It’s festival season. There have already been a few absolute stonkers (Download and Isle of Wight both looking as though they were particularly beastly), but just around the corner is the granddaddy of them all, Glastonbury. So, here’s my run-down of the bands to go and see, from one of the poor saps who isn’t going. Definitely wasn’t writing this with gritted teeth.
Glasto opens its doors to music-lovers on Wednesday, but the main acts don’t really kick off until Friday. That said, Thursday night has a hidden treat: Six By Seven are playing on the Spirit of ‘71/Glade stage. Don’t know them? Well, they were an iconic band of the early-to-mid nineties, with a sizeable and devoted follower base. They’re very cool, quite simply, and definitely worth a listen.
Now we’re talking. Let’s get the main show on the road! There are a few must-see acts on Friday. First up is the absolutely ruddy fantastic 65daysofstatic. Half-six at William’s Green is the place to be. The post rock/electronic mixture is absolutely hypnotic and if you’ve not heard them, you’re in for a treat. They’re one of the best live bands around for good measure. Here’s a little taste:
Bastille is up at half seven on the John Peel Stage, belting out some outrageously catchy yet musically fulfilling tunes. If you want something a little calmer though, Glen Hansard is on the Acoustic Stage starting at eight. You might have heard his music before – as the lead in the fantastic film Once, or because of his songs with band The Frames.
Finally, I’d recommend ignoring the Pyramid Stage for the headliners on Friday. Instead, go to the Other Stage for half ten and see Portishead. One of the best bands of the nineties, completely unique and absolutely brilliant. They also don’t play often, so make damn sure to take this chance when you can.
Wake up relatively early – providing the hangover isn’t killing you – and get to the Other Stage for 13:40 to see Dry the River. Wonderful harmonies and beautiful musicianship from these folk-rockers, and you’re bound to enjoy it. The next must-watch is Daughter, on at five on the John Peel stage. Her album, released earlier this year, is one of the standouts of 2013 so far, and she gives a wonderfully intimate live set.
Primal Scream up next, at seven on the Pyramid Stage. Prepare for a mix of the old with the new – there will be plenty of Screamadelica no doubt, but expect a fair chunk from More Light as well. After that, go and see Calexico on the other stage at quarter to nine. They’re so ruddy good that I’d even recommend missing the start of The Rolling Stones’ set (they start at half nine at the Pyramid Stage) to make sure you stay to the end.
Another early start, I’m afraid. The Heavy are on at ten past twelve on the Other Stage, and they’re excellent. Then there’s Rufus Wainwright at two on the Pyramid Stage. If that’s not your cup of tea though, I Am Kloot are on at ten to three on the Other Stage. Great indie songs and a wonderful rapport with the audience to boot.
They may be a safe bet, but I’d still say Editors are worth a watch. Soaring vocals and eighties-tinged indie-pop – you know exactly what you’re going to get, but that also includes a very good live performance. Seth Lakeman is on at eight at the Acoustic Stage, if you want a bit of mellow in your Sunday evening.
And now the final two recommendations: Smashing Pumpkins are on at twenty past eight on the Other Stage. It may not be the entire line-up that made such iconic albums as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream, but you will get to see one of the most influential alt-rock acts of all time playing through their various forms. And, last but not least, it’s worth seeing the Sunday night headliner. This year it’s Mumford & Sons, and regardless of how you feel about their music it’s going to be a wonderful end to a wonderful festival.
So, those are my recommendations! Feel free to take them on board or do your own thing. You’ll notice a fair few gaps in time as well – and here’s my final, most important bit of advice: go and see bands that you haven’t heard before. Like the description of an artist in the schedule? Well, go see them! Fancy a bit of a dance? Go to one of the DJ stages. Festivals are the perfect place to find new favourite bands, so make sure you take advantage of this wonderful chance.
Enjoy! And don’t think of poor old me, stuck away from all these fabulous bands. Then again, at least there’s no potential for me to be caked in mud. Hopefully.