Opening any stage is never easy, opening on a dance stage is quite a task. It’s not everyone’s first port of call but an admirable crowd have gathered for We Have Band. Second on the list of must-see State were well up for it. The bars open at 11.30 am giving adequate to ‘freshen’ up. It certainly was worth the early start. The electro-pop trio are fresh themselves. All three dressed in white they launch into an energetic set. They have a familiar sound, echoing New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Joy Division in parts but what channel is primarily dance pop. And it’s received extremely well, notably the previous single ‘Oh’ with it’s immediately sing-a-long chorus.
A short trip to the John Peel stage brings us to the second course of The Big Pink. Our suspicions are confirmed. Every tune is a favourite, when in fact they were only heard once the night before. Even their cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Rhinoceros’ is fresh, modern and edgy. The sweet Valentine has changed from white to black, while the others could be still up from a night of rock n’ roll antics. It seems there’s a guitar legend in our midst as ‘We Love You Robbie’ chants fill the tent. A new obsession is born. Bring on the album and Electric Picnic!
Over in Dance West a fresh-faced Hudson Mohawke is making some pretty interesting noises with his laptop and other paraphernalia. I’m not sure if he had any tunes but it was definitely an entertaining set. You can decide for yourselves as he opens for our own Nialler9 in the Dance Shed in Oxegen next Sunday.
If you ever want to chill out at Glastonbury, grab a paper and head over to The Guardian Lounge. Here you will find many an up-and-coming act trying out their set. This afternoon it’s Micachu & The Shapes. To some they may sound like a cartoon piano crashing down onto some surly punks with bicycle horns. But if you don’t understand their sound seeing them live it all comes together. The Matthew Herbert interest becomes apparent. They are not actually ramshackle at all, their off kilter sound is actually quite precise, akin to an avant-garde jazz trio in fact. Lead by a lip curling Micachu, disguised as a 14 year-old boy, herself and the Shapes rattle through a set mainly from this years brilliant Jewellery album. It’s bemusing to see her stop a new song twice to retune a miniature guitar that’s held together by an elastic band. Maybe its not adequately out of tune. Overall an enthralling gig. But it caused one serious grievance.
The trouble with being any festival but particularly one with such magnitude as Glastonbury is that you can’t be in more than one place at once. Though sometimes it feels like it. It’s easy to get caught up in meandering and this one cost dearly. Leaving The Guardian Lounge there was major excitement coming from the Pyramid Stage. Dizzee Rascal had a sun drenched crowd screaming for more. Playing the largest stage of the festival Dizzee closed with 2009’s summer hit -Bonkers’. The crowd go berserk! State was delighted to have caught this moment but it was equally gutting to have missed one of the weekends highlights. But the buzz around campus was that far more than Jay Z did last year, Dizzee Rascal proved that urban music plays an integral part of today’s Glastonbury and large music festivals in general.
Having gone slightly bonkers we set up base at the back of the John Peel tent. Here Passion Pit take to the stage and the place is near packed to capacity. They are a very different band than the one that played with Hockey in Whelan’s back in February. The well rehearshed and toured Boston quintet confidently bash out hits from Chunk of Change and Manners. The Reeling is a particular sing-along. The crowd love it. However State is unconvinced that Michael Angelakos vocal, intriguing as it may be, is ready for a wide open space.
Every year a new and upcoming act fills the John Peel stage causing the crowd to spread out into the space beyond. Last year it was The Ting Tings, the year before CSS, before that again it was The Magic Numbers. The act usually steals the show, gets all emotional and overwhelmed. This year that act is Florence and The Machine. Florence is a formidable force. Flame haired with a massive voice Florence fronts her band as the rock through -Kiss With a Fist’ and -Dog Days Are Over’. It is these tunes that prompt rapturous applause and subsequent speechlessness from the band. Deservedly so. It was a remarkably memorable show.
Following Florence we had the White Lies. Admittedly packing out the stage though not to the same capacity, the White Lies obviously have an avid following though State found them generic and took the time to have the craic and argue over what was next.
Succumbing to curiosity, tracks were made back to the Pyramid where the Boss, Bruce Springsteen had drawn massive numbers. Politeness bound us to stay but the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule was applied. It was still only Saturday and already it felt like we were at Mass. Some Boss fans were in their element, some found it self-indulgent He certainly didn’t win any new fans. Keep it.
Meanwhile in the dance village 2 Many DJ’s have reportedly freshened up their act.
Back to the John Peel tent and a true modern legend, Mr. Jarvis Cocker stormed through a set of solo material. Without playing a single Pulp note Jarvis had thousands singing along and embracing strangers. ‘Cunts are Ruling the World’ and ‘Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time’ were especially memorable. Afterwards he made a rather touching ad hilarious speech about Michael Eavis and Glastonbury, though every single last word evades me.
The rest of the night entailed crazy Brazilians and Keith Allen. He’s a very scary man.