Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Glasto Sunday Report: Hard To Get Into and Even Harder To Get Out Of!

What a way to start your day.

Shuffling around to the very nice gypsy sounds of Forty Thieves Orkestar and suddenly one of the five or so people dancing has collapsed. Great hardly up out of bed and I get to see some one die. She's twitching and very pale - her boyfriend is screaming to her stay with him, the securities are running and walkie talkieing. All is well though within a minute or two she's back up and talking and able to take a sip of water - doctors arrive in about 8 minutes (which I thought was pretty excellent given the mud etc).

Myself and Wattser wander of around Glasto central shopping area - got the free daily guide and confirmed there would be direct coaches outa there on Monday morning.

We get back to the Jazz stage for an Australian outfit called Ganga Giri. This seems to be another band relying on the trusty crowd-pleasing format of ethno cheese, rapping and drum machines. It seems sooo, sooo easy in the hands of Bondo or the likes of Buraka Som Sistema from last night. But it quickly appears that misapplied it can bomb and bomb very badly - these guys were terrible.

Towards the end I formulated the theory that they were in fact a small hard right wing group who had set up the band as a deliberate attempt to destroy the remains of aboriginal culture through generating comically awful piss take music.

The rain returns.

Sticking with the Jazz area and the next up where a frentic Japanese jazz combo calling themselves the Soil and Pimp Sessions These fellas where astonishingly talented and crowd hypers par excellence. Quickly we all found ourselves jumping around and roaring soil soil at the top of our lungs. Full marks for the complicated “brass off” between the trumpet and sax men and the crazy “bezz style” band leader in the pork pie hat.

Nothing would do me now but to catch a bit of CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy) on the Other Stage.

These guys are tired of being sexy (I know it can be a pain like). Personally I doubt I could get tired of watching miss lurve fox changing from really over the top cat suit to even more over the top cat suit.

In the end for my money they were completely overwhelmed by the other stage, very, very bad sound and their own alcohol consumption - though it was a good natured drunkenness which had them charmingly falling around, dropping mikes and generally generating confusion.

Still and all they still managed to knock out pretty decent versions of Lets make love and music is my hot hot sex.

Off to the dance area to meet mate Simon, charming wife Caroline and Posse for some faffing. Bondo's time had being switched so headed for the wonderful roots area for Ariwa records supreme Mad Professor The Prof and the soundman were immediately at variance as the first baseline sends the speakers shaky with distortion. The crowd in here were lovely helped out in no small measure by the ferocious skunk that the Brits love so well. I found I got quite a good buzz just wandering and sniffing the weed-saturated air. Mad prof was excellent as were a couple of younger singings to his label (a girl singing and too really young rappers)- proper deep, deep dub with modern touches. A massive standing ovation and demands for more, which seemed to take them totally by surprise.

Back in the dance lounge Erol Aiken is laying down a bombardment of that cheesy breakbeat house style which some people rather weirdly refer to as electro. A crowd of insane mongers is spilling out from all round the tent and into the mud - it's the best crowd reaction I've seen so far but not really my style of stuff. After a lot of toing and foring Bondo de Role leap onto the stage.

What a fucking insane gig.

Think three cats tied up in a bag of sugar but about to be thrown into the river.

They purr mewl, bite and fight.

“Meet me after school and I'll beat you like guerrilla”

Or how about this for an intro

“This is a romantic song, this one is for you and you and you - this is a song about sharing cock”

Over the course of 45 minutes the small audience of maybe 100 or folks witness

Outrageous cod diva posses - with winkin!

Simulated “riding” from almost every position

Repeated attempts to tear of clothes!

Live biting and licking sessions

A three person piggyback ride

A wheelie mud rubbing and throwing session

A stage invasion by

  1. All of CSS
  2. 2. A giant cat
  3. 3. A bearded man in a wonderful gold lame dress
  4. 4. All of Erol Alkan and his crew

Surely there are rules governing this much fun in a non built up area

While all of this is going on the three of them manage to keep perfect timing on all beats and rhymes over a stew of beats from Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Europe's Final countdown (oh yeah). Salt and Peppa, Summer Loving from Grease and various baile funk loops of their own devising. Is it rock and roll or simply shouting over thieved beats - I wouldn't care to speculate!

There is really not much point in crapping on much further it was superb.

I got briefly diverted to the cabaret stage in the circus area which was really nice and theatrical and there witnessed Four Poofs and a Piano (very funny) and irish crazy comic Andrew Maxell (very, very, very funny) - then repaired back to the tent and kidded myself that I could sleep for a while!

For the evening back to the Jazz Stage - a few pints of Perry pear cider and a bit of John Fogarty, then a long gap as Rodrigo y Gabriela were having technical problems. Technical problems!??! How can one have fecking technical problems with two acoustic guitars! Oh no I need my “lucky” plectrum.

Any way lots of chats with random strangers - Glasto is brilliant for this and kicks lumps out of ATP or any muso style festival in this regard. Eventually they started and I was glad to have seen em live - though I half missed it as the chat was too good. I thought the Pink Floyd stuff was silly.

The rest of the night - total waste of time. Drifted back to the Glade on the half hearted belief that a cancelled Hex static gig was going to be rescheduled - not a chance. This was a slow and painful walk against thousands of punters coming down from the main stage. But the attempt to get home was the real bastard. Traffic flow was directed all over the camp - Lost Vagueness and the mucky hill with our tents was more or less out of bounds due to (yawn) “surprise” gigs by Madness and that dribbling idiot Fat Boy Slim (the billionth “surprise” gig of his career - one punter retold an incident at Glasto one year where she was just standing minding her own business and a tank drove up next to her - out pops Fat Boy Slim to pull a “surprise” gig!) - a long long treck home and a deadly fall in the mud - left me pretty much spent for the day…

Part 3 Sunday (alert alert - boring section follows!)

Sunday dawns with rain and low moral. Myself and Paul sit in the nice Lost Vagueness crepe joint and speculate about staying there all day.

It has this advantage - dryness.

Finally a plan is roughly hatched to take in a few bands in our local hood are but that treks to the likes of the Go Team or Cold Cut are not happening - Dame Shirley Bassey is out - diamante wellies or not!

We bum around the Bimble Inn in the Avolon field and the sun comes out and its quite warm and there's mud wrestling which leaves me quite happy. Also they have Jameson, which leaves me even happier. Ah the simple pleasures!

The first band we dragged ourselves along to were a quite diverting mix of folk and electronic and, almost, rave betimes. They were called Tunng - I thought they were good - particularly liked the homemade bass thingy with the giant elastic band played by a lad they'd only just met - bespeaks confidence but seems like such instant collaborations are quite common in the “folk world”

The band I was most looking forward to were Tinariwen. OK y'all know the deal - a gun toating rebel band of fierce nomadic Tuareg desert tribesmen, no place to call there own - trained in Moammar al-Qadhafi's camps - traded guitars for AK47s and so on. They are ferociously good - playing a low key but gradually building set. They sounded something like seven Rory Gallaghers on a blissed out mellow buzz of a Sunday afternoon- except for the scarfs and robes of course! Very blues rock driven but yet subtly African in a way couldn't quite put yer finger on - OK maybe it was the chanting! Thoroughly enjoyable.

After a bit of a gap me favourite gypsy crooners Beirut are on. They were lucky by all accounts after a fierce taxi fuckup left them almost in the middle of nowhere. I looked the off kilter lutes and ukuleles and the lovely, lovely melancholy trumpet sounds - quite as good as their album. The lead singer is a bit mad though! Finally for the Jazz Field Amp Fiddler - I dunno it sounded OK if you just swayed around clicking your fingers and occasionally muttered “sophisticated” to yourself (give it a go - works for most jazz funk!) It was quite slick, very slick' in fact, but, at the end of the day, not shockingly original or innovative - but he worked the small wet crowd very well…

Darkness descending and for some crazy reason myself and Paul decided to take a gander at Kila - who of course you can see any old day in Dublin! But they were (in fairness)on top form! I've only seen them twice before I think but it was a mesmerising set in a gradually filling Avalon stage. Oh the percussion, the harmonies - the intensity, the tunes, the “progging” out (very, very prog) - the battering with percussion (at one stage every one of them was simultaneously battering something and signing!) I especially enjoyed that gorgeous tune “Glan na scamill amach as mo chroi” (clean the cloud out from my heart! It works I tell ya!) The crusties began to filter in - it was fun. The rain resumed its tiny patters…

After this (for some strange reason) nothing would do us but to go and see a weird band combining Elizabethan courtly music, traditional medivial ballads and spacey seventies rock. They're called Circulus. Sounds like it could be awful doesn't it? Sounds like the “outer limits” part of pulling yer wire magazine gone mental eh?!?

No actually they were well worth the horrific attempts to slide up the muddy slope of park and the standing around in the rain - because they were actually extremely entertaining and certainly fairly tongue in cheek - me-lord.

After that wandered home via the upper parts (Stone circle, Green field etc) there by avoiding any crazed mobs from the Who and the Chemical brothers! After that it was huddling in tents listening to a seven hour down pour, packing up tents in pouring rain, standing freezing for three hours before escaping to Bristol.

From what I understand we were among the lucky ones. Glasto - hard to get into and even harder to get out off!

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Enjoyed the 3 reviews, great to hear about the smaller acts that played, nice one!
Cheers boss - mind you since then I've been thinking why go to a big festival and, at least, not check out soem of teh huge acts as well ... maybe next year

Cheers boss - mind you since then I've been thinking why go to a big festival and, at least, not check out soem of teh huge acts as well ... maybe next year

Ah yeah man, I always end up at the main stage for a few acts every festival i go to, they'd be bands i like mind you!
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