Chic (Pyramid Stage, Sunday)
Chic at Glasto were so much more than I expected. They were more because they accomplished 3 things: Great music, a stage presence like no other, and they brought everyone in the crowd together. It made people come out of their shells and defy their norm. Never in my life did I think I’d see a straight lad with his arm elbow deep in his girlfriend’s jeans singing Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out. Along with that, when Nile Rodgers told the story of him beating cancer, the sun suddenly came out and the crowd all smiled and cheered together. And the hits! Oh my God, the hits. They all exist due to Rodgers’ compete genius. I Want Your Love, Upside Down, We Are Family, Get Lucky, Let’s Dance, Good Times. To hear them played all in one set was an absolute pleasure.
And we did dance. Some people got lucky. We had a good time. And we were family. (Quickly, move on! That was cheesy as brie).
Goldfrapp (John Peel Stage, Sunday)
It’s Sunday afternoon – often the time of the weekend when one may feel ‘tired and emotional’, but not so this year. The sun had come out, the Gin had come out, and Goldfrapp were in the John Peel Tent banging out a festival friendly and fan squealingly impressive set.
This was the perfect Glastonbury fodder – all iconic – all delivered with passion and electronic vigor. Even new song Systemagic slid nicely in to the largely Supernature flavoured line up of tunes. This was a show of confidence, embracing again their most successful and commercial era. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ride A White Horse sound quite so epic. By the final chords of Strict Machine the crowd had to be scraped down off the ceiling.
This was the perfect set for a much loved, established band, back once again in the limelight with an excellent new album, Silver Eye.
Tom Chaplin (Acoustic Tent, Friday)
In the acoustic tent away from the madness of the larger stages and sportswear, Tom Chaplin, former Keane front man, delivered a beautiful and heartwarming mix of Keane hits and newer songs from his recent solo career. This was a man who was genuinely happy to be at Glastonbury (he looked freshly showered) and wanted nothing more then to perform on stage to please his audience – and please us he certainly did!
Chaplin put every bit of energy he had into his beautiful performance for a small crowd of largely dedicated fans who arrived to listen, and connect with him. I’m certain I wasn’t the only person in the crowd to tear up, in fact a total stranger standing next to me drunkenly (& loudly) declared her undying love for him and demanded his landline number – what is this, 1990? I’m sure it was pure coincidence when subsequently he dedicated songs to his wife and daughter – so that put an end to that!
Tom embraced his Keane years, showed off his new work and wowed the audience with his voice. Right there in that moment, it was easy to fall in love.
London Grammar (John Peel Stage, Sunday)
When it comes to films I am a crier. I still can’t watch Titanic without my bottom lip trembling like the mighty ship’s hull against that bloody iceberg. Brokeback Mountain – floods. Philomena – everytime. The Lion King – dead. But never in my gig-going life (and I go to a lot of gigs, sorry not sorry) have a I stood and watched an artist with tears flowing down my face, in this instance smudging my Win Butler-esque face paint beyond fix. Whether it’s their intention or not, this is what London Grammar do to me.
Their Sunday early evening slot brought a big enough crowd to overfill the John Peel tent, and while there’s something emotionally euphoric about opener Hey Now and Wasting My Young Years, it was the one-two hit of Sights and Hell To The Liars (from this year’s Truth Is A Beautiful Thing) that killed me. Hannah Reid’s voice is transcendent, once again highlighted when she performs the Truth… title track almost acapella, channeling an entire choir into one voice. The band put me through turmoil, I’ve never left a performance feeling more emotionally drained than I imagine the performers to be, and I didn’t enjoy anything at Glastonbury more.
The National (The Pyramid, Saturday)
In the past The National have talked about the push and pulls that go into the process of making their records. Guitarist Aaron Dessner rather handily offered a nice summation of it being ‘reconciling the high art aspirations of (twin brother) Bryce and the garage band purism of (lead singer) Matt’. The National seem to enjoy living in these contrasts. Comfortable and complementary in their settled dwellings. It’s something that sticks when they leave their digs too.
Rather than the musically academic backing, it is Matt Berninger who pushes National shows toward explosive polyrhythmic exhibitions. And us to worried voyeurism. The intricate and painstakingly trained rosé glazed grandeur of their studio selves live on within, but the two sets of brothers know how to rough it up and get down with the unrelenting aggressive bar room edgelord beauty who skulks around the stage clinging to bottles of white wine and throwing mic stands. On the Saturday they played 5 new songs, including new single This System Only Dreams In Total Darkness, and each of them felt like a further extension of the bands milky powers. Sad dancing and unsteady screaming greeted us for those numbers, and stayed for the Trouble Will Find Me, while the Worthy Farm air was steeped in monochrome as we arched our necks waiting to ascend into the cinematic ether of trifecta High Violet highlights.