herself as more than just a singer. It’s not subtle, but it is glorious.

Gaz Brookfield, the Bristolian singer-songwriter, garnered a glorious reaction. The busy acoustic chatter of his guitar supports tales of honesty and life. Thought provoking, heart-tugging and life-affirming, Gaz Brookfield leaves himself completely exposed and, while this may destroy a lesser man, this only endears him more. Humbled by the reaction and blown away by the man on stage, the Croissant Neuf field all shared in something very special.


Going head to head with The Rolling Stones was always going to be a tough match but Example, well-versed in the art of the festival, is a formidable foe. Armed with an arsenal of already classic songs, the London dance maestro had an easy time teasing an explosive reaction from the dedicated crowd. Effortlessly fluid yet heartfelt and passionate, Example looked like he may be having the time of his life. The crowd definitely were.

Not having such an easy time were The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Armed with unique style, their brass dance fiesta has the makings of a revolution. Unfortunately, the riot they were trying so hard to entice fell flat. Labouring every moment of brilliance until it became tedious, the New York group need another dimension to add to their repertoire.

Iggy Azalea is already complete. Gracing Glastonbury with a fully realised artistic vision, the New Zealand rapper struts with confidence while striking out with a hedonistic crunch of hip-hop. Her delivery is crystal clear, and the fury behind it, pure. Flying through a considered set with professional airs and charming graces, Iggy Azalea is both attainable and untouchable. Flirting with this line is a dangerous game, but one she plays oh so well.

Playing another fantastic game is AlunaGeorge. Their driving electro-chatter laced below the innocent vocal shriek is a well-balanced love affair on record, live it’s the perfect marriage. Desperate to earn the hype, the London two-piece play with polish and passion. With dynamic sound and a powerful sense of self, AlunaGeorge are already so much more than what’s expected of them.

Whatever people expected from The Smashing Pumpkins, it wasn’t this. With a history of uneasy performances, there was always a worry that Billy Corgan would be the pantomime villain he’s so often portrayed as. The reality; The Smashing Pumpkins were the true heroes of Glastonbury. Carefully balancing new material alongside the classics, The Chicago alt rock legends delved across their rich history and picked their finest moments. Reenergised and with something to prove, the four-piece toyed with emotions before giving everything up. Their set became full of those special, charged moments that become Glastonbury folklore.

Beans On Toast is well-versed on Glastonbury folklore. Having attended every year since he was sixteen, he gets what the festival is about and can see the bigger picture. This sentiment rings true with his music and the wider world. Looking at the world through untainted glasses and joining the subtle dots, Jay is a lot more than a drunken folk singer. With sings about MDMA, 9/11 and love, Beans on Toast has an eclectic catalogue. Performing them with haphazard charm, he is a natural entertainer and connects to the audience with abhorrent ease. Simply put, he’s one of us.

Mumford & Sons would like you to believe that they share that connection as well. Without a fifty-year legacy or a generation defining album, this affinity with Glastonbury is their secret weapon. While their big songs do carry a sense of excitement and exuberant joy, two emotions completely lacking from The Rolling Stones set, it all falls a bit flat as they delve into album tracks. Mumford & Sons did all they could to deliver an astounding headline set, but with only two albums they just don’t have the dynamic spread to make it work.

At the other end of the day, there was a completely different story. Deap Vally play a delectable and dirty mix of garage rock. Thundering riffs, sludgy rhythm and an unburdened sense of fun all worked together to give the Californian two-piece unrivalled attention. With a rare bout of Glastonbury crowd-surfing by Lindsey Troy to close the set, Deap Vally became treasured memories.

Also hailing from California and sharing the same exceptional energy that led Deap Vally’s impressive set were The Bots. With a huge, raucous sound channelled by the two brothers, The Bots play with an erratic, unhinged blend of breakdowns, stuttering rhythms and rolling vocals. Nervy pauses between songs disarmed, before the rumbling might of their musical force bewitched. Despite a relatively unknown back catalogue, The Bots managed to engage on an exclusive level that put their set up there with the very best.

While The Rolling Stones unimpressed on a grand scale, Glastonbury proved what a special event it truly is. While a lesser festival would buckle under the pressure of a single band, Glastonbury raised its game elsewhere with tremendous results.


~ by justdip on 08/07/2013.

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