Friday 20 June 2008

once again without emotion....

Earworms of the Week - Glastonbury edition

It's the last earworms slot before I head off to Glastonbury next week... so it seems appropriate that I do a list themed around bands that I'm hoping to see at the festival. There seems to have been a huge amount of fuss made about the supposed lack of quality on the lineup this year, but you'd be a fool to let any of that nonsense put you off. To be perfectly honest, I never really bother to pay the lineup too much attention before I get there. All the best laid plans and carefully planned schedules can quickly go to pieces in the face of a bit of mud, a drop or two of cider or simply laziness. There's so much to see that you'll go mad if you don't just relax and take it as it comes. Having said that, you might be wise to have at least a cursory look at the schedule, or else you are in serious danger of accidentally catching a band as monumentally awful as Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong - who are playing no fewer than three times in various places at the festival this year.

After a quick glance at the lineup, here are the ones that jump out at me.

> Oh My God - Ida Maria (Other stage, Friday)

She's one of those people who 'sees' music as colours, apparently. Hmmm. She's shouty scandinavian indie rock, anyway, and I first saw her on "Later..." performing this song. As is often the way on that programme, I was sort of expecting not to be impressed and was just marking time before James played, when actually this song grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let me go. I'd really like to see her performing live, and it looks as though at about 11.30 on Friday morning, I'm going to get my chance. I should be able to hear this stage from the place where we usually pitch our tent, but I hope I'm going to be prepared to make a bit of an effort and actually walk down the hill to have a proper look.

> Oxford Comma - Vampire Weekend (Other stage, Friday)

They're very 'of the moment' and are playing a few times over the weekend, I think, but this is the time I'd be most likely to catch them, I think. Their blending of New York indie with vaguely African sounding guitars probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I like them. This song in particular is a corker. There aren't enough sweary songs about punctuation, are there?

> Slow Show - The National (John Peel stage, Sunday)

It will be a bit of an epic trek if I can make it from the Leftfield tent where I will have been watching Billy Bragg, over the top of the Pyramid stage, where the Verve will be closing the festival, and over to the John Peel Stage, but I would really, really like to catch a bit of this band. I discovered their album a little bit late, but it's effortlessly the best thing I've heard in the last 12 months or so. Real slow-burning genius. Chances are I won't be arsed, but it will be very much my loss, I'm sure. Perhaps it's heresy, but maybe I should try and watch the Braggster on one of performances at the festival and make sure I turn up here early doors? (like that's going to happen!)

> Aggro - The Enemy(Other stage, Friday)

They're unpromising looking scallies from Coventry, but it only took the first ten seconds of this, the first track on their album, to realise that this band have really got something. Plus, we'll get to shout out that line about "to stay at home with RICHARD AND JOO-DAY" when they play "away from here".

> The Bucket - Kings of Leon (Pyramid Stage, Friday)

Some people raised an eyebrow when they saw that the KoL were headlining Friday night at the festival... but not me. They're a great band and they play pedal-to-the-metal southern styled rock and roll. They're going to absolutely nail it and it's going to be brilliant. Just don't expect to hear Caleb Followhill say or sing a single word that you can understand... they will still be the coolest band at the festival and - most importantly - THEY ROCK!

> Turn Tail - The Young Knives (John Peel Stage / The Queen's Head, Friday)

A great band and I would imagine an extremely good festival band as they have quite a lot of sing-a-long songs about loneliness and alienation. Yay! Feel good! The sun's out, so let's all sing along to a song about an accountant gassing himself in his garage!

> One Day Like This - Elbow (Other Stage, Saturday)

Elbow will be brilliant full stop, but I'm picking this song because it will definitely have the best crowd sing-a-long of the festival. Guaranteed.

> This Old House - Shakin' Stevens (Pyramid Stage, Saturday)

Well, you have to, don't you?

> Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond (Pyramid Stage, Sunday)

Ditto. It's either this or "I'm a Believer", innit? The man's a songwriting legend, and the sunday afternoon slot at Glastonbury, a slot where I have previously seen Van Morrisson, Brian Wilson and Jimmy Cliff seems just about perfect.

> New England - Billy Bragg (Leffield, Sunday)

Well, he's usually a festival highlight.... He's playing at the festival three times in all this year, and I may well see him elsewhere this year, but this is where it's at. I may end up missing the National just so I can see Billy in his element in the Worker's tent at the Leftfield. Keep the red flag flying, brother. Not to mention the fact that the Leftfield tent has the cleanest toilets on the site - cleaned every hour by the workers co-op - with soap and everything. And it's near the cider bus....

> Robots - Flight of the Conchords (wherever I am, all weekend)

They're not actually playing, but there's always one song that sinks into my head that has nothing to do with the festival at all and I just can't stop singing it. Last year it was "Carry on my Wayward Son" by Kansas, and I have a feeling that this year it's going to be this wonderful piece of nonsense by New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody duo.

The humans are dead
The humans are dead
Yay, dead, dead, dead.
We used poisonous gasses
(With traces of lead)
To poison their asses.
(Actually their lungs)
Binary solo:

Genius. If you're coming to the festival with me.... you have been warned.


Would I watch Jay-Z? Yes I would. I've nothing against the man, and "99 Problems" is just a great record, isn't it? As it happens, I'll either be watching Massive Attack or the Proclaimers when he's due onstage... so....

Of course, I may very well not watch any of this lot, and may spend my time in the circus tent learning how to juggle with fire instead... but that wouldn't be time wasted either, eh?

Hey - have a good weekend y'all.



    Flight of the Conchords are brilliant - this is my favourite of theirs. We saw them in Edinburgh a few years ago before they made it big time and they may just be the funniest folk music parody duo I've ever seen in my life. And Jemaine is gorgeous in a nerdy sort of way (the best way as far as I'm concerned).

    Enjoy Glastonbury - my son is off there for his first time this year, wellies and waterproof poncho already packed.

  2. Good to hear that you're planning to see Neil Diamond - as a live performer, he is quite simply without equal.

  3. I got to track three of the National album today before I had to turn it off. It was some of the most turgid growling I have heard for *years*....

  4. Looking forward to investigating The National - Olav's been raving about them for a few years now. Can't quite believe they're headlining above Spiritualized, but there you go.

    Not got the new Young Knives album, but they're always worth a watch too.

    Still rather sceptical about Vampire Weekend, and I seem to remember they look as though they're going to clash with someone I really want to see, but I may end up catching them too.

    Enjoy The Enemy - I'll be as far away as humanly possible...

  5. The National are a treat live, so I would recommend them if humanly possible. I'll be there, certainly. Probably stood with Ben marvelling at the wonders of Spiritualized.

    Vampire Weekend are lovely live, actually. They almost make more sense on stage than on record. And Elbow are just sublime, one of the main acts I'm looking forward to!

  6. Check out the National's earlier albums if you get the chance, they're even better than Boxer.