Glastonbury 2009

30.06.09 Words by: Charlie Jones

The news about Michael Jackson’s death travelled around the site rapidly. I received a text whilst walking passed East 17 playing Stay Another Day which was slightly surreal. Hours later the Una Bombers played an extended version of Thriller and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip dropped Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough into his set with the Greco Roman Soundsystem.

The Dance West tent on the Friday had plenty of Dummy faves in evidence. Whomadewho won over the crowd with a stunning set (peaked by their metal version of Flat Beat). Skream & Benga (pictured) received a heroes welcome and relished it. Near their set’s end they both stage dived and the crowd ruined Skream’s t-shirt in seconds. They both ended up back behind the decks cackling and high fiving. Erol Alkan headlined with a storming two hour set concluding with MGMT and Michael Jackson.

The Guardian Lounge tent was good for seeing new bands close up. Micachu and the Shape were utterly charming with their junk shop pop and Little Boots played with just a piano and her Ten Orion. Her set included Blur’s To The End and Michael Jackson’s Earth Song (though thankfully not as long as the original).

Despite being in a 7,000 capacity tent La Roux needed somewhere much bigger to play as it was impossible to get near her. A bona fide pop star is born.

Last year Franz Ferdinand played The Park unannounced, this year it was Klaxons who provided the surprise. They appeared in fancy dress, it seemed, in homage to the works of Tim Burton: a headless Jamie from Sleepy Hollow, James as Edward Scissorhands (who hits the odd bum note perhaps due to the costume) and Simon as Beetlejuice. Stripped of gimmicky new rave background the songs from Myths of the Near Future can now stand up as the super melodic pop songs they are. They sounded great. Only two new songs are aired though which begs an answer to the question, Just when will their second album be ready?

Horse Meat Disco hosted the Downlow in the after hours of Trash City. A 70s gay disco recreated in a field in Pilton complete with trannies cooing down from the first floor. You had to wear a handle bar moustache to gain entry and inside Severino was playing, appropriately, Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome.

Best t-shirts seen: Ketamine, just say neigh. The Jackson 5 are looking for a new member. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.

Blur do what Bruce Springsteen failed to do: pace their set with a sprinkling of hits. Though the Boss had many highlights – the steam rising off him as he played The River was mine – he has never played a festival before and his set was pitched at long term fans. Blur have headlined Glastonbury in 1998 and they rose to the occasion. Though Parklife and Girls and Boys were wildly received it was slower songs like Coffee & TV, To The End and surprisingly Tender which overwhelmed (not least Damon Albarn who appeared to blub at one point).

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