I don’t suppose it helps that we all know that Blur, Springsteen, Madness and are all still to come, but Friday at Glastonbury seemed rather underwhelming from the comfort of my sofa. As if to add insult to injury, almost all of the presentation team seemed completely incompetent. I can only assume that Edith Bowman has some very incriminating photos of someone very important at the Beeb because she surely doesn’t keep getting rehired on the basis of her actual work. Combine her with the ever-so-slightly too excited Reggie Yates and Jo Whiley, who seemed unable to utter any error-free sentences last night, and the links proved excruciating. The only saving grace was the increasingly enjoyable double act between the lovely Lauren Laverne and the equally lovely (though not in quite the same way) Mark Radcliffe, who seems to be getting younger with every passing year.
Musically, things weren’t much better. Lily Allen offered reasonably tuneful renditions of some of her splendid pop nuggets whilst being only ever seconds away from a wardrobe malfunction. A crisis was averted, unlike during Lady GaGa‘s performance, which prompted Laverne to actually ponder on air as to whether she was wearing any pants during the performance. Whichever way you look at it (and I’d recommend hands over the eyes) the performance was an unpleasant affair. Staging right out of 1970s excess and costumes right out of the necessary inches, one of the possible pop moments of the weekend fell flat.
Fleet Foxes were gently splendid but hardly likely to set the pulse racing. Unlike The Specials, however, who offered a blistering festival set, musically tight and vocally marvellous. Terry Hall even smiled briefly. It was quite brief. Blink and you miss it brief. But smile, he did. Doves, for the few songs they were oh-so-graciously allowed, were as outstanding as their recent tour suggested, ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ confirming its place in the pnatheon of Doves classics. Bloc Party were as distressing as you might imagine. Do any of the band apart from Kele even want to be there now? They don’t give that impression. Everything I saw of theirs seemed nearly-but-not-quite, much like their recent records. That reminds me, I need to review their new single at some point.
Jack Penate was hugely excited but forgot that jumping up and down whilst singing doesn’t tend to allow for a tune to be held. Or ever veered close to. Little Boots still sounded a bit too nasal to me. Something about her doesn’t quite click with me, but I can’t put my finger on it just yet. The Maccabees and White Lies were so inoffensive I can’t really remember anything their sets on which to comment.
I was thinking the other day about who would be this year’s Ting Tings. You know, hideously shouty, out-of-tune, technically inept vocals and ramshackle musical beige. As it happens, it’s the fucking Ting Tings. They were back. No new songs. Same shite performance as last year, just a bigger stage. How exciting.
Anyway, M Ward, Bon Iver, Jarvis, Maximo Park, Franz, The Low Anthem, Kasabian and The Boss all peform today, amongst many others. How much of such good stuff will make it to air, I’ve no idea. After all, we need to spend five minutes in car park while some vacuous girl with a big tongue interviews security before Edith and Reggie talk about how they dance to certain bands. God bless the red button.