I haven’t been to the Glastonbury festival for 10 years. The last time I went was just after an extended trip to India, and presented with the lanes of hippy clothing, food stalls and drugs on offer, I thought that if I wanted this kind of thing, I’d return to India, where it’s far cheaper, marginally less crowded, and the music is better! (well, it was the very early ’90s!)
I returned to Glastonbury this year though, to catch The Dorothy Strain, playing on the Sunday at the New Bands Tent. I don’t know how many people had actually planned to see DS or had just wandered into the tent, but it was full and excitable in a hot, hungover kind of way.
The set started lively with Protest Song, pounding grunge guitars, propelling Julianne’s startling vocal which quivered with raw passion. The flames of newness excited the crowd and I could feel the prickle of ‘who ARE this band?’. The mania of Lament reached into the fervour of Misunderstood, and bass trombonist Shane’s head looked set to fly off at several points during the gig.
Julianne, who was looking beautiful in blue, sang anthemically, stuttering her arm with emotions jittering to escape. Which they did in Skyscraper, as the roaring drums propelled a wall of beautiful noise you lose yourself in. Warren’s guitar sound lit up the room, sweat spraying from his forehead as he headed into a beautifully grinding guitar solo.
Bass player Toby and Warren then swapped instruments for Romancer and Toby played what can only be described as a ‘sitar/guitar thing’, and amazing it sounded too, rasping on a rhythmic hook, catching the crowd alight.
The Dorothy Strain have a dark, brooding energy. However, seeing them on a sunny day at a sunny festival doesn’t jar in the slightest, as passion breeds passion and they excite in ways so many other bands can never hope to. Catch them while you can, while they’re small enough to play these small tents and intimate venues – it won’t be for long.