Glastonbury 2017 Day Four: Thundercat, Corbyn, Foo Fighters, The National

A cracking headline slot and a politically-empowering speech from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn defined Saturday at Glastonbury Festival 2017.

The order of the day was love, which is apparently all you really need. The Bootleg Beatles opened the Pyramid with a Sgt. Peppers-era set that featured a the likes of ‘A Little Help From My Friends’, ‘Penny Lane’, ‘I Am The Walrus’ and ‘A Day in the Life’, though I was personally disappointed they didn’t add the extra twenty verses recently written by Peter Serafinowicz.

I was able to dash across the site to catch the entire Whitney set, which was an uplifting surprise despite the weather. The fresh-faced American band, led by drummer/vocalist Julien Ehrlich, wooed the crowd with their hazy Americana tunes and sarcastic banter. It’s rare for me to get so entranced by a band after just 45 minutes of listening but I’m keen to hear more now.

The Thundercat set on the West Holts Stage was a showcase of musicianship masterclasses, though it was married with a penchant for memorable and soulful delivery by frontman Stephen Bruner.

One defining moment of the day came from an empowering speech from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. He spoke for around ten minutes to a packed crowd in the Pyramid and it felt like everyone in attendance took a step to the left, no matter where they started from. Admittedly, he was inevitably going to be popular here, but he’s quickly becoming the voice of a generation that seemed for so long to have nobody fighting their corner. The next five years will be the most interesting politically Britain has seen for decades.

From the stirring to the boring, The Kaiser Chiefs blandly went through he motions of their set to an indifferent crowd clearly waiting for Liam Gallagher to appear. This kind of band brings out the worst in middle-aged people clearly harbouring dormant lad culture personas inside their older bodies. Out come the Kangol hats, Oasis t-shirts and angry alter-egos and, some eight pints later, everyone can have a fight. Wonderful. Liam put in a solid performance, mind you, with a mixture of tracks from his upcoming ‘As You Were’ album and Oasis hits (up to and including 1997 but no later).

The National underlined the 10+ recommendations I’ve had from friends who clearly have better music taste than me. They were brilliant and had the crowds singing along. I’ve no idea how they’ve slipped through the net thus far but they’ll be unslipping very shortly.

The absolute hands-down 100% best set of the day came from Foo Fighters. They performed for well over two hours, providing hit after hit from their eight studio albums and their upcoming ninth album Concrete and Gold, due for release later this year. Starting with ‘Times Like These’, which was sweetly dedicated to Florence Welch, they blasted through a set that included ‘This Is A Call’, ‘All My Life’, new single ‘Run’, ‘My Hero’ and ended on fan favourite ‘Everlong’. The crowd didn’t want them to stop, so just carried on the chanting from ‘Best of You’ as they dispersed. Special mention to Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl for duetting on ‘Under Pressure’, doing their best impressions of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. A classic moment.

If only I could get those songs out of my head I’d be able to sleep better!

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Glastonbury Day Five: The Who, Paul Weller, The Shires, body pain, inevitably poor personal hygiene 

Well, there we have it. Another year of good-hearted, fun-loving live music done and dusted as Glastonbury 2015 comes to a close. All the flaws my body has developed over its first thirty years have come to the surface and I am out of both alcohol and money. It has been emotional.

The highlight set for my party on the Sunday was a crowd-pleasing effort from Paul Weller. With a career spanning 40 years he had plenty to go on and the song selection was spot on, allowing him to promote his new material a little whilst reminding everyone just how good he is. My favourite track was “Above The Clouds”, though “Peacock Suit” was a close second. His voice didn’t even have a hint of cracking at any point, which bodes well for a long future of touring yet. It was also nice to see Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock on stage with Mr Weller again. Well done sirs. It was a stunning set.

  

The Who were the first headline act we saw on the main stage. Hit after hit arrived on the sound-system as a genuine rock giant showed the Glastonbury crowd what a real gig was like. Kanye take note – you can get cocky once you’ve had some quality output. Two hours of rocking inevitably ended with a bit of set destruction, but we wouldn’t have expected anything less.

Apparently they were having sound issues but I didn’t really notice; far worse was Lionel Richie earlier in the day who sounded like the bass drum was being played by someone keeping time to a different tune. Wholly off putting and a genuine set ruined for everyone I could hear complaining vocally in the crowd.

The Shires were an odd but fruitful choice. I was pushing to see them, against the will of at least one of my party. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous country tunes and beautiful vocals they are blessed with. They aren’t a groundbreaking act and I think everyone there knows that, but what they do have are some excellent songs to sing along to and an inspiring attitude that got the whole audience on side immediately. “State Lines” is still in my head now.

Elsewhere Eric Bibb and The Bootleg Beatles were juxtaposed on the Acoustic Stage but were equally brilliant; Patti Smith seemed like she was struggling to engage with the crowd, although the Dalai Lama saved the day with some thought-provoking messages; and the night was rounded off by a secret DJ set from 2manydjs at Arcadia, because we love having our faces burned off by a giant spider [1]. We even managed to take in an under-advertised sneak preview of the new Pixar film Inside Out (more on that at a later date).

The countdown has now begun to the return home and have a proper shower and a comfy. Believe me, it is much-needed.

Thank you Mr Eavis for inviting us all to the best party of the summer. Sorry we wrecked everything. We promise we’ll be tidier next time.

[1] To be honest, we felt so claustrophobic that we went back to our campsite and listened from there. You know, like all the cool kids.