Four

Hmm. The fact that I’m researching some background details for work tomorrow via the interweb and updating this here blog doesn’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of The Verve, does it? Well, two plus two and all that.
Oh, and ‘Life’s An Ocean’ has the bassline to ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, doesn’t it? ‘Mad’ Richard’s introductions for the songs are right up there with vintage Alan Partridge. He doesn’t really do stage banter does he? By the way, if you’ve got the nickname ‘Mad Richard’, you shouldn’t really do things like this, should you?
No sign of Solomon Burke. And, in every sense, if you can’t spot him on the horizon, he’s no-fucking-where near.
May well give up soon. I just want to be entertained!

Finger firmly out of arse

The BBC have updated lots of the artist pages on their Glasto site with 30 minute highlights videos. Well worth having a look about. Most noteworthy is the arrival of the Elbow highlights from last night. A wonderful performance of simply splendid songs. As I updated this morning’s post to say, Massive Attack are on there and, having seen it on the red button this afternoon, it’s a treat and a half.

Neil Diamond was really rather good earlier, and not just when performing some of the excellent songs from his recent Rubin-assisted albums. Mark Ronson struck me as rather inessential, despite liking the album itself, and Goldfrapp were a little odd. Did the maypole dancers realise that the pervy cameraman would get close enough to show the whole world their pants? He did, you know.

Solomon Burke and The Verve to come, and who knows what else is the magic world of le button rouge. Or something.

I was too busy watching it

Saturday provided much to enjoy, as it turned out. The red button was the saving grace however, as the various programmes offered a frantic dance around the stages – Jay Z and Winehouse aside – leaving you with only a fleeting sense of what might have been. Thankfully, thanks to the multi-screen splendour I got to see Crowded House, Imagined Village, Vampire Weekend, Band Of Horses, The Wombats and, probably the set of the weekend thus far, Elbow. I’m sure Massive Attack could have been in there too, but in their infinite wisdom, the Beeb offered five minutes of their set to fill a gap before Jay-Z came out and then two songs some time after midnight. Having just skimmed through the iPlayer, it would seem that BBC3 played out two more songs at around 1.40am. I’m astonished that the BBC didn’t consider them more important.

(EDIT: It’s now midday and 34 minutes of their set has appeared on the BBC Glasto site – go here.)

The Jay-Z performance was much as expected. If you like his music, you’ll have enjoyed his set. If you don’t, then you probably didn’t. It’s as simple as that. There’s no debate to be had about what ‘belongs’ at Glastonbury. Everything ‘belongs’ at Glastonbury – that’s the whole point of it. Whether Jay-Z was a more worthy main stage headliner than Massive Attack though, I’m not so sure. He opened with a version of ‘Wonderwall‘, obviously trying to ram home his point about Noel Gallagher getting it wrong, but the crowd took such delight in singing the song for him, it was hard to tell what the final message was. That said, Oasis delivered one of the worst Saturday night headlining sets I’ve ever seen three years ago, so I’m not sure anyone’s in a position of superiority on that one.

Anyhoo, there was much to enjoy, although the BBC’s Glasto site doesn’t appear to have caught up yet in terms of video footage. Your best bet is to head straight to the iPlayer. The show labelled ‘Elbow/Hot Chip’ features two belters from Elbow near the start, the hour long ‘Pyramid Stage’ show is all Winehouse. Worth a watch. It was riveting, if not, perhaps, the most professional festival set you’ve ever seen.

The big fuss today is about the return of The Verve, but having heard the new single, I’m not expecting a great deal. If ever a band was coasting by on nostalgia for halcyon but, crucially, bygone times, it’s them. Everyone bangs on about how they captured a moment with ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony‘, but a few decent singles (because, let’s face it, ‘Urban Hymns’ wasn’t much cop) does not a tremendous Sunday night headline slot  make. Especially when you think it was The Who last year.

‘Mad Richard’ (oh do fuck off) aside, Solomon Burke’s performing today and that promises to be an absolute joy. If he hasn’t got his own section in your record collection you need to get that sorted. Leonard Cohen, Spiritualized and Laura Marling all play today too, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much in terms of seeing them on the telly.

I suspect, looking at the line-up, that the red button showings of yesterday’s highlights may well be your friend today. Have fun.

Relive the dreams. And the shite, as it happens

Gave up around midnight as I needed some sleep. Did I miss anything? The videos have started appearing on the BBC‘s Glasto site and, yes, as I’d hoped, they’re in the iPlayer format so they’re actually worth watching unlike the RealPlayer crap we’ve had in previous years. Candi Staton and Editors are on there and, if you wish to torture yourself, so are The Ting Tings.
Click here for video fun.

It’s not raining on my sofa

Plenty of decent stuff already on the Beeb. Keep flicking on the red button, or visit the BBC webpages to see a blistering set by Candi Staton, some excellent librarian-rock from Young Knives and an intense bit of tunery from Editors. The first outbreak of seal-clubbing has been spotted during The Tings Tings‘ set. Delightfully quirky vocal on record, agonising mid-excretal-endeavours yelp live. Shame.
My intense hatred of Bowman has been reunited by the BBC Three coverage. I assumed, however foolishly, that she’d be absent having just had a wee baby. No such luck, it would seem. Radcliffe and Laverne will steer the good ship late night BBC2 from 11, so we should be in safe hands then. The late night shows are the only time lovely Lauren doesn’t use her slightly annoying over the top elongating of words in an ironic stylee voice these days. Should be some good music too, of course. The Jimmy Cliff set’s on BBC4 soon too. I’m fairly certain that everything I’m mentioning will be iPlayer/BBC site based for seven days hereafter so you can trawl as and when you see fit.
The Fratellis now – I can do without them, to be honest. The Hoosiers and The Feeling were almost enjoyable earlier, in a whistle-along-at-the-festival kind of way. Can’t help thinking that they’d have been better suited to a sunny Saturday afternoon rather than a pissing with rain Friday tea time.

Glaston-bloggy. No? Well, what then?

After the overwhelming success of last year’s frequent, but brief, updates across the Glasto weekend, I thought I’d do it again. Editors, MGMT, The Enemy, Jimmy Cliff and Edwyn Collins are all due to be on the assortment of televisual viewing portals this evening. I suspect all will be splendid. Solomon Burke, Elbow and Massive Attack to come over the weekend, so plenty to look forward to.

Anyhoo, I’d be muchly chuffed if some of the regular readers of the blog got all interactive this weekend and chirped up with their views of the festival. That’s you, by the way.

If you’re without a red button this weekend, then you have my deepest sympathy. I’m not sure what I’d do without it. In fact, I suspect I will pretty much glued to the sofa for the next few days as a result of it.

Right then, T-40. Beers in the fridge, pizza ordered. Let’s go.

Neither quality nor quantity

Rather a lot to do, so it’s only a short post this time. However, three things of note. Admittedly, only one is musical.

1. Wales gave a much better account of themselves yesterday against South Africa and we should be on for some wins in the Autumn Internationals. That Shane try was pure genius.

2. What the cock is Gordon Brown doing commenting on The Apprentice?

3. Joan As Police Woman‘s new album is already a contender for ‘Album Of The Year’. It is a stunning collection of songs, not least the recent single, ‘To Be Loved’.

If that doesn’t result in a purchase, then I’m not sure we can ever be friends.

I hardly said a word

I’ve had a thoroughly splendid week in terms of listening pleasure. I had an interesting conversation about musical snobbery and what makes a good pop song during several hours in bar that played the most chronic selection of shite I’ve heard in some time. A quick comment about how the Girls Aloud track playing when we went in was probably the best thing that they’d managed in about two hours spiraled off into something far more complicated. Anyway, the conversation leads me nicely to my first point of interest this week, Lily Allen.

A few months ago I read that she’d posted a couple of new tracks on her Myspace and I made a mental note to have a listen at some point. I finally did that today and I’m pleasantly surprised. There were some decent tracks on debut album; sampling Allen Toussaint is always good by me and ‘Alfie‘ is pop genius, but for the new record she’s gone in an electro-pop direction. The two new tunes are splendid, in particular the first offering, ‘I Don’t Know’ which has an enjoyable quiet/loud Girls Aloud/Sugababes feel to it. Not that I imagine she’d be especially thrilled with the comparison. The second track, ‘I Could Say’ sounds a little like a Pet Shop Boys ballad. Anyhoo, whatever I think, I’d recommend having a listen via the link above.

Speaking of the PSBs, they recently recorded a cover of Madness‘My Girl’ while rehearsing for a live performance with Suggs. On this delightful demo, Neil takes lead vocals and it’s a wonderfully quirky take on a classic tune. You can access it via the ‘exclusive tracks’ page in the ‘Product’ area on their website. Or you could just click here. You choose, why don’t you?

A final true ‘pop’ moment before moving on. As I’m pointing out rather splendid bits of popular music that I’m rather fond of, I’ll give a quick mention to Rihanna‘s ‘Don’t Stop The Music’. Now, I know this isn’t exactly new and I know that you probably cut your ears off after the ninety-seventh time you heard ‘Umbrella‘, but this is a true pop classic. Meticulously crafted, never quite as fast as you think it’s going to be and yet deceptively uplifting. Ver Tube allows a listen below.

I’ve been living with Weller‘s ’22 Dreams’ for a week now, and it’s almost as good as the reviews are suggesting. Let’s get one thing straight before we go on – it ain’t a five-star kind of album. It can’t be, really, because of its quite deliberate ebbs and flows. A few tracks add nothing, and the final, noodly instrumental track, ‘Night Lights’ really outstays its welcome. But it’s a definite four-star kind of album and one which repays repeated listens. That’s not especially surprising when you bear in mind that there are 21 tracks to absorb. Apparently, the deluxe edition has sold out already, but you’ll not be missing much if you’ve not got it. ‘Rip Up The Pages’ and ‘Love’s Got Me Crazy’ are the additional tunes – both rather good, and probably more deserving of a place on the main album that some of the more fanciful farting about, but all of that stuff does rather add to its charm. Have a listen via the link below and make sure you do it in one sitting; it works better that way.

I should just finish by noting the fact that a true great, Bo Diddley died earlier this week. If you know nowt about the man or his music, you should probably get that sorted. One of the ‘Chess‘ collections should suffice. Some far more professional and worthy tributes can be found via the following links:

1. Richard Hawley’s tribute on the BBC site

2. First ten minutes of Gary Crowley’s show, filling in for Tom Robinson on 6music on Friday 6th June

3. Mark Lamarr’s ‘God’s Jukebox’ from Saturday 7th June. Various tunes and references throughout.