Friday, 18 July 2008

Glastonbury Festival 2008

I’m not sure what it was this time around, but for the first time in many years, I didn’t really connect to this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Perhaps it was the fact that it didn’t rain. Well, not much anyway. Perhaps it was the bill that didn’t have any really charismatic names on it or perhaps it was just me getting old and blasé?

So I find myself struggling to nominate my usual top three awards this year. None of the headliners caught my eye. Kings of Leon were reasonable but didn’t win me over. Jay-Z didn’t convert me to rap although his set had been carefully thought out to counter criticism that he didn’t belong at a ‘rock’ event and although The Verve weren’t that bad, they didn’t really cast off the tag of ‘has-beens’ that seemed to hang over them.

So what am I left with?

Well, third prize goes to the enigmatic Alison Goldfrapp even without the horse’s tail. This year we were treated to her ‘folk’ period music accompanied by papier-mâché beasts and a dress that looked like a shredded shower curtain. Well up to standard then.

Second prize goes to Welsh chanteuse, Duffy - and this has nothing to do with the red hotpants. Rather it goes to a performer who just stood on stage and sang beautifully. No dancers, no gimmicks, just an honest performance of some great tunes.

And finally my top award goes to the Ting Tings, who despite my
guarded review of their debut album earlier in this blog, produced a lively and thoroughly entertaining set that I really enjoyed watching and showed a degree of versatility that I thought might be beyond them given the fact that there’s only two of them. Comparisons with the White Stripes are usual, but the Ting Tings are entirely different in style and content. Playing on the John Peel stage, I did actually wonder whether Peely would’ve approved of their unashamedly throwaway pop but I loved them. Top Act!

As the years go by, it is great to see artists that once held a prominent place in my record collection play some of the lesser stages at distinctly non-prime times. Without fanfare or pressure to make a name for themselves, they have a relaxed outlook which conveyed a sense of calm to their audience. There were a few this year, Joan Baez, Candi Staton, Neil Diamond, Leonard Cohen and Jimmy Cliff amongst them but in particular was Joan Armatrading who played a beautifully poignant set and played some mean guitar to boot. Good on yer, Joan.

Finally – Amy Winehouse. Her live appearances are more akin to a car crash these days. To watch her slur through a load of OK songs left me both fascinated and disturbed in equal order. Can’t somebody help her, please?

Let’s hope next year perks the thing up a bit as it would be a crying shame if it were to slowly die the death of a thousand lacklustre acts.


Jennifer K said...

Great review of the festival. I can't stop listening to Duffy. And I really want to check out the Ting Tings.

Poor Amy Winehouse,though. I wish this girl would get the help she so desperately needs.

musicobsessive said...

Hi JK. Yes, I'm going to check out the Duffy album asap. Despite my rather jaded view of this year's festival, I still think it is one of the better gatherings around at the moment and gives me hours of TV watching!