19.40, New Stage
From drug fiends to songs about drug fiends. Yes, it could only be THE DELGADOS. As if to emphasise that they feel far more at home in their own world of junkies, depravity and grim concrete tenement blocks than in a field in Somerset, Emma Pollock complains about the quality of the strong cider available from the beer tents: “It’s warm, it’s flat and it’s pish” (she does say more, but as it’s in nervously mumbled Glaswegian it remains incomprehensible to the vast majority of the audience, including yours truly). Meanwhile, fellow vocalist / guitarist Alun Woodward looks, as usual, like a startled rabbit who’s been let out of his hutch to play on the motorway. What feels like a deceptively short set starts off in grand fashion with ‘The Light Before We Land’, and takes in all four singles from their last two LPs – ‘American Trilogy’, ‘Hate Is All You Need’, ‘Coming In From The Cold’ and ‘No Danger’. The highlights, though, are the sinister yet beautiful nursery rhyme from Hate, ‘Child Killers’, and The Great Eastern’s ‘Thirteen Gliding Principles’, with which it is juxtaposed and which surges and rages to force home the point that The Delgados can and do rock. I’m reminded to thank once again the friend who strongly recommended that I see them in Birmingham back in February – that gig marked the start of a blossoming relationship.