30 June 2008

Glastonbury: Other Bits And Bobs

Well, since my red button wasn't working (curse the BBC again!) I was reduced to watching the highlights, which generally only consisted of a song or two from each featured artist, which turned out to be very few. Still, here's some other little snippets of what I caught.

Mark Ronson: I'm starting with this guy because I want to get it over with. Ohhh..... This was slightly torturous. Especially his cover of the Smith's "Stop Me" which he has slaughtered, disembollowed and buried with a mass of horns and saxophones. Daniel Merriweather's voice just doesn't do Morrissey any justice. Oh, and he had Lily Allen on stage with him and the ditzy thing had forgotten the words to her own songs, even though she wasn't drunk like Amy Winehouse (there's a surprise. Lily Allen? Not drunk?). He did a slightly better job of Candie Payne's "I Wish I Could Have Loved You More" but I hope he doesn't go putting it on his next album.

Hot Chip: They had Wiley on stage with them, and together they did a version of "Wearing My Rolex" which was a lot more tolerable than the original - then again, would you expect a rubbish version from the Chipsters? As usual, it was "Ready For the Floor" and "Over and Over" which received the biggest cheers. They seemed to be trying a more rock sound that night - I'm sure there was a more heavy guitar sound than usual. It wasn't a bad thing though. Maybe they should keep the new sound.

The Fratellis: Bland, bland bland. They reckon they've made their sound bigger, but I still think they're trying too hard to be something they'll never be. Mix some rubbish lyrics with some "heavy" guitar lyrics and a lot of apparent style over substance and you've basically got the Fratellis wrapped up in a neat little package. How on earth these guys outranked the Editors is beyond me but still.... if it's what they really want. Glad I didn't see "Chelsea Dagger".

Kings of Leon: Not a bad performance for first-day headliners KOL. Now that frontman Caleb Followhill is off the drugs, his lyrics are now far more understandable. They gave a good solid performance while playing songs like "The Bucket", "Fans" and "Molly's Chambers" in a set that spanned all three of their albums. Nice, and I wish I could have seen more. I think I could really get into them if I just gave them more of a chance.

The Zutons: Their new album hasn't gone down that well in the press yet they still draw some massive crowds and always end up with the fans singing along. Yesterday it was to "Valerie". Yes, that song that Mark Ronson wrecked (like a reverse Midas touch musically, but he generates a heck of a lot of money). They actually made Ronson join him on stage during the song, and he stood there in a very funny looking bowler hat looking a bit lost and playing the guitar. The original version of "Valerie" is undoubtedly the best. I found "Pressure Point" and "Why Won't You Give Me Your Love" enjoyable as well.

Estelle: (Shudder). No heart. No soul. All feathery dress and high heels. R'n'B singer Estelle knows how to bore an audience. Well, except the people who were actually there who all seemed to be really into tunes such as "American Boy" and "1980". But it's simply flashy! There's just no substance to her songs and she never looks passionate about what she sings. The Jazz/World Stage has had a funny Glasto really.

Vampire Weekend: Soft, fairly safe New York indie for people who don't know where else to start. No, I'm being a bit harsh. I quite like Vampire Weekend and can imagine listening to them quite comfortably but I have to say that "Oxford Comma" annoys me to no end. The tune wouldn't be too bad, but I think it's the lead singer's high-pitched voice that completely grates. Please, take that little bit out and I won't be angry with you VW! Still, a pretty good performance that everyone seemed to enjoy.

The Futureheads: One million times better now that they've cut out all of the "oh oh ohs". Still, the staccato style of the lead singer is slightly offputting and annoying, despite the fact that live their sound seems to be beefed up a bit. On record, they're just a bit wet, but seeing them live seemed to confirm that their music is better when heard in a tent with a hundred amps. Nice, clean.... an improvement.

The Raconteurs: Jack White's other band put on one of the best performances I saw this weekend. You can never expect the guys to do a conventional performance and stick to what they've recorded in the studio. "Steady As She Goes" ended up as an improvised, seven-minute-long rock-fest. Easily one of the best bands of the festival.

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