This is the second of four blog posts about the festival weekend. You can find the first post and the ‘introduction’, if you like, here.
Whilst this post is about the Friday of the festival, I saw a handful of brilliant acts on the Thursday evening and thought it’d be worth giving them a quick review too. Whilst the music technically doesn’t start until Friday, there’s always the odd act which plays on the Thursday evening. We managed to see three live bands (Clean Cut Kid, DMA’s and Rat Boy) on Thursday evening on the William’s Green stage- one of my favourite stages of the whole festival. William’s Green is an incredible little stage. It’s a stage which bursts with “new” talent, with the odd surprise. I suppose I have so much affection for it because last year I saw artists like Swim Deep and Palma Violets play sweaty little energetic shows there which had a totally different dynamic to their other performances, incidentally on the Other Stage, across the weekend.
THURSDAY 23RD JUNE 2016
CLEAN CUT KID– Clean Cut Kid were a pleasant surprise to see hidden among the line-up. I had wanted to see them, having heard them being played at work and on the radio, for a while as I love how chilled out and cool they are. They played a short set compared to many of the acts across the weekend, but they managed to satisfy a music hungry crowd (and it’s very hard to follow the hype and enthusiasm of a The Smiths tribute act, called The Smyths). They’ve got that Of Monsters and Men and The Lumineers feel about them. They’re a band to keep an eye on and I recommend you have a listen to “Vitamin C” or “Runaway”.
RAT BOY– I felt a bit sorry for Rat Boy. Unlike Clean Cut Kid, they weren’t previously listed on the line up for that slot. It was simply labelled “live band”. Whilst I was overjoyed about it being Rat Boy (knowing I would miss him playing on the John Peel Stage on the Friday), there were plenty of perplexed people there thinking it would be someone ‘huge’- the Radiohead rumours were rife throughout the weekend. Whilst not Thom Yorke, Rat Boy played an energetic and fun set. They played songs such as “Left For Dead”, “Sign On” and “Move” as the tent gradually thinned out. The crowd weren’t really feeling it and it looked as though the Essex lads were having a pretty painful time with a crowd that was almost dire. Rat Boy gigs are often hot and sweaty with plenty of “moshing” and dancing. This, on the other hand, was an hour or so of Cardy (Jordan Cardy or ‘Rat Boy’) shouting “JUMP” at a crowd with no intention of moving, other than out of the tent. The attempt at a “wall of death” style move was particularly hilarious to witness. Nonetheless, they played an incredible set, it just wasn’t really appreciated by the middle aged, ever hopeful Radiohead fans.
FRIDAY 24TH JUNE 2016
This year the Friday of the festival was headlined by Muse. It was a day filled with an eclectic bunch of music, rain (including non-waterproof jackets), sun and plenty of mud. Acts across the day included James, Skepta, ZZ Top and Foals.
Everything seemed to be going wrong for those working at The Other Stage on Friday morning. The main area surrounding the stage had been fenced off to allow the preservation of the last remaining green patches of mud and the recovery of the land prior to the mad rush of people, but when it’s 10 o’clock (and the first act is due on at 11) and you’ve still got wood chippings to put out, tractors to move and a, erm, wall to build, you’ve got a few problems. After a somewhat wild (yet, attempted to be controlled by specialised security) rampage, The Other Stage was opened by none other than Michael Eavis (the first of a few lucky sightings) cutting a red ribbon before 80s band James took to the stage. I grew up listening to James in my dad’s car, so I was weirdly looking forward to seeing them. Granted, I only knew one song prior to seeing them (that being “Sit Down”, which they, devastatingly, didn’t play), but they managed to impress a crowded field of fans. They dedicated “Sometimes” to none other than Michael Eavis, as, apparently, “when you look into his eyes you can see his soul” or something. They managed to embody the spirit of the festival as Tim Booth (lead singer) got into the crowd multiple times, managed to crowd surf and ended up with a beautiful mud smear across his forehead (and finished the show with it). Eavis branded them “one of the best bands of the 80s” and they certainly did deliver a brilliant set filled with new and old songs.
Stockport’s finest, Blossoms, played on the Other Stage for the first time this year. Blossoms are an incredibly talented new, up and coming band. If you’ve not listened to them yet I strongly urge you to do so (as I do believe they’re about to become huge). They played songs such as “Getaway”, “At Most a Kiss” and “Blown Rose”. They dedicated “Charlemagne” to their late friends in Viola Beach- the first of many Viola Beach tributes across the weekend. Viola Beach were touring with Blossoms when they, and manager Craig Tarry, were tragically killed in a car accident. The band also played “My Favourite Room”, which is a new song. Blossoms are brilliant and can be found at pretty much every festival this summer as well as on tour this autumn, it’d be stupid not to see them whilst you can.
Two Door Cinema Club are well and truly back. At this point on the Friday afternoon it was pouring with rain. The pouring rain over the Pyramid Stage juxtaposed the sun kissed indie rock of Two Door Cinema Club’s set and was almost even distracting. The band played songs from their two previous albums, “Beacon” and “Tourist History”, as well as their latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” from their new album “Gameshow”, which is due for release this October. They also played the title song, “Gameshow”, from the album. The Irish lads managed to win the crowd over in the rain by playing the upbeat hits, such as “Undercover Martyn” and “Something Good Can Work”, before ending with the hugely popular “What You Know”- which even my dad knew. Everyone (surely) knows, or at least recognises, a Two Door Cinema Club song, which is what makes them so fascinating to watch. I think the band are back and better than ever and I look forward to seeing them (hopefully) lots over the next year, with their new album.
Jess Glynne, accompanied by her live band and two dancers, played the Pyramid Stage at the festival and made the sun come out. She wore the most incredible green suit, too (on a completely unrelated note). Jess Glynne had to pull out last year, due to illness, so it was exciting to see her come back and play at the festival this year. She played an optimistic, fun set, perfect for a Friday afternoon. She played songs from her debut album, “I Cry When I Laugh”, such as “Hold My Hand”, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” and “Take Me Home”, as well as emotional acoustic version of “My Love”, for her parents, and songs which she collaborated with the equally as brilliant Clean Bandit on (“Rather Be” and “Real Love”). Glynne was just one of the strong female artists I saw over the weekend and she shone a beacon of light for the women in music. It was incredibly refreshing and inspiring to see someone like Jess Glynne play high up at a prestigious festival like this. She was one of the best acts over the weekend, too!
Just before Muse took to the stage Oxford’s Foals played. Allegedly, the festival wanted Foals for The Libertines’s surprise slot last year, so it was hardly surprising (especially after the success of their latest album, “What Went Down”) that they were asked to play this year. They played a nostalgic set filled with old and new songs. “My Number”, from “Holy Fire”, always gets the crowd going and warmed the crowd up for Muse. They also played songs, such as “Snake Oil”, “Mountain At My Gates”, “What Went Down” and, the lengthy, chilled, “A Knife In The Ocean”, from the newest album. These songs proved popular with the Worthy Farm crowd. The PR and sound broke during the last song, “Two Steps, Twice”, but it was amazing to see the band still going on unfazed and unaware nonetheless. They played a triumphant set and proved worthy of their huge set. They’re definitely headliners of the future. The band will co-headline Reading and Leeds later this year.
Muse headlined the Friday night of Glastonbury Festival, on the Pyramid Stage. They played off of the back of their recent arena tour, with their latest album “Drones”. Whilst there were no drones on site, as it was not allowed by the farm, the set proved simply mind blowing to watch. I’ve never been hugely into Muse, but even I thought this set was something else. They opened, behind and through doors, with “Psycho”, after a tape had played. There was a huge graphic of a military figure plastered across all the screens saying things like “I am a psycho killer”, which is quite disturbing and unsettling. The band know how to put on a show though. Matt Bellamy’s (lead singer) singing and guitar playing were perfectly executed and added to the buzzing atmosphere over the night. They played songs, such as “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Madness”, to which the crowd sung along. The songs were cut up by various clips and tapes, such as a speech by JFK. It was all very cleverly put together- their production (and stage presence) is definitely worthy of such a big slot. Muse ended with a three song encore (before being cut due to curfew). They played “Uprising”, “Mercy” and “Knights of Cydonia” as the encore and left the crowd wanting more as they exited the stage at just got twelve! The band pulled off a tricky set with ease. Live settings, like this, definitely do them justice.