Wednesday, 1 July 2009

My top ten acts from Glastonbury

Here is the top ten bands I saw over the Glastonbury weekend (as printed in theBath Chronicle and Somerset Standard and Guardian of July 2...)

Glastonbury is many things to many people but it is, and always must be, about the music first and foremost. Here, then, is my opinion of the top 10 acts that really got my wellies wobbling . . .

1 Bruce Springsteen. I know this is a bit obvious, but he really was magnificent. For my full review of a peerless set from a peerless performer see elsewhere.
2. The Gaslight Anthem. This is a band everyone should get into – and probably now will. They hail from Springsteen’s New Jersey home and combine his gutsy rock passion with a Clash-style musical approach to make for a brilliant cocktail. They were sensational – even more so when Springsteen unexpectedly turned up on stage for their greatest song, The 59 Sound. Check them out. Now.
3. Hugh Cornwell. A truly stunning show of great solo and Strangler material from Box’s finest. The old fella went down an absolute storm with a far rockier set than the ‘acoustic stage’ position suggested. Top class.
4. Glasvegas. I love this band and they really delivered their dark, feedback-dominated sound in style to the delight of their fans. Truly the next headlining big stadium act. You read it here first.
5. Echo And The Bunnymen. Faced with Blur or The Prodigy on the two main stages as Sunday night headliners, I instead chose to go to the John Peel tent to see indie heroes Echo And The Bunnymen – and I definitely made the right choice. They were brilliant, doing the whole of their Ocean Rain album from start to finish and then a clutch of singles. The Cutter was possibly THE song of the weekend for me. Amazing.
6. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s. A real discovery for me. I had only heard a couple of their tracks but decided to check them out – and they were pure quality. I don’t listen to nearly enough bands with female-singers but I will make an exception here. A pleasant surprise.
7. The Specials. As good as you could hope for despite front man Terry Hall still looking like the most miserable man in music. I thought Ghost Town would be the song we would all remember but even that was eclipsed by A Message To You Rudi and Do Nothing which were both wonderful.
8. Bloc Party. A punchy, original band who produced a great, uplifting set late on Friday night.
9.F****d Up. My son Oli, recommended these and they were great fun. Part of the semi-screamo enclave but with a sense of humour most of them don’t possess and a superb front man.
10. Friendly Fires. One of the joys of a festival is taking time out to see a band you have vaguely heard about but wouldn’t normally watch. This was such a case – and I am glad I made the effort. Funky, modern pop with attitude.
11 Spinal Tap. I know this is a top 10 but anyone who knows anything about Spinal Tap would know you are ALLOWED to go up to 11 with them. OK, they weren’t that great but I am just pleased to have seen Nigel, David, Derek and a nameless drummer (!) in the flesh as well having the chance to sing along about pink torpedoes.
Sam Holliday

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