Reading Festival, 25th-27th August 2017 (Festival Review)

So Reading (and Leeds) Festival is over for another year and this year’s festival was a huge success. The event, held at Richfield Avenue, took place from Friday 25th August to the 27th August and was headlined by Kasabian, Eminem and Muse. There were a couple of (not so) secret sets over the weekend too, including appearances from Wolf Alice and Queens of the Stone Age (who will no doubt be back next year, perhaps the latter as headliners).

Here are my highlights:

Friday

The Magic Gang played a triumphant late morning set on the BBC/NME Stage to set off an exciting weekend of live music. The Brighton band played an enthusiastic and energetic set, filled with previously released songs- including ‘All This Way’ and ‘Jasmine’- as well as their latest single ‘Your Love’.

If you haven’t seen Declan McKenna in 2017 then I don’t know where you’ve been! He’s played pretty much every UK festival and Reading and Leeds was no exception. The 18-year-old played his first ever Reading and Leeds set (having attended Reading for the past two years) on the BBC/NME Stage to a packed out audience. McKenna sang songs from his debut album- What Do You Think About The Car?– and jumped into the audience a few times in the set, with the first time unsuccessfully ending up in the middle of a mosh pit. McKenna laughed off forgetting the words to ‘Paracetamol’ and continued to gleefully run around the stage as the audience sang, cheered and clapped along. Declan McKenna knows how to excite an audience.

Anne-Marie might not have seemed an obvious choice for Reading Festival, but by the sheer amount of people who turned up to see the ‘Rockabye’ singer she’s clearly a popular one. The singer played a mixture of singles, including ‘Do It’ and ‘Alarm’, and lesser known songs, before ending with the hit-singles ‘Ciao Adios’ and a stunning version of Clean Bandit’s ‘Rockabye’, which she features on. The audience were in awe as she sang pitch perfect songs and as she jumped into the crowd to take selfies with the audience.

It’s been quite a year for Two Door Cinema Club. Last year they headlined the BBC/NME Stage and now they’re creeping up the Main Stage line-up, with a new album and countless tours under their belts. Two Door Cinema Club know how to put together a good setlist, which featured hit after hit and a copious amount of fan favourites. They always put on a good, feel-good show.

Bastille brought the Wild Word tour to Reading Festival, with brilliant visuals and stories of politics and life laced throughout. The band played songs spanning their back catalogue and the radio-hits from their latest album. The drumming on Pompeii was an obvious highlight, as the audience loved singing along.

British rock band You Me At Six closed the first day of the BBC/NME Stage. The set- which featured huge pyrotechnic displays- was plagued by technical difficulties, which prompted a spine-tingling acapella rendition of ‘Lover Boy’ from the album Sinners Never Sleep. The band played under a sea of mobile phone lights and lighters during ‘Take On The World’, before bringing guitar lead rock hit after hit to the Reading Stage. The band treated fans to songs from their debut album- Take Off Your Colours– ahead of its 10 year anniversary next year, with front man Josh Franceschi telling his desires of wanting to do an anniversary tour next year. The band were on top form that night.

Saturday

The not-so-secret secret act Wolf Alice played to dedicated fans and festival goers at 11:00am on Saturday morning. The set was incredibly lively with famous fans, label mates and onlookers (including The 1975’s Matty Healy and Slaves’ Isaac Holman) stood side of the stage. The band played songs from their 2015 debut album, My Love Is Cool, and showcased new songs from their forthcoming second album, Visions of a Life, including the singles ‘Yuk Foo’, ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ and ‘Don’t’ Delete The Kisses’. The atmosphere was incredible.

Blaenavon played the BBC/NME Stage early on in the day. The band brought That’s Your Lot to Reading Festival and treated the crowd to their mature, alternative music. The band played songs including ‘Orthodox Man’, ‘Let’s Pray’ and the stunning ‘Prague’ before front man Ben Gregory jumped into the crowd.

Dan Stock played on the BBC Introducing Stage. Singer songwriter Dan Stock stood solo centre stage and played as if he were playing to an arena. His lyrically clever and satisfying songs echoed that of Alex Turner and his assured stage presence commanded the respect of Jake Bugg, Declan McKenna or Liam Fray. With the aid of a band (eventually) he could become pretty huge. He’s definitely one to watch.

A couple of weeks before Superfood released their triumphant ‘comeback’ album Bambino the band played Reading Festival. The festival gave a platform for the band to showcase songs from the upcoming album, including ‘Where’s The Bass Amp?’, ‘Double Dutch’ and ‘I Can’t See’, throughout which they encouraged the audience to dance. The band also played tracks from their 2014 debut album Don’t Say That, including the song ‘Superfood’.

Ahead of their biggest UK tour to date (which features shows at London’s O2 Brixton Academy) Sundara Karma delighted the Reading audience to a spectacular homecoming show. The Reading band played a no-gimmick set filled with tracks off of their (now extended) debut album, Youth is Only Every Fun in Retrospect, which was released earlier this year. The band opened up the Main Stage at Reading Festival last year in what turned out to be a career defining performance and this felt like a triumphant progression. Sundara Karma are continuing to make waves with their effortlessly cool, alternative music and the fans sure are loving it.

Everything Everything played a lot of their new album A Fever Dream at this year’s Reading Festival. The band’s set featured heavily a lot of new tracks, including the single ‘Can’t Do’, with the odd fan favourite peppered in to the audience’s excitement. The highlight of the set was the weirdly wonderful ‘No Reptiles’, with its absurd, yet clever lyrics and infectiously catchy nature, with songs like ‘Distant Past’, ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Spring Summer Winter Dread’ also loved by the fans. It’s great to see Everything Everything back with refreshing new material though, even if it seems relatively toned down compared to what came prior to it.

Glass Animals are a band so powerful that they brought on an entire pineapple ban at this year’s festival. The Oxford band brought How To Be A Human Being to Reading with it’s chilled out, psychedelic (almost) tracks and performed in front of the world’s largest golden pineapple disco ball and a plethora of pineapples and cacti on stage. The ban on pineapples did not stop fans from smuggling the odd pineapple in, as those successful sat holding their prize goods high on top of the shoulders, commanding proud applause. The band opened up with the gloriously energetic ‘Life Itself’ and closed with the song that brought on an entire fruit ban, ‘Pork Soda’. Front man Dave Bayely even performed the entirety of ‘Gooey’, from their debut album, stood in the crowd. It was a sight to behold.

Sunday

Ten Tonnes played to a packed out tent full of festival goers on the Festival Republic Stage. The singer songwriter graduated from The BBC Introducing Stage, which he played last year, onto the Festival Republic Stage in a move that felt fitting with his growing audience. Ethan Barnett- as he’s formally known- is gathering momentum, with his catchy, easy to love, feel-good songs.

Up and coming London band King Nun played a raucous Sunday afternoon set on the Festival Republic Stage, where they showcased previously released singles including ‘Speakerface’ and ‘Tulip’. Their punk riddled indie-rock music proved popular with the young crowd who jumped, danced and moshed accordingly.

The Sherlocks returned to Reading Festival for the third year, having progressed up to the BBC/NME Stage this year. The tent was filled with fans and flares and had a similar feeling of excitement to that of a Courteeners concert. This came a week after their debut album, Live For The Moment, was released, so the band treated fans with hit after hit from the album.

Will Joseph Cook brought his gloriously, sun-kissed indie-rock tunes to a blissful Reading Festival late on a sunny Sunday afternoon. His set rivalled Giggs’ on the Main Stage- who brought pop/hip-hop sensation out Drake– and the atmosphere in the tent was chilled out in comparison. He played a whole host of songs from his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, and also treated fans to songs from his earlier EPs.

Blossoms played a tricky set before Liam Gallagher on the Main Stage. Blossoms are a band completely capable and worthy of playing huge stages, but this felt as though they were swimming against the tide, with crowds refusing to participate, Muse fans sitting about in preparation for the evening, huge lack of singing, support and engagement with the audience. The band seemed to pick up on this and it all felt a bit depleting. Having said this, the Stockport lads delivered a set full of the hits- with everyone going crazy for biggest hit ‘Charlemagne’- from their debut self-titled albums, with the usual gimmicks thrown in for good measure. I could probably recite the whole set by this point; it’s quite predictable now!

Liam Gallagher performed a gallant set on the Main Stage at Reading Festival before headliner Muse. The icon, clad in his usual green trench coat, sunglasses and iconic haircut, sang Oasis hits (including ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’) and songs from his forthcoming debut album, As You Were, which is due for release in October. Gallagher ended his set with the indie classic and obvious anthem ‘Wonderwall’, which saw fans of all ages united in song. Liam actually sounded top of his game though and seemed as happy as ever.

Halsey played the BBC/NME Stage whilst her North American tour mate Charli XCX brought her iconic pop hits and bubble-gum pop to the Dance Stage. Charli XCX played surrounded by pink confetti, dancing blow up ‘people’ (I suppose) and her all-female band and brought the party to the festival. The tent overspilled with people jumping and dancing all around. Definitely a highlight.

Haim closed the BBC/NME Stage at Reading Festival with a spectacular headline set. The band’s performance was a year over-due, as they cancelled their headline slot last year due to wanting to finish up their new album, but it was definitely worth the wait. The band played hits from their first album- Days Are Gone – and their latest album, Something To Tell You. The set featured a lot of dancing, bursts of humorous chat, a bucket full of bass face and the most captivating drumming display ending. Definitely a huge highlight over the weekend.

Overall, it was another great Reading Festival and the strong line-up proves why the festival is still going so strong after so many years. The good festivals do it properly and well, setting them miles apart from the rest.

 

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Reading Festival, 25th-27th August 2017 (Festival Review)

Community Festival, 01/07/2017 (Festival Review)

The first ever Community Festival, run by Festival Republic (the masterminds behind Reading and Leeds, Wireless, Download, Latitude and V-Festival), was held in Finsbury Park on July 1st 2017. The one day event was headlined by the brilliant Catfish and the Bottlemen and promised to showcase the best new music has to offer. The event consisted of two stages- The Main Stage and The N4 Stage- and saw 14 up and coming acts take to the stage. Community Festival, despite being a new festival, saw no teething problems and proved a roaring success amongst the hundreds of keen festival goers.

Here’s my pick of the day:

RedFaces kicked off the day with a raucous, yet exciting set. The day’s freshest faces played a captivating live set, with a sound and stage presence similar to that of The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys. The Sheffield band played a selection of new songs, including ‘Wise Up’ and ‘Kerosene’, and proved they’re ones to watch, earning their place on such a talented line-up.

Brighton band Fickle Friends took to the stage fresh from releasing their latest EP Glue. Momentum is just starting to build for the band and their set was full of radio hits and established indie anthems, including ‘Swim’ and ‘Cry Baby’. They consistantly write and release songs that you can’t help but want dance to, which are up-beat and infectiously catchy. The crowd were well and truly warmed up by the awe inspiring set.

Darlia are always fascinating. The Blackpool band played songs from their 2015 debut album, Petals, and impressed the audience with new songs, including ‘Ballard of Black and White’ and ‘Beam Me Up’. Their grungy sound is intriguing and also exciting.

You can’t deny that the The Hunna have done a lot over the last year. They’ve put out their debut record, 100, toured nationally and graduated from the BBC Introducing Stage into a world of main stages and chanting fans. Their Community Festival set seemed triumphant, with the crowd lapping up their every move. Granted, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they did bring energy and enthusiasm to an already exciting line-up- what’s a festival without The Hunna these days anyway?

Nothing But Thieves are- debatably- no longer the new kids on the block. They’re established enough to have had hit after hit on their brilliant self-title debut album, including the singles ‘Trip Switch’, ‘Itch’ and ‘Wake Up Call’, and are set for success in releasing their up-coming second album. The band- with Conor Mason (lead singer)’s stunning, mature voice- played a huge set at the festival, with fans gathering in anticipation. They showcased new single ‘Amsterdam’, as well as other new songs.

If you haven’t seen Slaves live then you’re missing out. They’re extremely fascinating and tell the most brilliant anecdotes. The Kent punk duo played a mix of songs from their 2015 debut album Are You Satisfied?, as well as from their latest album Take Control (2016). They even brought out Madness’ Suggs to announce their guest appearance at Madness’s House of Common Festival, on Clapham Common, London.

I don’t think it’s fair to call The Wombats ‘new’ considering their debut album came out ten years ago. They’re one of the best live bands about and aren’t afraid to bring the stereotypically British party to any location. The band played songs spanning their impressive three album back catalogue. The huge crowd sang along word for word with the Liverpool trio and danced throughout the set and into the impromptu instrumental at the end (as they had a bit of time left). They definitely played one of the best sets of the day.

Catfish and the Bottlemen made a rare appearance headlining the new event.  They’ve remained pretty quiet since their sold out run of areas late last year, which saw them playing Wembley Arena, and are hopefully set to release new music soon. The band played hits from their first record- The Balcony– and a selection of tracks form their second record- The Ride. The indie-rock sensations brought a successful day to a close and proved what could happen with hard work and determination in just few years. It was the perfect end to a brilliant day and left the day with a euphoric, triumphant feel.

In conclusion, the first ever Community Festival was a success. I hope the event returns next year as there’s a lot of great new music that needs exposure and it proved such a success this year. The day was laced with the latest music, fan favourites and was a celebration of what can be achieved with drive and enthusiasm. The atmosphere was special too, with friendly fans and a real ‘community’ spirit (if you pardon the pun). I couldn’t recommend it more.

Community Festival, 01/07/2017 (Festival Review)

Glastonbury Festival 2017 Review

*Apologies that these posts have taken an age. We’ve been without internet for nearly a month!*

This year’s Glastonbury Festival took place on Worthy Farm from the 22nd-27th June. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran, with Bee Gee Barry Gibb playing the festival’s prestigious Sunday afternoon legends slot. Other notable acts across the weekend included Lorde, The Courteeners and Declan McKenna. The Killers performed a surprise set, which was headline worthy, on the John Peel Stage, and Elbow, too, performed a surprise set, which was on The Park Stage, on Friday.

This year’s festival felt very exciting. It came at a time of political unrest (a year on from Brexit), great new music- with grime deservedly taking centre stage- and a line-up sufficient to fill the Glastonbury shaped gap in the festival calendar next year, when they take a fallow year. This year’s festival was surprisingly sunny too- result!

Friday 23rd June

Glass Animals, BBC Introducing – There’s little more exciting than the opening act on the BBC Introducing Stage. It’s often big enough- yet secret and special enough- to rival whatever 80s legend is playing a killer set on The Other Stage, in this case it was The Pretenders (who played a pretty brilliant set). In recent years we’ve seen the likes of Circa Waves and plenty of other BBC Introducing alumni christen the stage, but this year it was the turn of glorious, indie art-pop band Glass Animals. The stripped back set was extremely short and sweet- a mere four songs long- but left the audience hungry (perhaps because of the sheer volume of pineapples dotted about the stage and throughout the audience) for their full band performance later that day. They played ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Season 2 Episode 3’, at the audience’s request, from their latest album How to be a Human Being, which was released later last year. They also played the hit ‘Gooey’ and ‘Black Mambo’, from their 2014 debut album ZABA.

Blossoms, The Pyramid Stage – It’s always brilliant to see a band graduate onto the prestigious Pyramid Stage (we saw Wolf Alice triumphantly do it in 2016), but none more refreshing, exciting or well deserved than that of Blossoms’ early afternoon set. The band played a setlist filled mainly with songs from their debut album Blossoms, which was released last year, with the odd B-Side and latest single ‘This Moment’ with Chase and Status thrown in for good measure. I’ve seen enough Blossoms shows over the last year to say that this was nothing much different to the rest yet this felt extra special. The sheer volume of the crowd reflected the huge year that Blossoms have had and it’s great to see them finally get the recognition they deserve.

Declan McKenna, John Peel Stage – 18-year-old Declan McKenna is no stranger to Glastonbury Festival, but this was his first taste of major stage success, despite being given the chance to play the same stage two years prior. The set came just weeks before the release of his stunning debut album, What Do You Think About the Car? It felt like a pivotal set of his career, with the chance to open up his already huge fan base to a totally different audience. His youthful depictions of life, love and-importantly- politics are refreshing and his energetic stage presence is exciting. He ran about and scaled things like any 18-year-old playing Glastonbury would dream of doing. He even crowd surfed, much to the securities dismay. He played again over the weekend (Sunday on the Left Field Stage, which seemed very fitting). I recommend you watch out for Declan McKenna; he’s only just getting started.

George Ezra, The Other Stage – George Ezra played the ultimate feel good, sing-a-long set on The Other Stage. His set rivalled an unannounced, not-so-secret set by Elbow on The Park Stage, yet the size of his crowd wasn’t hindered by this. Ezra played all the hits from his first album, opening with a jazzed-up, trumpet filled ‘Cassy-O’, closely followed by ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘Listen to the Man’, from his first album, Wanted On Voyage. George Ezra also showcased many a song from his long awaited second album, speaking tales of writing the album- like a delightful in person version of his weekly email updates- and what he learnt in the process of making it. He encouraged the crowd to sing along with his new songs, which they did and they did loudly. He even played his latest single ‘Don’t Matter Now’, which, at the time, had only been out for a matter of weeks and yet everyone knew all the words. When he ended with undoubtedly his biggest hit, ‘Budapest’, he seemed somewhat overwhelmed and moved by the audience’s reaction. He didn’t even need to sing it because the audience sang it so loudly for him! George Ezra is always a pleasure to see, but he really does pull out the stops for Glastonbury.

Lorde, The Other Stage – Lorde played Glastonbury for the first time this year, but she was welcomed as if she was a regular. There’s not many times that I’m emotionally moved by a performance, but Lorde’s set was something else. It seemed dramatic, theatrical, a spectacle- all words which, too, describe her incredible second album, Melodrama. Her second album was released a week to the day and Lorde described it as celebrating the album’s “birthday”. She performed in front of a moving glass cage-type contraption. Various actors would fill the container and interact to the music with one another, in front of a changing screen, using props. This was not a gimmick. At first I was confused, but the theatrical performance seemed fitting with the huge, dramatic production. Lorde opened with a short, orchestra lead version of ‘Green Light’ before bursting into a set full of new and old favourites. The pinnacle point of the set was Lorde performing ‘The Louvre’, from her latest album, which she explained was about “having a crush” and urged the audience to “close their eyes” and think of their crush when listening to the song. This flowed seamlessly into the emotional “The Louvre”, whereby Lorde sat on the front of the stage and explained how it was a song about “not feeling like you’re good enough”. It was highly emotional and felt incredible intimate, ironic given the setting. Lorde sang and danced throughout, even ending up in the crowd at points. She played an incredible set, one which topped my entire weekend.

Saturday 24th June

The Magic Gang, William’s Green – Brighton’s own The Magic Gang managed to bring their chilled indie-rock to an eager crowd on the Saturday morning of Glastonbury Festival. Many a huge band have played William’s Green at some point in their career and I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see The Magic Gang at the festival. The band played a selection of tracks from their EPs, including latest single ‘Your Love’, and the audience loved every minute of it.

The Amazons, John Peel – I’m a huge supporter of The Amazons and love their music, but if ever there was a moment you don’t want to have your electrics fail on you this was it. The set was laced with technical issues but proved triumphant nonetheless. The band played to a packed out John Peel tent, which is a promising sign for any up and coming artist, and played the majority of their 2017 self-titled debut album. The set was full of highlights, from the bold ‘Junk Food Forever’ to fan favourite ‘Black Magic’.

Katy Perry, The Pyramid Stage – When faced with the hideous clash between Liam Gallagher and Katy Perry, who do you choose? I spoke to a guy who saw both and his verdict was Perry. The risk of missing a potential- yet hideously unlikely- Oasis reunion tempted the masses but pop-sensation Katy Perry played to nothing short of a full Pyramid field. I find Katy Perry extremely fascinating and her bubbly stage presence and brash production overtly captivating. The set was odd from start to finish (what else would you expect?). Perry came out dressed as some sort of sparkly school child- pink hat and rucksack in tow- with latest album eye logo plastered pretty much everywhere. There was a huge pink moving eye, pom-pom clad dancers a plenty and confetti cannons to make any audience happy. Gimmicky? Maybe. Fascinating and theatrical? Absolutely. Perry played hits from her latest album, including the singles ‘Chained to the Rhythm’, ‘Bon AppĂ©tit’ and ‘Swish Swish’, but ultimately it felt obvious she was there to sell her latest album- Witness– which had recently (unfairly) flopped in the charts. Perry played unknown song upon unknown song from her latest album, which became slightly laborious after a while. Having said that, the odd hit she peppered in was absolutely incredible and the atmosphere was buzzing. The mash-up of hits and (infuriating) rearrangement of ‘Teenage Dream’ made up for the lack of desire for the newer songs. You can’t say she’s not entertaining though!

Alt-J, Headliners of The Other Stage – We tried the HUGE (on all accounts) Pyramid Stage set Foo Fighters, which was filled with hit upon hit from their massive expansive back catalogue, tributes to Florence and the Machine’s 2015 filler- but killer- headline set and two and a half or so hours of Dave Grohl being the absolute legend he is, but settled for Alt-J’s euphoric Other Stage headline set. Alt-J are a band I’m fascinated by. Their live sets always feel as though they’re an experience. A journey. This was no exception. The audience were taken on a journey through the last few years of Alt J material, as each song was seamlessly- and effortlessly- sewn together by instrumental and an impressive light show. Alt-J proved that they know how to navigate a good headline set.

Sunday 25th June  

Sundara Karma, John Peel Stage – You can’t go far without escaping the up and coming indie kings that are Sundara Karma and rightly so. Sundara Karma have picked up massive momentum this year, having released their huge debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, toured the UK both on a headline tour and with indie legends Two Door Cinema Club and set to embark on a huge tour which includes a date at the Brixton Academy. The tent was filled with new and old fans, as they played songs from their debut in both its standard and recently released extended form. I’m beyond excited to see where this leads them, but things are looking up- perhaps they’ll do a Wolf Alice or Blossoms and we’ll see them on the Pyramid Stage in a matter of years?

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, The Other Stage – Is there anything Rag ‘N’ Bone Man can’t do? More specifically, is there anything he can’t do without total grace and gratitude? Brighton’s Rag ‘N’ Bone Man seemed to soak up and enjoy every minute of his Glastonbury set. He seemed genuinely grateful that so many people had turned out to watch his hour long set and that’s something that came through in his flawless singing. He sang many a song from his debut album ‘Human’, which was released earlier this year, including the pop-hit title track and others, including ‘Skin’ and ‘Wolves’. He even brought out and shared the stage with his previous rap collective, an understandable yet contradictory move away from his famous soulful voice. He’s a special act.

The Killers, The John Peel Stage – The weekend had been swarming with rumours as to what the mysterious Sunday John Peel Stage TBA act could be. The area was so heaving they had to block all entrances off and stop more people from entering the field and people spilled out of the tent in all directions (you were lucky if you could get close). Luckily, the set turned out to be none other than The Killers, who played a headline worthy set. The band rattled through their hits- ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘When You Were Young’, ‘Smile Like You Mean it’- as well as their infectious new single, ‘The Man’. Brandon Flowers needn’t sing as the crowd sung along (loudly) word for word on every single song. It was pretty incredible really. The hightlights included the bridge of ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ where thousands sung ‘I got soul, but I’m not a soldier’ back to a blown away Flowers and, of course, Mr Brightside, which still remains one of the greatest songs of all times.

Biffy Clyro, The Pyramid Stage – Biffy Fucking Clyro played Glaston-fucking-bury for the first time in a few years and they had been missed. The band played a hit-filled, guitar fuelled set which could quite easily have filled a headline slot. It’s refreshing to see such an incredible rock act play at such an accessible, all-genre embracing festival and seeing the crowd- plenty of whom waiting for pop icon Ed Sheeran- enjoy it despite it being unusually different from the day’s headliner. Songs such as ‘Many of Horror’ provided one of the most goosebump inducing moments of the weekend, as the entire crowd sung back to Simon Neil (lead singer) and Co.

Ed Sheeran, Pyramid Stage Headliner – I’d been eagerly anticipating Ed Sheeran’s headliner set for the best part of six months, let along the few days of the festival that had already been. Sheeran played- entirely solo, with the help of his trusty loop-pedal- centre stage with hundreds of screens behind him projecting his face almost everywhere whilst he delivered a set everyone could sing along to. He made remarks about the audience ‘knowing it even if they didn’t like it’ and assertively directed the crowd to sing, jump and dance at intervals. I wasn’t disappointed by his set, but it had nothing on the likes of Biffy Clyro, The Killers or, especially, Lorde. He’s pretty admirable and gutsy to do it though, you have to give it to him.

 

 

 

 

Glastonbury Festival 2017 Review

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was held in Hull, at Hull’s Burton Constable Hall, on the 27th and 28th May 2017. The free music festival was jam packed with the biggest and hottest names in the music industry and was a huge success.  Katy Perry and Kings of Leon headlined the two day bank holiday weekend event, with acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille and The Amazons playing across the weekend. It’s always one of the most fascinating and exciting music festivals of the summer, for where else can you watch Kings of Leon, Little Mix and Twin Atlantic all within a matter of hours?

I was lucky enough to attend the festival on the Sunday this year and the day was full of glorious pop music and all things Radio 1. Bands and artists played short hit fuelled sets (exactly the sort of thing you’d hear on the radio) with the station’s DJs playing in-between sets.

Here are my highlights (a very small selection of them)-

Little Mix opened the main stage on the Sunday. The X-Factor winning girl group played a phenomenal confetti filled set, full of all the hits (that you’d know even if you don’t- or rather won’t admit to- like), dancing timed to the second and huge, captivating graphics. It was totally feel good and empowering and distinctly awe-inspiring for the many families in the crowd. Little Mix are very clearly the biggest girl group in the music industry currently and what they’re doing for music is very significant, even if you don’t like it personally. The set felt special and unifying (especially considering the huge amounts of families, mainly children, in the crowd) after the tragic events in Manchester, which happened a matter of days before.

Bastille brought their worldwide tour (in support of their latest album, Wild World) to a sunny Hull and played an energetic afternoon set. The band played sing-a-long hits from their first album, Bad Blood, including ‘Flaws’ and the iconic ‘Pompeii’, as well as a whole host of songs from their UK number 1 2016 second album, Wild World. The highlights of the set was definitely when the single ‘Good Grief’ was played to a backdrop of post-modern, satirical, futuristic collage graphics.

Pop sensation Shawn Mendes brought illuminations to Hull with his Sunday set. Mendes brought all the hits to Burton Constable Hall in what transpired to be a huge sing-a-long spanning all ages. He played a selection of songs from his new album Illuminate, including the singles ‘There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Stitches’. It was the Radio sensation’s first ever festival performance and he performed it with ease.

Brighton’s brilliant rock duo Royal Blood played a huge set headlining the Where It Begins stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. The band played what could’ve been an arena show to a packed out tent, just before the release of their second album How Did it Get so Dark? (June 16th 2017). The band played a blend of stunning instrumental and memorable hit, including ‘Two Tonne Skeleton’, ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure it Out’ (from their 2014 debut album Royal Blood). The band also played new single ‘Lights Out’, which was met by applause from the eager crowd.

Scotland’s finest Twin Atlantic played the Where it Begins tent on Sunday afternoon to a captivated audience. The band played a riff filled set featuring songs from all four of their albums, including the latest album GLA (which was released last year). Frontman Sam McTrusty was full of energy as he leapt into the crowd and crowd surfed at the end of the set. Twin Atlantic are one of my personal favourite live bands ever because the energy their shows give off is just electric. You just have to experience it.

Alternative icons Circa Waves brought sun-kissed tunes and an overdue dance session to the sunny Hull festival. The band, who are consistently brilliant live, played a short set filled with songs from their 2015 debut album, Young Chasers, including ‘Fossils’, ‘Stuck in my Teeth’ and the fan favourite ‘T-Shirt Weather’, as well as a handful of tracks from their latest 2017 album, Different Creatures, including the mosh-pit inducing ‘Fire That Burn’s, ‘Goodbye’ and the single ‘Wake Up Call’. It was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Stockport’s finest Blossoms brought their huge debut album tour to Hull, one year on from their return to the festival as special guests on the BBC Introducing Stage in Exeter. Blossoms played a set filled with crowd pleasing hits, including ‘Blow’, ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘At Most a Kiss’. Like at ever Blossoms show, the band dedicated acoustic hit ‘My Favourite Room’ to a member of the crowd who had “recently been dumped”, an appreciated gesture. Lead singer Tom Ogden effortlessly merged the ending of the song into an impromptu mash-up of Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ and Oasis’s ‘Half The World Away’, which the crowd loved. The band played latest single ‘This Moment’ (featuring Chase and Status) at the end of the set, before ending with the indie anthem ‘Charlemagne’, which never fails to excite a crowd.

The day was headlined by American rockers Kings of Leon, but their set was slightly lack lustre, bar the handful of iconic anthems the band have, which the audience and atmosphere made entirely. The band, whilst still sounding brilliant in instrument, played a 50 minute long set, which saw the audience consistently disintegrate throughout the set. The band’s iconic status made their headline set fitting, but their lack of connection to the mainly young, radio listening crowd seemed uncomfortable and awkward in part. It seemed as though the set was a year too late, as the hype for their latest album, Walls, had somewhat fizzled out. The band are set to headline British Summer Time in July though.

Overall the weekend was brilliant with plenty of huge sets. I’d like to mention how brilliant the tail end of Anne Marie’s set was (with the singer performing hits such as Christmas number one single, ‘Rockabye’, which was originally sung with Clean Bandit and latest single ‘Ciao Adios’), how fascinating Christine and the Queen’s captivating dancing was and the star filled Clean Bandit set, which was perfect for a Sunday afternoon dance.

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Reading festival 2016 took place from the 26th-29th August 2016. If you’ve not been to Reading before, Reading festival is a festival twinned with Leeds Festival  (in… well… Leeds) and they share the same star-studded line up. Reading and Leeds festival are festivals commonly associated young people, many of whom will have picked up their GCSE results the day before the music kicked off. This being said, there are still many people of all ages there (and I’m still not convinced people don’t bring their kids just to pick up used cups for a bit of cash), especially on the days where they pull in big classic headliners, this year’s being Red Hot Chilli Peppers and 2015’s being Metallica. This was my third Reading festival, but my first time camping and with my friends.

Whilst this year’s line up may have been sightly lack lustre and some of it seemed a bit odd to me, the weekend didn’t fail to impress, as always. The festival was headlined, or rather co-headlined, by Disclosure and Foals (Friday), Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Saturday) and Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro (Sunday). Other artists across the weekend included The 1975, Imagine Dragons, Jack Garratt and Blossoms.

Friday 26th August

The Wholls played their debut Reading Festival set on the BBC Introducing Stage early on Friday afternoon. The Bedford band “rolled out”, if you pardon the pun, to a large, inquisitive crowd, all eager and hungry for new music, under the beaming sun. The band played a short set, but attracted a large crowd. They played many a guitar laced rock song, including “Angry Faces” and the huge “X21”. I’ve been following the band for a while now and can’t believe they’re not bigger! With a true rockstar finish, a guitar was handed out into the crowd along with a few t-shirts. Keep tabs on The Wholls; they’ve not even started yet, but they’re about to grab your attention.

Manchester’s latest rising stars The Sherlocks once again dazzled a large Festival Republic Stage crowd. Following the success of last year and promising what was going to be a “special” show for the band, The Sherlocks played an energetic, optimistic set which proved their exciting future. The band played songs such as “Escapade” and “Live For The Moment” whilst fans sang, bounced and danced along. This set was special, as with their 2015 set, and will go on to define and shape their bright futures. The Sherlocks are a band not to be missed- and they’re currently on their UK tour, too.

Chvrches returned to Reading and Leeds following a triumphant set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage in 2014, but this time they played on the main stage. Any band who dedicates a song to Harambe (“RIP Harambe”, Martin Doherty announced before playing “Under The Tide”) deserves a mention if I’m honest. The band played a significant set, which could see them progress to headliner status in no time. The band played a crowd pleasing selection of songs, new and old, from their two albums (2015’s “Every Open Eye” and 2013’s “The Bones of What You Believe”). The distinct lack of collaborator Hayley Williams on “Bury It” was not to be looked down on as the band managed to pull of an ambitious set in front and seemed the perfect transition into co-headliner Disclosure’s set.

I used to have a love/hate relationship with Twenty One Pilots, but after their Reading Festival set they have well and truly won me over. Throughout the day everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) had been gushing over how brilliant Twenty One Pilots are and how good they’d be later on in the day (many people came solely to see them). I must admit, I was originally skeptical. The tent was overflowing with fans who couldn’t squeeze themselves in and I ended up watching most of it from the screen outside of the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent as there was no way I could fit inside. The set was nothing but captivating. For starters, I’ve never seen a man with a drum kit crowd surfing, nor have I ever seen someone finish a show (albeit abruptly… there’s a lot of conspiracy about what happened when Josh (drummer) crowd surfed during the show) on top of a huge pole thing and I’ve only once before (A Day To Remember 2014, incidentally at Reading Festival too) seen someone sing whilst “zorbing”, too… It was genuinely fascinating to watch and they had a non-pretentious showmanship about them. The band played a hit filled set, which was filled from songs from their two albums (2015’s “Blurry Face” and 2013’s “Vessel”). They played songs, such as “Heathens”, “Car Radio” and “Stressed Out” (although many did leave after they played Stressed Out).  Given a few years and seeing their popularity rocket, I wouldn’t be surprised if Twenty One Pilots were headlining in the future, but for now you can catch them play two huge shows at London’s Alexandra Palace later on in the year.

The main stage was closed by Oxford math rockers Foals. The band played a huge headline set which proved the band’s headliner status. Foals are a band who deserve all the success they get; they put on good, entertaining shows, play catchy up beat songs and are so easy to listen to that anyone could listen and enjoy. The band played many songs from their vast back catalogue, but, again, the highlight of their set was “My Number”. The set was not without its long deep-cut songs, such as “Knife in the Ocean”, and it’s old classic. The band reminisced with “Cassius” from their first album, “Antidotes”, which they haven’t played for a number of years, during the encore. The encore was short and consisted of recent hit “What Went Down”, “Cassius” and, as always, “Two Steps, Twice”, where the band were joined by co-headliner Disclosure. It was a pretty special set. I’ve been so excited to see Foals conquer the main stage at Reading as it’s time we found the next generation of headliners.

Saturday 27th August

Reading’s own Sundara Karma opened up the Reading Festival main stage on Saturday morning, a huge leap from their Sunday morning Festival Republic Stage set last year. Sundara Karma are a band full of huge potential and a band I’ve loved for a good year now, so I’d been very excited about seeing the band play again. Prior to the show temporary Sundara Karma logo tattoos were handed out to fans at the front and many were seen dotted about across the day. The crowd were enthusiastic, despite the rain and early morning start, and many mosh pits were formed throughout (whether or not you can mosh to Sundara Karma is debatable, but everyone was enjoying themselves so). The band played a selection of new songs from their upcoming debut album, including new single “She Said”, as well as previously released hits, such as “Flame”, “Loveblood” and “Indigo Puff”. The band are due to release their debut album, “Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect”, in January.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man is another of the George Ezra kind- what you hear and what you see is not what you first imagined, but it’s better than you could ever have guessed. My mum called me down to ask me who sang a theme tune song off of a programme not so long ago and it happened to be Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, so I felt I had to go and give him a watch. His voice is powerful and booming. It’s distinctive and unique, in a good way. I love the way he sings and how success close he is to success. The highlight of the set for me, though, was “Humans”, a song you should definitely have a listen to, if you haven’t done already.  “Hell yeah!” he managed to get the crowd to yell and “hell yeah” the set was good.

Ahhhh Blossoms, what would a 2016 festival be without them? It was a big weekend for Blossoms. The band played a brilliant little set on the BBC Introducing stage on Friday afternoon and I met them on the Saturday morning in the BBC Radio 1 signing tent and they managed to pull of a faultless Saturday afternoon set on the large NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, a huge step up from the BBC Introducing stage they played last year. The band played a set full of songs off of their UK Number 1 debut album, “Blossoms”, including “Honey Sweet”, “Blow” and “Blown Rose”. Tom Ogden (lead singer) played a solo acoustic version of the stripped back “My Favourite Room” and dedicated it to a dumped fan and her ex-boyfriend in the crowd. He was engaging, sweet and comical. The band dedicated their, arguably largest, hit “Charlemagne” to their close friends and tour mates Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry, who were tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year. The band managed to get everyone to sit down before Charlemagne and jump up after the tune kicked in. Blossoms are on their way to something big, like a huge main stage performance, so keep a look out for the Stockport lads- they’re everywhere.

The Courteeners played a hit filled set under a  sea of colourful smoke flare mist on Saturday afternoon, on the main stage. The band sang songs off of their upcoming album, “Mapping The Rendezvous”, including the first released song from the album, “The 17th”. The set was energetic and engaged with the eager fans, many of whom had been anticipating their performance (judging by the many, many fans with Fallowfield Hillbilly shirts about- “Can you play guitar, my boy? Can you fuck?”). The band played songs from their large four album back catalogue (excluding the latest, unreleased album), including the incredible “Not Nineteen Forever”, which was easily the highlight of my weekend. It’s a song which I love so much, and so did most of the crowd, and the song that got me in to the Courteeners and so it was a pleasure to have caught it! The band are playing on a UK tour in November, in support of “Mapping The Rendezvous”, which is out on October 21st.

I saw Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons at Reading Festival in 2014 and swore down it was one of the most fascinating and captivating performances I’ve ever seen in my life. They had drums, beaming sun and an adored selection of songs from their debut album, “Night Visions”. The same, err, couldn’t be said for their performance at the O2 in November last year, which was easily the most dire thing I’d ever seen (and not because of the band, who were still brilliant). I don’t know why, but Imagine Dragons are a band who just work on festival stages, with the outdoor setting only complementing them. They thrive on the energy and enthusiasm of youth and manage to pull off incredible, fascinating performances consistently. The band played for the festival in the UK as a one off, in support of last year’s album, “Smoke and Mirrors”. The band managed to intertwine hits off of both albums to create a set to please fans both new and old. With a cover of Blur’s “Song 2”, Dan Reynolds (lead singer) singing from within the crowd and a lengthy guitar solo from lead guitarist Wayne Sermon (whose real name is Daniel… The third Daniel in the band), the band ended with a stunning performance of, arguably their biggest hit, “Radioactive”. The song was laced with booming drums and a chorus of people singing along to a song that many love a lot.  Whilst it didn’t top their 2014 performance for me, they sure played a memorable set which was loved and enjoyed by all in attendance.

Two Door Cinema Club are back. The band are due to release a new album, “Gameshow”, in October and played Reading and Leeds in anticipation of its release. The set follows a summer of festivals, including Glastonbury earlier in the year. The set was built around the band’s popular back catalogue, with huge hits, like “Something Good Can Work” (a song which holds many memories for me of being about 12 and shopping in Hollister), “Sun”, “We Can Talk” and “Undercover Martyn”, being played. The set was impressive and had interesting visuals on screens behind the band. It was amazing hearing some of their big songs played, but it was also good to hear songs off of their new album, including the brilliant “Bad Decisions” and latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”. Their NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage headline set proved the bands popularity and potential and I’m sure they’ll be back to play the main stage once again soon.

Sunday 28th August

Spring king played a raucous set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage on the Sunday afternoon. The band played songs from their debut album, “Tell Me If You Like To”. I love their live set up. For a starter, the lead singer, Tarek Musa, is also the drummer, which I find fascinating. The set was energetic and wild and the tent was packed out (and not because it was raining outside). The Manchester lads played songs such as “The Summer” and “Detroit”. They managed to get the crowd to sing “who are you?” along to the song of the same name and then ended the set with the popular “Rectifier”, which was met with applause. The band’s set cemented their place at the festival and welcomed them onto the larger stage, having played the Festival Republic stage last year.

Again, what would a festival be without Rat Boy? Jordan Cardy and his band mates pop up everywhere! The band played many a song off of multiple mix tapes and in the light of their future debut album, “Scum”, which is, hopefully, to be released early next year. The set was wild, hot and sweaty. The band, all bar Cardy himself, came on in masks of themselves, as seen on their Spring/Summer 2016 tour, along with a person dressed in a red boiler suit and a Rat Boy logo (I suppose)/Cardy creation yellow mask, who ran up and down the front of the stage and into the crowd multiple times in the set, like their own personal hype man. The set was full of crowd surfing, mosh pits, set climbing (and subsequent hand cutting) and jumping. The band played songs such as “Left 4 Dead”, “Fake ID” and “Sign On”, as well as their latest, recently released single, “Get Over It”. Rat Boy never fails to impress crowds with his antics- he even got the crowd to sit down (which they “did at Boardmasters”) and jump up at one point. I think they’ll keep going and going and I anticipate seeing them slay the 2017 festival scene once again.

Everyone loves The Vaccines, or so it seems every time I see them play live. Everyone knows The Vaccines; they’re pioneers of songs you know but can’t place just how and have been around for what feels like forever, or at least that’s what they mean for me. Their Main Stage set was busy, full of sing-a-long classics and thrilling from start to finish (although you wouldn’t have thought Justin Young (lead singer) thought so). They’re a band who can put together killer set lists and please fans of all ages. The band played songs from each of their three albums, including “Post Break-Up Sex”, “Teenage Icon” and “Melody Calling”. The highlight of the set was seeing so many people, old and young, dancing to “If You Wanna” at the end of the set, along with “Norgaard”. Easily one of the best acts of the weekend.

The Wombats are another band that you probably just know and don’t know how. They constantly create relatable songs filled with teenage heart ache, jaded youth and clumsy tales.  They’re, again, a band who hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first “indie” bands I really got in to. In a weird turn of events, I managed to watch the set by myself and I can’t stress how amazing the experience was (watching one of your favourite bands by yourself and singing and dancing as recklessly as imaginable with no fear of real judgement is incredible). The band played songs from each of their three albums and played to a packed tent- a step up from last years very sweaty Festival Republic Stage headline set. The band played songs such as “Give Me A Try”, “Moving To New York” and “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”. “Jesus… and the Mary Chain” muttered the band as they realised the scale of which they were playing and how “insane” it was. The band closed with “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, a song which holds many memories to many people. I can’t wait for The Wombats to be back properly again. I miss The Wombats.

The 1975 have been building up to their Reading and Leeds sets for a good while now. The band have played many festivals this summer and promised their Reading and Leeds sets would be something special, and they were. Matty Healy (lead singer) was sounding the best I had seen for a while and sang often with cigarette in hand, obviously. I can’t help but love and be fascinated by Healy every time I see him.  The first time I saw The 1975 play was at Reading Festival in 2014, where I was converted to being a fan of the band. The set was boozy, but something else. It was the last thing I properly saw at Reading Festival in 2014 and, incidentally, the last thing I saw at Reading Festival in 2016… Headlining the festival in 2018? It wouldn’t surprise me. The band played in front of their stunning visuals, which they’ve toured with for nearly a year, and back with their drummer, George Daniel, again. They played songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, and their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. The band played songs such as “Loving Someone”, where Healy even spoke the spoken word part in the middle, “Sex” and “The Sound”, where everyone had to jump on the count of four. “We’re going to go away and make another record and then come back and headline this whole thing” Healy promised fans, whether or not they will only time will tell, but for now their stunning NME/BBC Radio 1 set was enough to keep them remembered and treasured by fans. I look forward to seeing them play a sold out show at London’s O2 Arena in December.

Overall, Reading Festival 2016 was, once again, a huge success. With secret sets from You Me At Six, incredible performances on the BBC Introducing Stage and huge headline sets across all stages, I look forward to what Reading 2017 might entail. I can’t wait! I might, in the future, make a blog post about what I think festival season 2017 might look like.

 

 

 

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Sunday 26th June 2016

This is the fourth and final Glastonbury Festival 2016 blog post! You can find the introduction here, Friday’s post here and Saturday’s highlights here. All of the sets mentioned across the blog posts are still available to (re)live on the BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks too.

The Sunday of this year’s Glastonbury Festival was headlined by firm favourites Coldplay, their fourth headline set at Worthy Farm. The legends slot went to none other than Jeff Lynne’s ELO and other notable acts across the day included Bear’s Den, Years & Years, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Beck.

Mystery Jets have been around years, so it’s unsurprising that they walked out on stage to an overflowing tent full of fans of all ages. They stated that one of the best shows they’ve ever played happened at Glastonbury festival and this came close to beating it. This show was in support of their latest album “Curve Of The Earth”, released this year. They played songs such as “Bombay Blue” and “Telomere” from it, but the firm fan favourites still remain as “Two Doors Down” and “Young Love”, both of which are from 2008’s “Twenty One”. Their set was brilliant and the band seemed to have just as much fun as the fans did!

This year’s Sunday tea time legends slot was filled by Jeff Lynne’s ELO. They’ve just done a UK arena tour and have recently announced, off of the back of Glastonbury, a huge one off show at London’s prestigious Wembley Stadium. The band played songs from their impressive back catalogue which spans over 40 years. The band played songs such as “Evil Woman”, “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Livin’ Thing”, which the audience enjoyed. They played with an operatic back up singer, who sang at various points of the set. The highlight of the set, obviously, was the hugely popular and influential “Mr Blue Sky”. Whilst the set was mostly lost on me, just hearing ELO play “Mr Blue Sky” made my weekend. The song is one which was played frequently throughout my childhood and it’s a song I love so much. The sky, however, was far from blue as it drizzled throughout the set, but our rain ponchos were (which sort of made up for it, I suppose).

Years & Years are one of the most current and progressive bands on the scene. Their music, dance infused, was perfect for the for a dull and drizzly afternoon, which was brightened by Olly Alexander’s (lead singer) unapologetically bright rainbow coloured outfit and tassley jacket. They played songs from their brilliant first album “Communion”, which was released last year, including “Take Shelter”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, “King” and “Desire”. There was also a cover or ‘mash-up’ of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. This set comes almost exactly a year after the first time they played Glastonbury, on the John Peel Stage. They’re gradually working their way up the festival line up. The band performed on the weekend of gay pride. Olly Alexander did an inspirational and clearly emotional speech about his sexuality and the problems and fears he faces with it. He opened with “I am gay, very gay” and suggested we all “shove a rainbow in fear’s face”.  The band walked off stage to rainbow confetti, having been joined by dancers for the final two songs.

The best time I’ve ever seen Catfish and the Bottlemen was at Glastonbury last year. I’ve seen them a few times since and never have they lived up to the time they played Glastonbury. This year they returned to Worthy Farm with a Brit Award (for Best British Breakthrough Artist) and a new UK number one album, for “The Ride”, which was released in May. The band seem to step up a notch when they play Glastonbury, as though they’re out to win fans (and their set did just that). The band cleverly curated the perfect setlist by infusing songs off of their stunning debut album, “The Balcony”, with songs from their latest album, “The Ride”.  They played songs, such as “Kathleen”, “Pacifier” and “Cocoon”, from their debut album and seamlessly intertwined them with songs like “Soundcheck”, “Anything” and, latest single, “7”. Like usual, they opened the set with “Homesick”, the first song off of “The Balcony”, and closed with “Tyrants”, the closing song from “The Balcony”.Van McCann (lead singer) is an incredible front man and expresses the true gratitude the band have for being able to play festivals like these. Catfish know how to effortlessly pull of a huge set like this and cement their right to play at the festival. I wouldn’t be surprised, given a few more years and albums, if they were soon able to headline festivals like this.

American singer-songwriter Beck played the tricky slot before Coldplay on the Pyramid Stage. Throughout the weekend we had questioned who he was and how capable he was of filling such a huge slot when none of us could name anything he’d done, but Beck is one of those artists who, when they begin to play, you seem to know every single song of. The set was mad, energetic and full of surprises. He played songs such as “Loser” (which, shamefully, I knew from Glee), “Sexx Laws” and “Dreams”. He even managed an encore of “Where It’s At/ One Foot In The Grave”. The set was something you had to see to believe. It was odd, but brilliant.

Coldplay headlined Glastonbury for the forth time this year. They play off the back of the release of their latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams”, and a sold out stadium tour, which featured four sold out shows at Wembley Stadium. The band brought their huge production to Worthy Farm, with over 100,000 ‘xylobands’ distributed throughout the day for the crowd. Despite the huge number of bands given out, I never managed to find one (which I’m still gutted about and, yes, it did dampen the set for me, as I didn’t feel as involved from a purely aesthetic view). The band played songs spanning their impressive seven album collection. It was a nostalgic set, especially as they played songs such as “Fix You”, “Yellow” and “A Sky Full Of Stars”, all of which were incredibly emotional. The band played many songs from “A Head Full Of Dreams”, too, including the title track to open (following a controversial Charlie Chaplin speech), “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure Of A Lifetime”, where Chris Martin (lead singer) encouraged everyone to “get down” despite the mud and jump up together on the count of three. The band played “Everglow”, but had to restart as Martin’s piano was out of tune. They ended the song by playing a clip of Muhammad Ali, another highly emotional tribute.

At this point, I’d like to talk about something beyond incredible that Coldplay did. I had heard speculation of a Viola Beach tribute taking place during the set prior to the festival. I was unsure about this at first, thinking they were just “jumping on the band wagon” to look respectable. I was not, however, expecting them to do what they did. The band began talking about when they first played the festival on what is now know as the John Peel Stage and how they were thankful for the incredible new music which passes through the festival and that year every year. They went on to tell of how sad they were of hearing the deaths of the formidable up and coming band Viola Beach and how they were sad that they were never given the chance to do something like headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. The band then said they would like to let Viola Beach have the opportunity to headline Glastonbury and let a recording of their song “Boys That Sing” play on a huge LED screen at the centre of the stage. The band joined in to finish the song at the end. It was extremely moving and I did, admittedly, cry throughout. Viola Beach were an incredible talented band, who, no doubt, would’ve gone on to play at the festival countless times. What Coldplay did was incredibly special (they said they would usually have done a Bowie tribute at this point) and exemplified the type of attitude we need towards new music. I was amazed and moved by this.

The set was jam packed full of amazing surprises. The band played an extended five song encore. They usually take a request from those in the audience and this time was no different, however they took a request from Mr Glastonbury, Michael Eavis, himself. They asked him which band he would like to headline and he said “The Bee Gees”. Barry Gibb joined Coldplay on stage to play two songs, “To Love Somebody” and “Stayin’ Alive”. The whole crowd sing along to “Stayin’ Alive” was quite something and the atmosphere was second to none, which doesn’t necessarily come across through the recordings. They then played “A Sky Full Of Stars” to falling star confetti and, finally, “Up & Up”, with Martin’s children Apple and Moses singing backing vocals. Martin stopped just before the end and said he wanted to continue playing. Eavis joined him on stage to sing a wonderful cover of “My Way”. This was, again, quite emotional and fun. It was brilliant and embodied the family spirit of Glastonbury. I’m sure it would have been lost on many of those watching at home, but Michael Eavis is a key and foundational part of the festival, obviously, and this was nothing but special to see. His performance was slightly better than the time he sang “Happy Birthday” with Stevie Wonder. “Up&Up” was reprised before the end and that concluded a stunning set and overwhelmingly brilliant weekend.

Coldplay are a band who know how to play festival and big venues. I hope this is the fourth of many more Glastonbury headline sets as their production and songs are a firm favourite on the farm with the Eavis’ and audience alike. They had to battle with the brilliant Jake Bugg and Grimes on the other stages.

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Glastonbury Festival 2016- Sunday 26th June 2016

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Saturday 25th June 2016

This is the third of four blog posts about Glastonbury 2016. You can find the introduction here and the Friday post here.

The Saturday of this year’s festival saw yet another risky headliner. Last year we had Kanye West and this year we had, arguably the most significant and/or popular female solo artist of the last year, Adele. Adele is an artist who is globally appealing. Her songs touch a wide range of people across all age groups and she can even play into the hearts of those who maybe aren’t fans with her irresistibly entertaining and hilarious live act. Many still labelled her boring and depressing though. Other acts across the day included Wolf Alice, Madness, The 1975 and Tame Impala.

At 11:50 in the morning, on the John Peel Stage, Nothing But Thieves played to a packed out tent. The set comes off the back of their recent supporting slot to the Friday night headliner, Muse, and the release of their debut album, “Nothing But Thieves”, last year. It’s the first time they have played the festival so it was unsurprising that they wanted to win new fans over with an impeccable set. Conor Mason (lead singer) showed off his incredible vocal range with breathtaking vocals echoing those similar of artists like Muse, further proving they’re on a steady path to success. They played hits like “Itch”, “Trip Switch” and “Wake Up Call”. These songs proved particularly successful with the Worthy Farm crowd early, in festival terms, on Saturday.

We stumbled upon a nervous Izzy Bizu playing The Park Stage. She played a short set, but it was enjoyed by a large crowd. Bizu is effortlessly, and enviably so, cool. Her songs are laid back, chilled out and extremely easy to listen to. It wasn’t a fussy and over the top set. It was just her, her band and the boiling heat (scarcely seen over the weekend). She was joined by her friend and writing partner, HONNE, at one stage for a song, “Someone that loves you”, and told many little anecdotes throughout the set- she even let us know that she’d scattered various polaroids across the site, with prizes on, for us to find. Keep an eye out for Izzy Bizu and check out “White Tiger”.

Wolf Alice played another stunning set at Glastonbury Festival, following last year’s highly talked about set on The Park Stage, and this year they played on the prestigious Pyramid Stage. In a weird way the fact that they were playing on a stage as big as that of The Pyramid Stage filled me with an odd sense of pride and satisfaction. Wolf Alice are genuinely one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever seen (and I say this over and over) and aren’t to be missed. This set, however, was different to the many times I’ve seen them before. If you ask me, I’ll tell you their set at The Brighton Dome is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen before (and, to this day, one of, if not, the best concert I’ve ever been to), but this was incredible again. It seemed like a weird cyclical thing. Last year, just after the release of their debut album, “My Love Is Cool”, they played Glastonbury Festival and then this year, after a whirlwind year of constant touring, almost exactly a year on from the original Glastonbury performance that sparked it all, they played the same festival on a much larger stage, with many more fans. It seems like the end of an era. Ellie (Rowsell, lead singer) was even wearing a gold dress, perhaps to symbolise the album artwork, and it felt as though they were perhaps winding down and preparing for another album- or so we can hope! The set saw guitarist Joff Oddie’s poor hand covered in blood by the end and Ellie jumped down into the crowd at the end to high five fans (and she even hugged a young fan). Their gratitude radiated through the faultless set. Ellie even stated that her and Joff had entered the annual “Emerging Talent Competition” a few years back (this “made up for it” apparently) but hadn’t been selected- look at them now! It’s incredible to think how big things have gotten for Wolf Alice. They played songs such as “You’re a Germ”, “Bros” and, latest single, “Lisbon”, as well as a few b-sides and EP tracks, such as “Blush” and (Grammy nominated) “Moaning Lisa Smile”. They’re a firm favourite at Worthy Farm and I’m sure this performance is only the start of a long stint of successful Glasto sets.

Madness managed to pull in one of the largest crowds of the weekend. It was an audience composed of all ages and provided great family entertainment- Suggs was particularly excited to see the staggered ages. It was a hit fuelled set and managed to put a smile on everyone’s faces. The band genuinely looked like they were having the time of their lives and were joined by their families on stage at the end. Madness played an array of their most popular songs, from “Baggy Trousers” and “Wings of a Dove” to “House of Fun” and “Our House”. They took a short ‘encore’, by turning round and waiting for people to clap and scream enough to warrant more songs, for they didn’t have time to go off stage, before they closed with a whole crowd sing along to “It Must Be Love”.  There was also a very odd cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and an emotional Bowie tribute with a cover of “Kooks”. The set was hilarious, fun and family friendly.

Shortly after Madness dazzled a huge crowd on the Pyramid Stage, Tom Odell took to the stage on the Other Stage. Tom Odell is a hugely talented singer-songwriter, who is perhaps best known for “that song in the John Lewis Christmas advert” (“Real Love”, John Lennon cover), who has recently released his brilliant second album, “Wrong Crowd”, after 3 years. Tom Odell sat at his piano and played throughout the set, but ventured away from the piano at points in order to sing and interact with the crowd. His sets feel intimate and personal, as well as highly emotional. Odell has an incredibly special voice, complimented by his “Wrong Crowd” band, which works well and thrives in a setting like this. His songs are appealing to all and his wonderful showmanship, despite being behind the piano most of the time, is second to none. He played all the big songs from the first album, “Long Way Down”, including “Another Love”, “Can’t Pretend” and “Grow Old With Me”. He also played songs from his latest album including “Concrete”, “Wrong Crowd” and “Magnetised”, which was the latest single. He ended up stood on top of the piano at the end of his set, which was quite impressive, too.  His set was “exquisite”, to quote my dad, and he’s bound to gain popularity whilst touring with the latest album. Tom Odell appeals to everyone, so I’d strongly urge you to have a listen!

The 1975 played an incredible set on Saturday afternoon on The Other Stage. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting anything much from the set prior to seeing it as I’d last seen The 1975 at Radio One’s Big Weekend, when they didn’t seem to want to be there and it was all a bit embarrassing. This, on the other hand, was something else. The 1975 are finally back and Matty Healy (lead singer) is back on top form. The set was brilliant and captivating with a similar live set up to how they’ve been touring for nearly the last year (with the light blocks). Their production is always impressive and works particularly well at festivals like this, as it’s as much about the art as it is about the music. I particularly loved Matty Healy’s speech about the EU before “Loving Someone” (Ellie Goulding was even spotted showing her support for the band and their speech from the front of the stage). The set proved the band’s capabilities and suggested they could go on to play higher up on the festival line-up (“see you in a few years” Healy said whilst leaving). George Daniel (drummer), whilst still not drumming, managed to pass Healy his guitar during the set too, which achieved a huge round of applause from the crowd. Healy had the odd cigarette between songs and danced throughout in his wonderful white suit and with his brilliant new haircut (a fringe- the highlight of my weekend). He made the crowd jump during “The Sound”, from their latest album, ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’. The also played other songs from iliwysfyasbysuoi (oh my), such as “Love Me” and “A Change of Heart”, as well as many songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, including “Chocolate”, “Girls” and “Sex”. They even managed to squeeze “You” in from their pre debut album EP, “Sex”. It was a move appreciated by many big fans and enjoyed by those who didn’t know it as much too. Overall it was a triumphant set thoroughly enjoyed by many.

If you don’t know Tame Impala you’re missing out. Tame Impala are an Australian psychedelic rock band who won the “Best International Group” award at the Brit awards 2016. The band’s music is infused with psychedelic twists, which prove popular with a live audience. The set up is interesting and was complimented by a large LED screen at the back of the stage featuring many moving graphics. They played songs such as “Let It Happen” and “The Less I Know The Better”, both of which are from 2015’s “Currents”, as well as many songs from previous albums and a Mark Ronson cover of “Daffodils” (Kevin Parker, lead singer, played a DJ set with Ronson that weekend too). The set was the perfect warm up for headliner Adele.

Adele headlined the Saturday of the festival. It was the second time she’s played the festival- the first time she played she played the Guardian tea tent years ago just before Florence and the Machine. Adele is a globally recognised and loved artist, which made this so special. The set was the talk of the weekend as many were eager to see Adele and her potty mouth headline a festival like Glastonbury for, really, the first time. Adele opened with comeback single “Hello” (to a backdrop of her blinking eyes). It was an incredibly strong opening to the set, as the whole crowd sang along with her. “Fucking hell” were the first words she muttered as she began performing. I love how her singing voice and speaking voice and mannerisms totally juxtapose one another. She goes from singing in an angelic voice to cursing the next minute in a thick cockney accent in a hilariously comedic way and it all seems totally natural.

Adele let us into many personal anecdotes throughout the set. She told “us”, as though we were her best mates gathered in her living room having a cup of tea with her, about the absence of a “Skyfall” video and the fact she’d been watching Muse from her house the night before and joked that she almost didn’t come. She made remarks about the mud and toilet situation throughout (as though she was ‘one of us’), stating that she had been coming to the festival for years. At this point she pulled a young girl out of the crowd for a selfie and a chat, it was incredibly special to watch.

Nestled between songs, spanning across all three of her albums, such as “Water Under The Bridge” (one of her only “not depressing” songs, apparently, as she dismissed the critics for branding her songs too “depressing”, although we can all be “depressed together”, and suggested they “wouldn’t be watching” anyway), “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” and “Rolling in the Deep”, there was a medical emergency (which she spoke through, telling stories of grannies and drunk middle aged women and watched as help was gotten), foreign fans up on stage and booing of hometowns (“there will be no booing at one of my concerts; we’re all one big happy family”). She played a Bob Dylan cover of “Make You Feel My Love”, which “broke and fixed her heart” when she first heard it. At points the audience were encouraged to use the torches on their phone to create a sea of lights, at other points there was confetti and at other points Adele was in the heart of the crowd (wearing a fez). Adele played “River Lea” for the first time, although she had to restart during the first verse to make sure it was perfect as she was out of breath from dancing.

She played a two song encore. Before coming on to play “When We Were Young” a video played of her first Glastonbury performance. Adele suggested that she agreed to do the festival whilst watching Kanye West headline last year with organiser Emily Eavis. “When We Were Young” was highly emotional and definitely a highlight of the set for me. Behind her were various clips and photos of her as a child and it made the it more special and personal. With her face plastered through a projection onto the side of the Pyramid Stage, Adele closed with “Someone Like You”, the song which got her the ‘big break’. This was incredible and the atmosphere was buzzing.

Adele is an artist who you almost didn’t want to sing. I could literally have listened to her talk for an hour and a half and still have had a brilliant time. She’s effortlessly funny and full of incredible stories. It felt unimaginably intimate and special, as though she was talking to the audience personally despite it being broadcast all over the world live. Yes, she curses and makes hilariously savage remarks (“you still live with your mother”), but she’s undeniably talented and brilliant. Her set was definitely one of my highlights of the weekend and I’d love to be able to see her again. It lived up to all my expectations.

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Glastonbury Festival 2016- Saturday 25th June 2016