James Beeson, Editor, gives his run down of the five acts that impressed him at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
1) The Libertines – Friday 26th June, 8:20pm, The Pyramid Stage
With Dave Grohl deciding to take a tumble in Gothenburg, Florence and the Machine were given their chance to shine on the biggest stage of them all. However, Miss Welch and co. were ultimately outshone by their own replacements second from top on the bill on Friday night. From a musical perspective, The Libertines aren’t all that impressive; they are rusty, out of sync and a little lost on the vast expanse of the Pyramid stage. Nonetheless, the sheer buzz surrounding the vacant slot on the bill, the wild rumours and the surprise when the curtains fell to reveal Carl, Pete, John and Gary made for a magical moment that will live long in Glastonbury folklore.
Rattling through a 70 minute set at a frenetic pace, The Libertines delight the huge crowd with hits such as ‘What A Waster’, ‘Don’t Look Back Into the Sun’ and ‘Boys In The Band’ as well as highly promising new material from their upcoming album; ‘You’re My Waterloo’ being a personal highlight. Frontmen Carl Barat and Pete Doherty appear to have patched up their differences, but the utterly chaotic and volatile nature of the band’s performances remains firmly intact. The Libertines may not have been the most polished, or even the most talented act of the weekend, but they sure as hell were one of the most fun.
2) The Maccabees – Saturday 27th June, 7:05pm, The Other Stage
Prior to their arrival on stage, my enthusiasm to see London 5 piece The Maccabees was somewhat luke-warm, having previously seen and been underwhelmed by the band. Fast forward an hour or so, however, and my opinion is somewhat different. The Maccabees are tight, energetic and above all else humble, with lead singer Orlando Weeks constantly thanking the audience for their support. As well as playing hits such as ‘Precious Time’ and ‘Pelican’, which they dedicated to the onlooking Florence Welch, The band play rare fan favourite ‘Latchmere’ and invite their friend and ‘hero’ Jamie T onstage for new song ‘Marks To Prove It.’
The Maccabees perhaps sometimes fail to get the recognition they deserve due to their inoffensive and charming nature, both musically and as a band. However, on the back of this performance, they are a band that has the ability to go all the way to the top, and should be treated as such.
3) La Roux – Saturday 27th June, 9:05pm, John Peel Stage
Energy, style and hits; Three things electronic synth act La Roux have in abundance. Elly Jackson and her band absolutely blitz the John Peel Stage on Saturday night, playing large swathes of material from her highly impressive second album Trouble in Paradise. Famous hits such as ‘In For the Kill’ and ‘Bulletproof’ draw the largest cheers from the audience, but it is the new material, with songs such as the infectiously charming ‘Kiss and Not Tell.’ and 80 funk inspired ‘Uptown Downtown’ which are the most memorable of the set. La Roux strut their stuff on the John Peel stage with confidence and panache, refusing to be deterred by some of the audience (foolishly) leaving early to catch Kanye on the Pyramid stage.
Since her split with producer Ben Langmaid, Jackson appears to have only gotten better, and with two critically acclaimed albums already under her belt, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see La Roux headlining the Other Stage or high up on the Pyramid sometime in the near future.
4) Fat White Family – Sunday 28th June, 4:30pm, The Park Stage
I knew little about Fat White Family prior to their set at The Park on Sunday afternoon, and only went on the recommendation of a friend who knows one of the band members. I had been told they were ‘quite heavy’ and hence had braced myself for a wall of impenetrable noise. However, what I discovered was something far more sophisticated and intense than many ‘conservative’ British indie rock bands. With elements of the likes of Fidlar and Howler, and songs about oral sex and pedophilia, Fat White Family are certainly not your average two step indie pop band.
The band make little attempt to converse with the audience throughout their set, and lead singer Lias Saoudi is far from your stereotypical sexy rockstar, greasy and bedraggled, dressed in ripped jeans and flashing his pubes whenever the opportunity arises, it is easy to be disgusted by Fat White Family. Nevertheless, there is a strange beauty about their dark material. ‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth’ provokes a stonking reaction from the audience, who paw furiously at Saoudi as he approaches them. Fat White Family might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they certainly far exceeded my own expectations with a thoroughly enjoyable mid-afternoon set.
5) Jamie T – Sunday 28th June, 8:15pm, The Other Stage
Okay, so I’ll admit, I was absolutely desperate to see Jamie T before Glastonbury, having missed the Wimbledon based troubadour when he headlined the John Peel tent at my first festival in 2010. Nevertheless, this, if anything, only raised my expectations before the 29-year-old singer/songwriter took to The Other Stage as the sun began to set on the final day of the festival. I’m pleased to report that Treays did not disappoint in the slightest.
Swaggering onto the stage and displaying none of the anxiety previously attributed to the artist in the past, Treays plays a mixture of old favourites such as ‘368’ and ‘If You Got the Money’ and new tracks such as ‘Rabbit Hole’ and ‘Don’t You Find’, all of which are received gloriously by the adulating crowd. He even takes a swipe at Saturday’s headliner, “I don’t think anyone at this festival is gonna look as nervous as Kanye West did on that crane,” before declaring Florence and the Machine’s headline performance as the greatest “of all time.”
Treays basks in the glorious sunshine and laps up the plaudits, before closing his set with ‘Sticks & Stones’ and ‘Zombie’, which generate a mass mosh pit and near ecstasy amongst the crowd. Jamie T; it’s good to have you back.