Friday, 2 July 2010

Glastonbury: Geeks, mods and Aussies

I always feel a bit sad on Sunday knowing it is the last day. And despite being one of the best line ups of the weekend, this Sunday felt no different. Even the sweet tones of Frightened Rabbit on the Other Stage couldn’t quite cheer me up, despite being a really great performance. In the end it was The Hold Steady who got me out of my funk. I’m not a particularly a fan of the band, but their energy and enthusiasm was so massive you can’t help but smile. I also have a bit of a soft spot for nerdy front men. You know, the ones that probably got bullied in school and really shouldn’t be fronting a band. Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip tops that chart, but Craig Finn from The Hold Steady comes a close second. His beautiful dad dancing was brilliant and had everyone smiling and dancing along.

I don’t think the Hold Steady are a bad band, it’s just that America rock isn’t really to my tastes. For those reasons I wasn’t massively keen on going to see Slash, but I was talked into it. I have to admit that in the end I was glad I went. After I got over the awful rock clich├ęs (lead singer’s arm round Slash cos their proper bro-friends) I did actually start to enjoy myself. There were some good sing-alongs to the G&R classics, and even the newer stuff was tolerable.

At the end of the day though, I will always be more of a mod than a rocker, and I was definitely down for my main man Ray Davis. The performance of You Really Got Me with a full choir backing was one of those spine tingling moments. This was only beaten by Davis dedicating See My friend to Pete Quaife, who died last week. As the choir sang the legend was clearly choked up, and a lump formed in my own throat.

Choosing which headline act to see was a tough one on Sunday. Stevie Wonder is a legend, but I had one of my best ever Glastonbury moments to Orbital in 1994. However the winner had to be Empire of the Sun, who I have been waiting for nearly two years to see. I was so excited that I had to question whether the band could possibly live up to my own hype.

As the lights dimmed, the crowd roared and then the stage was filled with smoke. Luke Steele burst out of the mist, wearing a crown of swords, and picked up his guitar. From the moment he hit those first few chords I was completely captivated. It was stage theatrics at its best, with dancers dressed up as swordfish, and giant pink guitars with neon lights. The show was so slick it could put KY jelly out of business. As a first UK performance it was a stunner and as soon as it was over I wanted to go back an hour and live through it all again. When someone invents that time machine I promise you I will.

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