Friday, 16 July 2010

Glastonbury Festival 2010 - Part 2

Viewing Glastonbury on the TV is a bit like looking at it through the wrong end of a telescope. Despite the hours of footage broadcast by the BBC with all its digital channels you really only get to see someone else’s edited highlights. Nevertheless, a TV viewer probably still gets to see more acts than a person actually on site, so I suppose it’s not for me to complain.

As I opined in part 1, I felt a little underwhelmed this year. The headline bands were OK but I never did understand the attraction of Gorillaz and as a stand in for U2 (and I’m not a fan of U2 at all), they were mildly disappointing. Muse was the best of the bunch bringing a sense of bravado to Saturday night and then there was Stevie Wonder. To me, Wonder falls into the same category as Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones in that their best work was done in the late 60s and early 70s and they’ve spent the last 40-odd years trying hard not to tarnish that work and largely failing. As the years have passed, I’ve tried to watch as many of the older generation of musicians as possible because you always get the feeling that it might be your last chance and this year I tried to like Stevie Wonder. Admittedly, his set was an endless and impressive list of hit songs but it wasn’t until he did ‘For Once in my Life’ that I really connected with him. There is just something compelling about his early Motown singles that still touch me where much of his later output doesn’t. The musical arrangement was pure Motown and the spirit of the Funk Brothers hovered over the performance like an old long lost friend. A gem of a moment in a workmanlike set.

So who were my personal favourites? This year I have tried to pick three acts that I don’t really know much about. So no accolades for Florence and the Machine, Rodrigo Y Gabriela or Scissor Sisters (despite Kylie turning up for a brief few minutes) – all of whom were excellent, but have been applauded in past years.

Instead, in third place comes Shakira who, according to rumour, is the best selling female singer in the world after…Susan Boyle. Dressed in surprisingly demure attire, she wiggled her way through a largely enjoyable set which not only pleased her audience but seemed to fill her to overflowing with the spirit of Glastonbury. For such a major star to appear so humbled and grateful was quite heart-warming. Sometimes this world can be a wonderful place; you just need to know where to look.

In second place is a band that I know next to nothing about and they are Editors. I found singer Tom Smith, who appends a memorably cavernous voice to the tortured style of a Morrissey/Ian Curtis hybrid, a fascinating front man. Whilst being a standard Indie band at their core they embellish the template with sparkling synthesisers and a variety of song styles which move them into an area that is more gothic and less jangly. An interesting set and a band I may well research a bit further.

My winner this year is another band of which I know next to nothing and they are Faithless which has quite surprised me. As a rule, I am not a fan of Rap finding it a bit ‘lazy’ technically but the sheer musicality of their performance won me over. The combination of dance grooves and pop/rock dynamics was riveting. Whether I follow this up, I don’t know but for an hour or so on a sunny Sunday afternoon it was perfect.

So that’s it for another year. Special mentions must also go to Ellie Goulding, Pet Shop Boys, Marina and the Diamonds and Corinne Bailey Rae who all entertained but just missed out on the prizes. Will next year be another classic?  Only Star Trek knows.


Perplexio said...

Shakira's music has a nails on a blackboard effect on me. My finger can't hit the scan/tune button on the radio fast enough when one of her songs comes on.

I've been hearing a lot about Muse, but I've not actually heard them yet. I may have to rectify that. One of my blogfriends who tends to write about much more than just music was mentioning she'd recently started listening to Muse so yours is the 2nd post in about a month to mention Muse. Maybe the music Gods are trying to tell me something.

musicobsessive said...

Perp - I'm not a great Shakira fan but it was a good performance.

As to Muse, check them out. A thoroughly modern take on the traditional power trio. Not sure what Cream would make of them, but worth a look.

drewzepmeister said...

I've heard of this Glastonbury Festival before. I have a few bootlegs recorded from earlier festivals, like Robert Plant. Must be a great place to see a concert at.

Perplexo-given your musical tastes, I KNOW that you would like Muse. They ROCK my friend!

Jayne said...

I've heard that Muse are great to see in concert, although I know little of their tunes - although 'Feeling Good' is outstanding.

I know what you mean about feeling like you should see older musicians in case it is the last chance. I so wanted to see Sir Paul at either his concert or Hyde Park but the tickets are always just that bit too pricey for me. I would like to see Stevie Wonder - I was listening to Living in the City the other day and was struck anew at his wonderful voice.

musicobsessive said...

hi Drew - Glastonbury is more than just a concert, it's an experience. 2 main stages plus numerous smaller ones plus discos, circus acts, new-age sites, you-name-it-they're-there areas all brought together for three days within a 5 mile circumference at Michael Eavis's dairy farm. Add in the ancient Tor and Ley lines and you have a real spiritual cocktail. Frankly you've not got a hope of seeing half of what goes on there in the time available!

musicobsessive said...

Hi Jayne - although I'm feeling guilty about not seeing older acts, I draw the line at actually having to pay!! TV is a wonderful medium haha!

And in retrospect I should've made a bit more of Muse but I was a bit let down by the headliners generally. I also missed an opportunity to wave the flag for Marina and the Diamonds, so watch this space...

YourZenMine said...

Mine and YourZ (truly) have just purchased our tickets to see Gorillaz here in late December and can't wait. For us, the combination of Damon Albarn's writing and rag-tag ensemble of musicians and voices is fabulous. I read Damon himself was underwhelmed by their performance at Glasto, so...

By the way, want to give you a heads up on an amazing new Aussie talent, a lovely lady called Megan Washington, who performs under her surname. There are a few entries on YouTube and as I'm sure you will like her as much as we do.


music obsessive said...

YourZenMine - I'm sure it'll be great. I get the feeling that being pitched into a hole that was to be filled by U2 was too much of an expectation for Gorillaz. On their own terms they are bound to be better. Enjoy.

And thanks for the tip-off re Megan Washington -I'll check her out. Finally, I have to report that I now have no hope of getting Eskimo Joe from out of my wife's clutches. It is now officially her fav CD ever...for the moment.