Monday, 7 July 2014

it's the last time you will!

(Glastonbury) Earworms of the Week

Sorry to be predictable, but let’s put this year’s Glastonbury to bed in the traditional manner with a set of earworms. To be honest, it would be quite dishonest to pretend that I’ve been humming anything else (with the possible exception of Billy Joel….)

Also sorry to be late, but y'know.  Poo-based explosions, lost broadband and all that.

I Predict a Riot” – Kaiser Chiefs
Hanging on the Telephone” – Blondie

The first two acts on the Other Stage on Friday lunchtime. The Kaiser Chiefs were the “Special Guests” and came on first. Well, I suppose it could have been worse: in 2013 we had Beady Eye in this slot and I was treated to the appalling spectre of Liam Gallagher’s sulky whine and brainless lyrics. Ugh. That day, we were rescued by the Hives. This time around, it wasn’t quite that bad. Perhaps wisely, they came on to “I Predict a Riot”, and within a few minutes the crowd had doubled. They weren’t terrible, but their earlier stuff is much better than their later stuff, and Ricky Wilson seemed determined to show off his newfound fitness by running as fast as he could all the way along the stage. A lot. Yes, yes. We get it. Blondie were on next and played to a predictably enormous crowd. They were pretty good. I’ve read some reviews that have suggested that Debbie Harry doesn’t have it any more, but I disagree: she was great. With songs like this, you can’t really go wrong can you?

Video Games” – Lana Del Rey

I didn’t pay a great deal of attention when she played on Sunday afternoon, but I was sat at the very back of the Pyramid arena enjoying the sunshine and just listened. She sounded good; icy cool. What came across most clearly to me is what a good song this is and how well she delivered it. Perhaps if I’d been paying more attention, I might have been bored… but as it was, this was just fine.

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” – Manic Street Preachers

The Manics are about to release the 12th album of their career, and they seem to be in rude health. They played on Saturday evening, just before the Pixies (and just before I left to watch Metallica), and they had an absolutely massive crowd. They seemed in good spirits too, and opened their set with “Motorcycle Emptiness” before playing a set heavy on the hits and including two songs from “The Holy Bible”, an album that they’re apparently thinking about touring on it’s 20th anniversary. Well, I’ll be all over that if it happens. I could have picked almost any song on the setlist, to be honest, including the new ones, but I’m picking this because it prompted an enormous singalong that brought a huge smile to Nicky Wire’s face. As he said at the end of the song, he’s so proud that they got a song with these politics to number one in the UK singles chart. Fantastic band. The new album is out on Monday.

Jolene” – Dolly Parton

Obviously. Was she miming? Perhaps, but she drew an absolutely vast crowd and was very, very entertaining. At one point, we were treated to her playing the theme tune to Benny Hill on a tiny, rhinestone studded saxophone. A little later on, just when I thought things couldn’t get any stranger, Dolly brought on Richie Sambora to play with her on a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me”. All very well, but this had to be the highlight, didn’t it?

The Devil Takes Care of his Own” – Band of Skulls

Until I saw Metallica, Band of Skulls were the rockest band that I saw. You can’t say fairer than that, can you? Not too shabby for a three-piece, either.

The Milkman of Human Kindness” – Billy Bragg

He’s a Glastonbury fixture, obviously. I didn’t spend all that much time at the Leftfield this year, but I did make a point of heading straight over there after Elbow finished their fantastic sundowner set to catch the Braggster. As we arrived, he was just playing “Sexuality” and from there on he was magnificent. He didn’t just sing, of course, but also took the time to preach to the converted. To my ears, he sometimes comes across as hopelessly naïve. When he talks about how we need to unionise so that someone can represent us to “the bosses”, I couldn’t help but wonder who he thought “the bosses” were. Still, his heart is clearly in the right place, and why would you want to criticise him for his perpetual optimism?

Buffalo Soldier” – The Wailers

I had been thinking about cutting my trip to West Holts short to get back across to the Pyramid stage to watch the Black Keys, but in the end, I’m really glad that I stayed. The sun was out, and how can you go wrong listening to Bob Marley’s band playing some of their hits? They had a pretty big crowd and we all enjoyed a lovely sing-song to some of the best songs ever written. I don’t spend enough time with my wife, but we did share this and it was lovely.

Creeping Death” – Metallica
For Whom the Bell Tolls” – Metallica

How could I write this list and not finish with Metallica? After a career of more than thirty years at the top, it seems odd to see them in the role of underdog, but they genuinely were. Anyone who’s ever seen them play live before would have been in no doubt about their ability to deliver…. Nevermind the press, even on the day of their set itself, we were sharing a table in the Tiny Tea Tent with a young couple, and both of them remarked upon my Metallica t-shirt, said it was the first they had seen and wondering if anyone was going to turn up to watch them. People turned up. Initially it was a committed crowd at the front, a bit of a gap and the curious-but-scared at the back, but it grew and grew, and by the time they played “Enter Sandman”, they a huge crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. I was in heaven throughout. I loved it all, but one thing that really stood out for me was the quality of the songs they played from “Ride the Lightning”. I’ve listened to “Master of Puppets” a lot over the last few months, but when the band came on to “Creeping Death” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, and later on played “Fade to Black”, it prompted me to dig the album out when I got home. I’ve also now downloaded the whole of their set from the LiveMetallica.com website (they offer up high quality audio from the sound desk), and I’ve not listened to much else since. DO YOU WANT HEAVY? METALLICA GIVES YOU HEAVY!
(Do you think James Hetfield always talks in the third person? “Metallica wants a biscuit with their cup of tea….” I like to think so…
Word up here for Rodrigo and Gabriela, who were C's favourite band of the weekend and who rocked the Pyramid at lunchtime on Friday with their flamenco guitar cover of "Orion" *makes devil horns* (Metallica were her second favourite, and she's not even a fan!)

Oh, that’ll do for now. I’ve gone on about this enough. Test Match week in Nottingham this week! One of my favourites.

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