Sunday, July 07, 2019

Glastonbury 2019: an armchair report

It's now eight years since I last went to Glastonbury (or to the festival, at least). After all this time, surely it would be safe to dip into the BBC iPlayer highlights without running the risk of reawakening my insane jealousy at anyone fortunate enough to be there in person? Not so. Barely a minute into my viewing, I was wishing I was back on Worthy Farm.

The damage having already been done, though, I ploughed on, sampling a few different sets...

The Cure (Pyramid Stage): Ah, so THAT's why I should own Disintegration...

Cat Power (The Park): Unbelievably (to me, at least), there was nothing at all from The Greatest in her set - and yet the performance was still spellbinding. It sent me straight back to Wanderer, and in particular the absolutely gorgeous 'Horizon'.

Stormzy (Pyramid Stage): Say what you like, but there's no doubting he owned that stage. Chris Martin, though - WTF?!

Interpol (John Peel Stage): A real dud. Paul Banks' lyrics have always been duff, but the strength of his voice has made up for it - but not on this occasion.

Chemical Brothers (Other Stage): I'd rashly said there was nothing on the Pyramid or Other Stages that would have drawn me in - but that was completely forgetting how good Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons usually are in this context.

Jon Hopkins (West Holts Stage): I guess you really had to be there - but I'm also sure that if you were, it was great.

Fontaines DC (John Peel Stage): I'm increasingly feeling as though Fontaines DC and I got off on the wrong foot. The last-minute stand-ins for Sam Fender were on top form for their first set of the weekend. Apparently their last - in the Rabbit Hole at 3am on the Monday morning - was quite something.

slowthai (West Holts Stage): Given the heat and the energy levels generated, he can just about be forgiven for parading about in his pants. Amazing to think he performed in the Moon recently, and for just 99p a ticket.

Low (John Peel Stage): Shame about the modest crowd - this was magical stuff. Half of the set was drawn from latest LP Double Negative, which I haven't yet really got into - 'Dancing And Blood' alone was a ringing endorsement. The doomy guitar on 'No Comprende' was awesome too, but the highlights were a magnificent rendition of 'Do You Know How To Waltz?' from The Curtain Hits The Cast, dedicated to Peel, and Secret Name gem 'Will The Night', dedicated to a couple who had it at their wedding. Low, it's been far too long since we last met.

IDLES (The Park): Wow. Just wow. I was a bit lukewarm about them at first, but Joy As An Act Of Resistance significantly raised the bar and I can't wait for their Far Out Stage headline slot at Green Man.

Finally, hats off to Elvana, who not only played three sets over the course of the festival (including a midnight slot on the Truth Stage on the last night) but also dashed over to Brighton for another gig on the Friday night. This year's hardest-working band? Quite possibly.

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