The country’s most famous music festival kicks off tomorrow, so we’ve asked our contributors what they’d be watching if they were there.
LCD Sound System – Losing My Edge
Soft-faced New Yorker James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem/DFA Records is properly back and it’s a celebration!
Having somewhat bombastically announced in 2011 that the band’s existence was “unsustainable”, and waving goodbye to us all with an enormous Madison Square Gardens house party and accompanying documentary, none of us were really expecting Murphy to turn up on our doorsteps just five years later, still holding a spare set of our keys. *hands on hips, tapping foot*
I take it we are “sustainable” after all, hmm? James clearly missed us as much as we missed him so we’ll forgive him all in a heartbeat as long as he still looks like a defeated Droopy The Dog.
After a couple of high profile US gigs, LCD Soundsystem have got back in the swing of playing live over the course of this year’s festival season and the band will be the crowning glory of Glastonbury’s Other Stage on the Sunday night. See you there for sex with the ex!
Muse – Plug In Baby
It’s difficult to pick one Muse number, particularly when you have seen them live as many times as I have – often, previously overlooked songs suddenly come to life and make total sense.
Should I pick Knights of Cydonia? Or Stockholm Syndrome, which contains my favourite lyrics?
It is, however, a much older Muse song that wins my heart. The moment I see the glowing feedback pad on Matt Bellamy’s sexy guitar in a live show, I start fizzing with excitement, knowing it is on its way.
The minute the screeching feedback gives way to That Riff, the first tune I ever composed on my first mobile phone you could programme a tune into (you kids don’t know how easy you have it these days!), I become a teenager again.
I’m reminded of the days when I could rock up to a tiny Muse gig, coolly nod at the then considerably more scrawny and ‘organic’ looking band members in their niche T-shirts, casual jeans and blue-marker-penned veins (Matt, I never really got that…!), not a Dior suit in sight, and stroll straight to the front of the stage to energetically jump up and down to all of their songs.
I still remember witnessing their epic rise in popularity when Black Holes and Revelations came out. Turning up to their Absolution tour still meant that if you had a standing ticket, you could stroll to the front barrier of Wembley Arena during the support act and be on the front row. Black Holes landed and BOOM, it all changed. They were BIG.
Muse were the first band to sell out the new Wembley Stadium, several times over. I am not ashamed to admit that I went to every one of these gigs – and had been to multiple consecutive runs of gigs before, as they were known for changing their set list each night.
These days, the scramble to get tickets for my favourite band is frantic and sometimes fruitless, but when I do manage it, hearing the abstract lyrics to Plug In Baby, and getting swept away by that timeless riff that builds and crashes through the song like a series of increasingly large waves, takes me straight back to remembering why Muse are the band I have loved the most, and will love for evermore.
I’m devastated to be missing my ‘Muse at Glastonbury’ hat-trick this year, but to those of you that are going, go and watch them. They will BLOW YOUR MIND. And when you hear That Riff, jump around for me.
Madness – Our House
Really now, who doesn’t have a soft spot for The Nutty Boys? If staccato waddle-marching across your kitchen lino doesn’t put a shit-eating grin on your face, you’re in trouble.
Madness are joyous. Full stop. The tunes are corkers that rightly put the Camden lads at the forefront of the late-70s/early 80s 2 Tone revival. Every song bristles with mischief and a smidge of lunacy.
“I was starstruck and left mute when my musical hero Ben Bridwell asked if we had any requests for tonight’s show. ‘Er yes, I have all your albums; I love…’ No words came out. FUCK ME!”
And, like all good clowns, Madness had something to say, Suggs’ deadpan vocals shining a light on everything from kitchen-sink tales of heartache (My Girl) to racism (Embarrassment) to Maggie’s shitty policies (One Better Day). They show no signs of shutting up either, thank you kindly sirs, with a new album due in October.
Our House (1982) is a beautiful, nostalgia and pathos-soaked paean to working-class family life. That warm chaos of mum, dad and siblings fighting for space and attention in a cramped but love-filled home (“our castle and our keep”) takes me back as soon as the intro swoops in. Strings swoon, Chris Foreman’s guitar twangs and Mike Barson’s barrelhouse piano squeezes the heart like a bear hug from a favourite sibling.
The Band Of Horses – Neighbor
Prepare to be rocked out with Ben Bridwell’s bearded, harmonising, ass-kicking Seattle five-piece. A mix of Americana, indie and rock will rise from the mud when they rip up the stage. The stuff of dreams; while watching another band in a field I met them.
I was starstruck and left mute when my musical hero Bridwell asked if we had any requests for tonight’s show. “Er yes, I have all your albums; I love…” No words came out. FUCK ME!
Mr Warby rescued me and asked for Neighbor, but we were told it wasn’t possible. Halfway through the set that night instruments were put down and a multi part harmony version of the song, dedicated “to our friends we met today”. A tearful, stunned face in the crowd.
I walked down the aisle to it a year later. Enjoy. Whoo Hoo!
Vicky Lindsay Warburton
Anna Meredith – R-Type
“Ah,” you think, spotting Anna Meredith’s name on the West Holts stage line-up, “she’s that composer who was featured at the Proms. That’ll be a nice civilised start to Saturday morning, then.”
Among the under-10s, Meredith is already a playground name thanks to her composition Connect It – think NY minimalist Steve Reich gatecrashing a beatboxers’ Mexican wave – being included in the BBC’s schools music initiative Ten Pieces.
But if you’re still catching up with the kids of today, grab her recent album Varmints and discover that, despite its concert-hall heritage, Meredith’s music features riffs to out-widdle Muse and headspinning rhythms that would be at home gurning in the Glade.
Delighting in genre confusion, it powers through brash Wagner rave and wonky, Eno-esque chamber pop with disorientating momentum: on R-Type, those lightning-fork guitar riffs are locked in a death-spiral duet with Meredith’s own clarinet.
If you want ‘relaxing’, stick with Classic FM.
Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
When I was in my teens, Cyndi Lauper’s album, She’s So Unusual, spoke to me.
On the cover she looked like nothing on earth, and everything I wanted to be. And the song that has accompanied me from vinyl, to CD, to MP3 is Time after Time.
In her iconic, impossible-to-replicate voice, the song spoke to everything I felt as angsty teenager, lost at a weird stage of my life, and of the relationships I’d one day want.
While it used to soundtrack daydreams about dramatic, loving relationships with 90s boyband members (probably Mark from A1), it has, over time, evolved into a narrative of best friendship.
Basically my high school experience is encapsulated in that iconic scene of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion that still has the power to make me weep uncontrollably, where the only person who wanted to slowdance with Romy at prom was Michele – to this very song. I simply could not have got through school without the girls I still have now.
So anyone who hears this live, in a field, with their best friends, I’m impossibly jealous of you.
Hardwicke Circus – Walda
Hardwicke Circus – a seven piece band complete with horns and sax and keyboards – are flying the flag for Carlisle on the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury this year.
Frontman Jonny Foster may barely be out of his teens but he’s every inch the rock god. A charismatic stage presence, he roars through bluesy standards and a growing catalogue of the band’s own songs.
Walda is as sinuous and sleazy as its eponymous heroine, with an Arthur Miller reference slipped into the opening line and a delicious ending which slithers to a standstill and then bursts back into life again. They’re on early – 12.40pm on Saturday on the Acoustic Stage – but trust me, they’re worth it.
See our pick of last year’s Glastonbury here.4517 Views
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