We bring you more coverage of Glastonbury Festival 2013, this time from our reviewer Keith Goldhanger. He gives us the low-down on his highlights of ‘the greatest show on Earth’ including his own appearance on stage.
Right…..it’s a big field, well, lots of very big fields and I have only brought four pairs of shoes. I could tell you about the real disappointments but disappointments usually mean chips, and you can’t move around here for places selling chips. Some stalls even put cheese on them if you ask nicely and it’s to these places I’ll go for some polite conversation and a bit of respite and of course, for some more chips when the going gets tough. Sometimes with Vinegar, sometimes with salt, sometimes both together and at one point after walking away from one of those bands who really can’t cut the mustard on the big stages – FISH.
Things I think you might like to know are as follows:
Six By Seven: Spirit of ’71 Stage – Thursday June 27th
We’ve been here a couple of days, the festival hasn’t (officially) began yet and I’m moaning about the line-up already. This is unusual but it’s also because some of us feel we’re getting a bit close to loving bands before they ever existed (as the t-shirt says) and a lot of things I’m excited about at the moment have a few more years of plodding away before anyone brings them here to the greatest show on earth.
Which is what Glastonbury is for a lot of us
But this is SIX by bloody SEVEN!!! They’ve been away for years making pedals and stuff for the Arctic Monkeys and taking pictures of football grounds. They’ve also just put out a very ace new album called Love and Peace and Sympathy.
It’s Thursday and i’ts chucking it down, the odd person falls over. It’s always the ones that really hope they won’t. They’re the ones in white dresses and nice make up who may already be regretting coming. However, it’s not just the men that fall over (ba-dum-TSSSSHHH!), we witness a lady in rather high heels tumble early on. The weekend will be a long one for some.
There are hundreds in this tent dancing with their arms in the air to some pretty high quality techno which doesn’t exactly set the scene for Six by Seven. But this is their problem not mine.
We’re having our first hands in the air moment at Glastonbury 2013 and wondering how the dickens this band will approach the change of tempo and genre that awaits us or how this audience will react also.
We shouldn’t have worried
“‘ello, how’s it going?”
….followed by a big cheer a slow guitar intro and within a few minutes we’re all swaying from side to side and having our second Glastonbury special moment. Change, the opening track on the album and the opening tune this evening is a hint that they might just be going through the album in order as they did in London a few weeks back.
Change starts off like a long drawn out Oasis tune and as with all their songs is heavily built around guitars that grind away away and chug away and build and build and build and build until we’re back waving our arms in the air losing ourselves amongst the cacophony of noise being generated from the stage.
By the time the second song arrives it is noticeable that the crowd are still here, that techno loving crowd I mentioned earlier. They (we) don’t go away. We get the 8(ish) minute long Sympathy, which again goes on and on and on and on until we’re back waving our arms and beginning to forgive the band for not turning up on that Sunday afternoon in 2000 at this same festival (I missed my lift home for a cancelled show but did get to see Bowie) or simply disappearing for about six or seven years.
An hours worth of guitar bliss, building up from simple intros that explode into anthemic arm waving pieces of music that may not be bettered all weekend.
SIX BY FUCKIN SEVEN ARE BACK !
…and you need to see and hear how bloody brilliant this is.
Dinosaur Jnr: The Park Stage – Friday 28th June
We’re in heaven and God himself is present and he looks like all the pictures of God that you see except he has straighter hair and a little (just a little mind) younger. God’s real name is J Mascis and we are sharply reminded in the first minute what Dinosaur Jnr sound like and launched a thousand copyists.
Freakscene …they play fuckin’ FREAKSCENE!!!
Portishead: The Other Stage – Friday 28th June
They may not dress like the Scissor Sisters or jump around like The Strypes but this is Portishead and this is perfect for those of us too fucked to move and needing something a little less disco than the other fields have to offer.
Digital sound systems, eh ? I remember when this was all fields and when every band sounded a bit shit and we trawled our way through everything imagining what all these songs were meant to sound like. Machine Gun makes us jump out of our fuckin’ skin, Sour Times makes us sway from side to side, light another fag and have a little cry.
A big picture of Cameron with flashing eyes makes us laugh and Glory Box reinforces that this is a beat combo with more brilliant tunes than you can shake a stick at which was literally what the bloke in front of me was doing all evening.
Dry the River : The Other Stage – Saturday June 29th
And low slung guitars and tunes that make you want to cry the dust out of your eyes.
Dry The River tell us a joke incorporating the previous days rain and the name of their band. Its the only shit thing they do all afternoon.
The sun shone. The tunes shone.
I burnt my nose.
The Strypes: John Peel Stage – Saturday 29th June
Very young boys with very loud toys and three minute songs that the world out there (yes , you, your children and your children’s children) will listen to and love and forget that anything else exists.
It’s early days still but bloody ‘ell this lot are not going to go away. Main stage next year ? Probably.
Norman Cook, Chase and Status, Skrillex: Arcadia – Sunday 30th June
Arcadia: a fuckin’ great metal spider shaped contraption with flashing lights, smoke , lasers on cranes, men wearing hard hats, and fire bursting sporadically from the top making us jump and worry about our eyelashes.
It’s the middle of the night, they’re still selling beer and chips and we’re back in heaven (not the night club but the thing they mention once or twice in the bible). Then a bloke turns up with a funny haircut and gets involved with the already busy guys from Chase and Status and Norman Cook. There’s a bloke running up and down the steps with a microphone shouting at people and a girl next to me starts yelling about it being Dizzy, as in Rascal, however that would be a preposterous idea and too good to be true.
We’re dancing like lunatics 90 seconds at a time because we all have short attention spans. The men in the booth under the belly of the metal beast can’t stand still and we need to keep relighting our rollies……smoking AND dancing! – haven’t done that for a while I have no idea what they were doing but it was fucking messy, uneven, loud as fuck and bloody excellent.
And it kept us nice and warm for that time of the morning.
Dub Colossus: West Holts stage – Sunday 30th June
Well, what can one say?
One minute you’re eating chips and the next minute you’re explaining to the BBC that “JOYLAND” (the logo on my T-shirt) is not a DIY shop in Dagenham and therefore OK to wear on the telly.
So…on a stage in front of more than 12 people but less than about say, ten thousand people I tried to get everyone to put their hands in the air by doing that gesture that everyone else has been doing all weekend.
This was maybe not such a great idea.
The result was being greeted with a few hundred people giving you the middle finger.
Guy Garvey I am certainly NOT.
Well, I did have a David Cameron mask on.
It was relevant to their song called Family Man and it was to highlight sarcasm, add a little humour and give the kids something to smile about. As it tuned out it gave the broadsheets something to smile about too.
It could have been worse.
It could have been Hitler or Thatcher or Saville or Glitter, or….well, that’s all it could have been to have made this worse but it was my Chumbawamba moment, my “some people are on the pitch” moment, three minutes taken from my stock of fifteen and the moment millions (let it go) sat at home watching the red button and getting their phones out so they could all text me to tell me (er…….look, I knew OK?) I’d been on the telly which, if you discount me ducking from a flying ball at Layer road Colchester in 1987 on Match of the day is my first TV appearance.
“Think Bez” were my instructions…well I was 50% there before I even started.
Dub Colossus on a hot day at Glastonbury is the sort of thing everyone remembers because the simple tunes and relaxing aura they give out is perfect for the ale drinking hoards and ice cream eating kids who are wondering how their final day is going to pan out.
I got on the telly.
With a cool band.
Public Image Limited: The Other Stage – Sunday 30th June
There’s only so many times we can listen to those songs and remember how much better, tougher, intense and exciting they used to be. Open up got us dancing but Johnny didn’t do anything that made us feel that he was in charge.
Sometimes, during the new stuff we just wish he’d shut up for a bit and let the band jam it out. So near but still a bit to far from actually getting it right. The wish for PIL to knock on our doors and one day do something that will truly make us shudder is fading away. They make us feel old and the afternoon is summed up by someone in front of me suddenly decided they fancied a piece of toast half way through…subliminal advertising perhaps? – or just a shit joke that people wouldn’t even be considering saying out loud if the material being peddled out was a bit more threatening and entertaining like it used to be
Vampire Weekend: Pyramid Stage Sunday 30th June
We’ll never know what John Peel would have thought of Vampire Weekend. Its been bothering me a lot the past few years. We’ll never know if he would have actually had a Teenage Kicks moment or simply discarded them along with the Stone Roses and U2. So, to hear people say JP would have loved this is incorrect. We’ll never know – got that?!?
We’ll also never know what he’d have though of having his face stenciled on the litter bins that were scattered around but our imagination tells us it would be a humorous one.
Vampire Weekend bring all their hits to the table and we have a sunny Sunday afternoon experience,in a field, just like the doctor ordered.
Nick Cave: Pyramid Stage – Sunday 30th June
As covered by Mr Robb on this site, this was by far the most intense, clever, insane performance of the weekend.
“The girl in white” stealing the “person of the day” award from the girl with Nick Cave’s name written on her cheeks in the space of about five minutes.
This performance was possibly one of the best I’ve seen on a main stage in this field for decades.
The XX: The Other Stage – Sunday 30th June
I left two of their gigs early a few years ago thinking that this lot were rubbish.
Since then this lot have provided a couple of huge performances on huge stages in front of huge audiences. This was the best one.
At Bestival last year the performance, probably one of the best things ever was ruined for me by the audience in attendance not shutting the fuck up all evening and discussing things such as the distribution of their beer supply and who was responsible for damaging the newly purchased deck chairs outside their tents.
Tonight was awesome. Loud. BIG. Fuckin’ HUGE. People watched, swayed (a lot of that going on this weekend) and swooned as the songs got longer and more special that we have previously heard. The biggest show they could possible do? Yes, I think this is, as only time will tell if they progress to the even larger stage in the larger field so we can stand and tut again as others discuss their previous exploits ignoring the sublime noises coming from this trio.
I was very wrong about the XX a few years ago and feel that this is actually a band better suited for the stadiums than the small dark rooms around Camden and East London and as long as people continue to keep their gobs shut during XX gigs then I think we might all be alright.
Good on ya guys – a brilliant show.
There was more…but you won’t be interested in the jugglers, the Rolling Stones or the knife throwers who take bloody ages to get through their acts or the fact that I found myself dancing with some penguins and dancing in a puddle and dancing on a land rover as well as under the aforementioned great balls of fire or in front of the cameras.
I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how I wandered into the BBC Introducing stage, shrugged and walked out before realising a few days later I had been watching superstars Disclosure and I’m certainly not going to be caught comparing “HAIM” with “The Bangles”.
I had a conversation with a real pop superstar about the Acer plants in hospitality (I was only there for an hour – honest!) and only realised who it was when I got home and put the telly on to see him still wearing the same clothes! I don’t expect for one minute that he did the same when he got home.
I saw a couple of awful comedians this year. I remember a time before dance music existed when we used to chew our cheeks all night watching comedy. It really seemed to be good back then. People called it the new rock n roll. It’s not anymore (and I didn’t really believe it was back then).
Glastonbury IS the greatest show on earth.
So great that hoards of people go out of their way each year to mock it and laugh if it rains.
These are the people who will happily go away to Torremolinos in their cloth caps and cardigans moaning about the food with their flabby white legs, five quid Daily Mirrors and send postcards to friends with pictures of places they haven’t even visited.
They’re the ones who went when it rained a lot in 1997.
And even more in 1998.
Yeah, it’s bloody expensive and yeah it’s bloody great and yeah I’ll be stressing again next year and the year after until my knees finally buckle.
Which reminds me.
After the hullabaloo about the paralympics last year, a bit of respect (actually a lot of respect) to those who did all this in wheelchairs and appear to do this year after year. Bombed out of their skulls like the rest of us but having to navigate the hills, the mud, the heat and the queues…. sometimes without whoever was with these people helping them earlier. Someone even had a fuckin’ baby ! Blimey !
Some people moan about a bit of mud and the smell of the toilets but there’s a reason thousands go through this year after year and those reasons are good reasons.
And it’s not just the chips.
All words by Keith Goldhanger. Read more from him on LTW here.