Live Music + Gig Reviews

Glastonbury 2011: Day 3 @ Worthy Farm, Glastonbury

27 June 2011

Theres a tinge of sadness to Sunday afternoon, waking up to find half the tents nearby packed away and a slow procession dragging their bags wearily to the car parks, the mud turned to dust. But theres no hint of flagging in TV On The Radios Other Stage performance, their songs tightly wound and flecked with jazz. A frantic Wolf Like Me aside, theres a notable lack of commitment to older material though, a mid-set Staring At The Sun seeming almost grudging, and their closing cover of the Ghostbusters theme is frankly baffling and almost hallucinatory in the heat.

The crowd for Eels might have started thin, but it quickly grew as the band reminded us how solid and consistent their back catalogue is. The re-arranged likes of Losing Streak, I Like Birds and My Beloved Monster were the highlights and Novocaine For The Soul inspired one of the gentlest audience sing-alongs of the weekend.

Robyn should always perform with faulty equipment. As entertaining as her songs are – and they are very entertaining – its her rage at a malfunctioning wireless microphone that provides the real highlight, Robyn venting at a hapless stage technician before storming offstage, returning moments later to launch a mic-stand through the air before offering a meek apology. The set that follows just cant match that intro.

For Queens Of The Stone Age aggression and rage are pretty much the norm, and theyre on good form, Josh Homme throwing out mocking barbs at Beyonc and Kaiser Chiefs that play well with a crowd that looks fresh from Download. After the Roskilde tragedy Michael Eavis had pretty much sworn off booking heavier acts, but their Other Stage headline slot is a masterstroke, grinding and visceral and genuinely exciting.

Which sadly can’t be said of The Streets Glastonbury swansong at the John Peel tent, which has the rowdy quality of Wetherspoons on a Friday without even the thrill of the flying glass. Sure, Mike Skinners shows always had a shambolic, cut-and-paste feel – charmingly so – but the shoddy sound and largely apathetic crowd, coupled with Skinner himself, topless and leery as he fantasises about Beyonc, just makes this seem a bit pathetic, a far cry from the bow-out that the band deserved.

Beyoncs set is, of course, exactly the end that the festival deserves: bold, dynamic and verging on the ridiculous, the lady herself rising through the stage, her thighs primed to hypnotise the masses. And shes pretty much perfect, her performance effortlessly enjoyable if rather empty, like gorging on sugar.

And sure enough, the crash comes later, as the crowds buzz towards Arcadia and the Pyramid lights dim over a flow of paper cups and plastic bottles, fold-up chairs and sweat-drenched clothing, and festival programmes that point out that its 725 days until we get to come back to Worthy Farm again.

  1. Glastonbury 2011:
    Day 1 and a bit | Day 2 | Day 3

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