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.