Monday, 6 July 2009

Glastonbury Festival 2009 (Part 1)

The end of June is always a time ripe with anticipation chez Music Obsessive. Down on Eavis farm, the tents are erected, the stages built and the cows fitted with ear-defenders. Elsewhere, travellers are checking their backpacks for wellies, toothpaste, ridiculous comedy costumes and TV camera blocking flags – yes it’s the Glastonbury Festival 2009. After last year when I felt that age was finally catching up with me and apathy was the thief at the door, I was a little apprehensive, but having just watched a marathon 20-odd hours of TV coverage (another sterling job by the BBC) I am glad to say that this year was a cracker. So much so that I am splitting this post into two parts. Part 2, with my now globally famous top three Glasto acts awards to follow…

This year was marked by several aspects that are worthy of comment. First up, this was the year when I was out-manoeuvred by my own 9 year old daughter. Up until this point, I have been carefully educating her in the ways of rock ‘n’ roll whilst steadfastly retaining my God-like status as ultimate rock bore and fountain of all knowledge when it comes to knowing who wrote what and which obscure album it can be found on…but no longer. There we were watching Lily Allen’s rather lacklustre set on Friday afternoon when Lily went into the song ‘Womanizer’. At this point The Daughter affirmed with some conviction that this was a Britney Spears song. No, no, no, said I (with admittedly some smugness), I think you’ll find this on Lily’s album, ‘It’s Not Me It’s You’. But to be on the safe side I sneakily checked later and... I was wrong! It appears on Ms Spears’ latest effort, ‘Circus’. Damn! My cover has been blown and may never recover.

The second aspect concerns guitars. It was noticeable that only the more, ahem, mature acts still play guitar solos and that the younger generation still spurn them like the plague. This seems to date back to the mid-1970s when musical dexterity and especially guitar dexterity suddenly went out of fashion big-time. But now? Why is this grudge still perpetuating itself down the generations like a family curse? ‘Don’t-ee be playing that there geetar solo m’boy lest ye be struck down by the devil’. Anyway, it was great to hear some proper solos. Hat’s off to the likes of Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Francis Rossi and The Boss.

Also, it is interesting to note that all hoary old rockers play guitars which are battered to within an inch of their life. There seems to be a sort of reverse logic here where long-lived and presumably successful musicians spend no money on their tools of trade, preferring the ‘comfy shoes’ instruments that they are used to. Perhaps there is a natural life cycle where all bands start out with cheap instruments, then when they are successful they buy a new one every week, just because they can, only to revert to an old faithful when in their dotage. Someone should do a thesis on it.

Next up – the Music Obsessive Awards, stay tuned!


drewzepmeister said...

Great post! First of all, I agree with the lack of guitar solos these days. To me, it is the heart of some the songs I hear.

As for the battered and beaten guitars, I think the guitar itself is an extension to a musician's body. They'll play whatever is the most comfortable to them.

musicobsessive said...

Hey Drew! Thanks for stopping by. I think what this all amounts to is that festivals are for bands who can actually play rather than those that create using studio tech. I know which I prefer.