Glastonbury memories are beginning to fade, particularly as I’ve been at Skagen festival since, so here’s a quick recap of my highlights while I can still remember.
Thursday night I played a set at the Peel Sessions bar…of which there are many great photos due to Stone from Stone Free appearing bang on time at the start of the gig. However, I was there to compere the John Peel Stage, so let’s get onto Friday when that opened.
Friday started fairly quiet at the John Peel Stage with Dan Stuart not pulling the crowds he would have 15 years ago – still a good set though. X Ambassadors had to cancel their set as their monitor gear didn’t work – their trip was worthwhile though as Sam did a roaring acoustic version of Renegades to a packed tent before they left.
Next up was Elle King who was brilliant. Top showmanship, a better voice than on record and lots of banjo. What’s not to like?
Aurora had to be seen from out in the crowd – she and her band are lovely, and the noise they make is tremendous. A tip for the very top. She lives out her music entirely when performing and the passion is infectious. At the same time there is a Scandinavian humility that is hugely endearing. I remember afterwards calling it one of the best shows ever on the John Peel stage. I stick by that.
I only caught the last few songs of Half Moon Run, but they were terrific too. Jack Garrett had the crowd totally in the palm of his hand – amazing to see a one man show with so much power. Not really my music though…so off I trotted to catch a couple of songs from ZZ Top’s set at the Pyramid Stage. I hate watching bands at such big gigs as all you can see is the screen, but I guess I can say I saw them. They sounded great – Billy Gibbons has always been one of my biggest heroes.
I got back to John Peel to take Jack Garrett off and to see Explosions in The Sky who were phenomenal. This despite the fact that some of them had food poisoning. Sigur Ros was a huge spectacular show, and a massive crowd to end the day. Or nearly end it. Did a set with Jim Fox at the sessions bar following the adorable and talented Charlotte Campbell.
Saturday Nothing But Thieves did an early gig at John Peel that was electrifying. Amazing band and an amazing voice. I’ve been listening to them a lot since and can’t wait for the album to come out. Dua Lipa was on after them, and I hadn’t expected much of her, but she really had the crowd and did a great job.
Mø was another positive surprise. I know her music, obviously, and she lives not far from me, but I’d never seen her live before. She sang well and totally owned the stage. As well as being out in the audience 3 times. Great performance and a great crowd – she has really arrived as a major act.
But then came the highlight of the highlights. John Grant on the John Peel Stage. It was like a religious experience. Great musicians, great music, great lyrics, a bit of fun and lots of personality. And no bullshit. Mostly songs from the new album, but with GMF and Queen of Denmark getting everyone singing along. Mind blown.
I didn’t want to see anything else after John Grant. But it was hard to avoid the vibe that was happening when Fat Boy Slim was on…it was doing my head in backstage, but when I came front of house it was amazing – the biggest crowd we’ve ever had on the JPS and everyone dancing.
I wandered off through the mud bound for Avalon, stopping to catch a few random acts along the way (the best being a group of beatboxers). The reason for my trudging was to catch The Treacherous Orchestra. And it was entirely worth the exhaustion it caused. Anyone who doesn’t know them check them out. Particularly live.
Sunday morning at JPS was opened with the biggest crowd ever for an opening act on a Sunday for She Drew The Gun. Mystery Jets were brilliant, as were Band of Horses. Things got more anthemic with an incredible set from Of Monsters and Men, and then came the surprise of the festival. I was expecting nice songs and a bit of humour, but the attitude of Mac Demarco and his band, the contact with the audience, the sheer funniness blew us away. By comparison Jake Bugg was a disappointment. However, the green room crew took to the stage for the John Peel tribute at the end and the traditional New York New York farewell…another Glastonbury over.
Except for the Sunday night party backstage featuring a performance by Jim Fox, me and Michael Gillett. What a week…