Friday, 29 June 2007

Glasto - The Awards!

Whew! I’ve just completed the marathon task of watching all 12 hours or so of recorded Glastonbury highlights (thanks BBC) and have to say that, as usual, what a thoroughly enjoyable experience it was. The more so that I didn’t actually have to be there!

So. After much deliberation, five minutes at least, I am now ready to give out my awards to the best three acts – bearing in mind the limitations of only having seen those that were televised – in the customary reverse order.

In third place are the Killers, who I thought looked like a genuinely capable headline band this year, unlike the Arctic Monkeys, whom I really don’t get and the Who, who are just too familiar. Sounding a touch U2ish at times the Las Vegas outfit were melodic and dramatic in the best stadium rock tradition. Fabulous. Just as well I’m not an Elk lover!

In second place are the bizarre Brazilians, CSS who were thoroughly entertaining and bonkers in equal order. Who’d have thought that lycra catsuits were back in fashion? Oh…they’re not. In a strange way, this lot put me in mind of The Fall with their relentlessly patchworked rhythms and scattergun vocals – I’d like them to do a cover of Slang King or Pat Trip Dispenser just to test this assertion. I dare say I’ll get a load of comments from grim northerners telling me they’re nothing like them now. So moving swiftly on…

And in first place is the truly mesmerising duo of Rodrigo Y Gabriela, the Flamenco Heavy Metal guitarists. Until you have seen these two you just cannot conceive of how two acoustic guitars can produce the dynamics and gut wrenching excitement of Thrash Metal. And not a Marshall stack in sight. A bit of a cheek to get the audience to sing ‘Wish you were here’ all by themselves – how do they remember the words, do you have to learn them beforehand on the off chance or do you get handed a lyric sheet at the gate? Anyway, amazing stuff from the Irish Mexicans and I shall be investigating their CDs in the not too distant future.

Of the rest, Bjork was her usual fascinating self (loved the horn section) and the Pigeon Detectives kept me amused for at least a couple of songs – a rarity these days. Lily Allen was sweet and John Fogerty reminded us all how to write songs. Babyshambles were just that and I found Iggy Pop a shade disappointing. Is it me getting old or can’t new bands write melodies anymore? OK, it’s me. But really – they can’t. I can’t stand Paul Weller, but his set was bursting with great melodies, yet most other bright young things were monotone in the extreme (Killers excepted). Come on guys!

But frankly there’s nothing quite like live, as opposed to recorded, music. The highs are higher and the lows cannot be disguised by an MTV makeover. Who’s on next year?

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