Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Glastonbury: which tribe are you?

Glastonbury has definitely got more commercial. Forty years ago you wouldn’t have seen Sony and Orange down there. And you certainly wouldn’t have seen stag and hen dos with those ridiculous matching t-shirts. That said, I’m not completely against commercialisation. I’m quite a fan of the Chill ‘n’ Charge tent, and with the exception of the arrogant drunks, I think a more diverse crowd adds character to the festival.

Take Delphic, for example, who played the John Peel tent on Saturday. They were slick and professional, and full of energy, but for some reason they just didn’t do it for me. I was surprised by my reaction as I always thought, listening to the album, that they would be amazing live. Like Orbital circa 1994. But as I watched the two teenage girls scream and shout in front of me, I wondered whether I was just a bit old for it all. Trying to recapture that moment 15 years ago is a bit futile and best left to the kids.

Over on the Other Stage the National were playing to a much older audience. In fact many of the people there had kids with them. I’m not against people taking kids to festivals – the children’s area and circus arenas are excellent for the little people. However I really don’t think in front of one of the main stages is the right place for them. Not only is it filthy and damaging to their hearing, but most of them looked bored out of their minds, not to mention hot.

Heading over to the Pyramid stage the Scissor Sisters were just finishing their show and introduced to yet another type of Glastonbury fan –the older woman. They were having a wail of a time, with a mass crowd dance routine going on. You couldn’t help get caught up in it. I wouldn’t call myself a massive Scissor Sister’s fan, but I do think they put on a good live show.

As the Scissor Sister’s left, the audience of older women was replaced by large groups of young lads lining up for Muse. I was initially a bit apprehensive about being surrounded by them, but they were actually, with the exception of one or two, good natured. As the Cornish boys entered stage they went wild, and the first few songs were accompanies by bad singing and pogo-ing. Then Muse started playing some slow songs, and stuff from their new album (which let’s face it, is a bit mediocre), and interest started to wane. People began talking amongst themselves, and it seemed Bellamy and the boys had lost the crowd. A couple of favourites, like Starlight, brought people back round again, but the original energy seemed to have been lost.

I also have to voice my disappointment in the special guest appearance of The Edge. Guest appearances can be brilliant, but sometimes they just feel like they are just doing them for the sake of it. I don’t think The Edge was a good match. I’ve talked before about my dislike of the hype around The Edge, and standing there next to Matt Bellamy it just seemed a bit of a joke. Bellamy is a virtuoso guitar player, where as The Edge just uses a lot of effects pedals. Why was I supposed to be impressed that someone with less talent had come on stage to play with this brilliant band? It was all lost on me.

I'm not sure what tribe I fit in exactly, but as far as I'm concerned they're all welcome as long as they, in the words of Wayne Coyne, be nice to each other.

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