Friday, 6 July 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Iggy

glastonbury 07
Originally uploaded by patfoz.
Okay, some time has passed, the bile has mellowed, and my memories have taken on a slightly rosier hue. So, for what it's worth, here's what I thought of the world's premiere and music festival, in reverse order...

The Iggy

Anyone who was at Glastonbury and missed Iggy and the Stooges on the Other stage on Saturday night would no doubt be kicking themselves when they read the music press on returning to civilisation. You can't blame them: you could understand not wanting to see a bunch of decrepit senior citizens trying to recreate their 15 minutes, the risk of disappointment was high. But, as I have been reminded, Iggy is actually a terminator-like robot sent back from the future to save rock. And on that Saturday night, in the middle of a field in Pilton, he may have done just that.

Clad in his usual uniform of skin-tight jeans and nothing else (at least he wasn't in his other uniform of just nothing else), the Ig-bot came onto stage and did his damnedest to save us from our future of tasteless pop-rock and manufactured groups of beautiful people with no talent (unfortunately, Ig's work may have been for nothing, as the Spice Girls are reforming. Booo!)

A ripping rendition of 'wanna be your dog' opened proceedings, then Ig began calling people to come up on stage, and yelling 'Let them up!' when security tried to stop people answering Ig's call. You may as well have tried to stop the tides...

With what looked like a couple hundred people jumping around on the stage, and Iggy wandering among the crowd, it looked like the set might be over after the first two songs. At this point Iggy changed his mind, and started calling on the 'muddy motherfuckers' (Ig's words) to get off the stage. As you can imagine, having gained the stage, these people weren't about to leave in a hurry. It took nearly 20 minutes, and Iggy singing 'The shadow of your smile' acapella to get the young ragamuffins off the stage. Iggy clearly wasn't happy with the way security were dealing with some of them, at one point yelling 'You can't do that to a man dressed as a clown!'

While other punters were muttering that Iggy must have been pretty stupid to invite the crowd on stage after only two songs... geez, doesn't he realise that he'll have to get them off the stage before the next song? all those drugs must have addled his brain... I on the other hand recognized Iggy's true genius: it was a sublime piece of showmanship to fill in the time that The Stooges probably couldn't fill with songs. My supposition was confirmed when the encore consisted of a repeat of 'your dog,' but it was that good it deserved to be played twice.

The Bad
Now, the great thing about Glastonbury is that there's so much on there's always something you want to watch. And the worst thing about Glastonbury is that there's so much on there's always something else you want to watch somewhere else AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME! To make matters worse, the programmers also saw fit to keep some of the performances secret, so that you can't even make an informed choice as to what it is you want to see.

The worst case of this occurred on the Saturday night after Iggy had done his damage to the Other Stage. The official programme said that 'Special Guests' would be playing at Lost Vagueness (Las Vegas? geddit? it's a part of the festival grounds that I didn't even get to over the weekend, that's how big this thing is). An Irishman in the portaloo queue said he'd heard rumours that the Special Guests were none other than Madness. I weighed up trusting the words of a drunk Irishman trying to cut ahead of me in a toilet queue, and the reality of trekking to an unknown part of the farm at midnight across a mile or so of mud... I chose to go back to the tent and sleep. I later found out that it was Madness playing that night, and it was incredible, and it was the absolutely greatest moment of the whole fucking festival!

And that's the last I want to hear of it. Ever.

I could also complain about the mud, the loss of the original hippy ideals to consumerism and wellington-boot price gouging, and the fact that people are no better than selfish, thoughtless pigs when it comes to choosing between walking along the muddy path, or tramping their muddy boots all over your tent... but I won't. Much.

The Good
Where to begin? At the beginning is probably a good idea...

The View: proved Scots that the further North you get in the UK, the better you rock.

Modest Mouse
: were overshadowed by all the Smiths fans simply there to see Johnny Marr. So I left to see...

Gogol Bordello: only saw half their set, but they crammed a whole weekend's worth of energy into that half. Mind-blowing gypsy punk. If you get a chance, see them. So good I've pre-ordered a CD on the interweb (they don't have Fish records stores over here). 3rd worst act to see if on a bad acid trip.

Amy Winehouse: Not sure if you'll have heard of her in Oz... think 'The Nanny' with self mutilation issues. Highlight was bringing out a few members of the Specials and performing a few covers with them.

The Hold Steady: Like Gogol Bordello, I only caught a fraction of the set, and like Gogol Bordello, I wish I could have seen it all. A lot of press called theirs the set of the festival. Big call, but they could be right. American suburban rock done right. Springsteen would be proud.

The Cat Empire: still kick arse live. They had every Aussie in Pilton crammed into the Avalon tent, and funnily enough, it was the only time where I was a victim of and acted out my crowd-rage - apparently we ARE complete pricks when overseas. If you're too drunk to stay on your feet don't push in front of people and try to dance, cock-head. You know who you are, and I don't regret pushing you over.

Bjork: 2nd worst act to see if on a bad trip. She's freaky. Don't know why, but the stage show reminded me of 'Where the wild things are.'


Josh Pyke: love his songs, but his performance didn't really fill the small 'Park' stage.

Lilly Allen: made the sun come out with Smile. Cameraman went for the cheesy shot of a toddler singing along to '...and it makes me smiii-iiiile, yeah it makes me smiiii-iile.' I think he missed a trick in not filming the small girl singing along to '..girl on the guest list's dressed like a cunt'

Guillemots: the absolute worst act to see on a bad acid trip, from the freaky stilt dancers with reversed heads, to the song with the repeated chorus: "they're coming and they're trying to steal my face" (very catchy tune by the way).

John Fogerty: Rach's favourite performance of the weekend. Made me think of the Simpsons gag:
Marge- 'Quick Homer, perform CPR!'
Homer- 'uh okay... I see a bad moon risin'...'

The Stooges: see The Iggy


The Marley Brothers: What's better than one Marley performing the songs from Exodus? Two Marleys performing the songs from Exodus! Sure, it ain't Bob, but they had the trustafarians in the crowd on cloud nine and puffing away so hard that you could hardly smell the portaloos anymore.

Shirley Bassey: Rach's second favourite performance.

Manic Street Preachers: much better than I expected - they've written a lot more anthems than I gave them credit for. Probably deserved a better spot than 6.30 on the Sunday, but apparently they bad-mouthed the festival last time they played it. Definitely made amends.

KT Tunstall: proved that Scottish lasses can give the lads a run for their money too. Another of Rach's favourites.

The Who: Did passable covers of the CSI theme and that song on you tube by the Zimmers.

All in all, a very muddy weekend. The nightmare trip home on the Monday is another story all together

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