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Glastonbury 2014: Top 30 Moments + Photos

Festival Review

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    Tony Hardy (TH): The first rule of Glastonbury is that only you can create your own snapshot. Your experience could be totally different to the next person and the next and so forth. Whatever kind of music you are into, you’ll find it here. You can party like it’s 1999, 1970 or any year you want to choose. Or chill, take your time, breath in, bliss out.

    Scott C. Moore (SM): Get there early, though. The scale of this mother of all festivals is nearly incomprehensible, so arriving on Wednesday or Thursday will help to accomplish the impossible task of taking it all in. While many of the main stages will still be under construction, food vendors and bars across the site are fully operational and everyone in attendance is in a celebratory mood. Don’t see any big names scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday? Don’t worry about it. Allow the feel of the place to lead you, and you won’t be disappointed.

    TH: The size and scale of the festival site is still daunting but once you get over the sight that greets you as you gaze across the valley, it starts to fit into place. Glastonbury is arranged like a series of small, interconnected villages each with a stage or more.

    Glastonbury - Mariel Wood - 2626

    Photo by Mariel Wood

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    SM: You can find yourself in the center of the market area listening to Irish folk music emanating from a quaint gazebo. Or you could drift over to a field in the English countryside for a throbbing underground night club in Block 9. It’s great.

    TH: The signs that point the way are now taking on an antique quality, but they work. And despite a few necessary updates, the otherwise marvelous pocket guide produced by The Guardian does its job. I’m still trying to get over the absence of Robyn Hitchcock and the Spirit of ’71 stage and don’t want to be reminded where it was used to stand every time I open the map. And where, oh where is William’s Green!

    SM: My advice? Walk around the site, yes, the whole site. You didn’t come to Glastonbury to get shit faced in front of your tent (if you did, you’ve overpaid for the privilege), so explore the grounds and figure out what it’s going to take to get from the Pyramid to West Holts when you need to rush between two can’t miss shows later in the weekend.

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    ag cos 15 Glastonbury 2014: Top 30 Moments + Photos

    Photo by Adam Gasson

    TH: Good advice, Scott. As you know, this year marked the festival’s 44th year, and host Michael Eavis has already announced he’ll be stepping down when it turns 50, handing both reins to daughter, Emily. He will leave a huge legacy. Why? Because more than any other music festival, Glastonbury is a cultural extravaganza the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.

    What’s more, the organization is amazing, and the festival’s a tribute to everyone who works there, whatever role they have. From guides to guards, each staff member handles whatever weather and humans can collectively throw at them with grace and humor. (Let’s be sure not to forget the two tragedies that took place over the weekend.)

    Though, I do have one grouse, festival goers: take your stuff home. I did. All of it, muddy or not. After all, the by-line of Glastonbury is “Love the farm – leave no trace,” but thousands don’t. Clearly.

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    ag cos 14 Glastonbury 2014: Top 30 Moments + Photos

    Photo by Adam Gasson

    SM: Two ubiquitous campaigns on Worthy Farm are “Leave No Trace” and “Don’t Pee on the Land”. I’m not sure what is was like before those campaigns started, but there are dudes pissing EVERYWHERE and there is garbage all over the place. Volunteers do a remarkable job of keeping up with the garbage but they aren’t getting a ton of help from the attendees.

    TH: Whatever else hasn’t already been written about Glastonbury is possibly best left unsaid. Instead, enjoy our 30 favorite moments of the weekend and maybe push yourself to go next year. It ain’t easy, but what ever is?

    The Breakfast of Champions

    Jonny Greenwood and the London Sinfonietta

    Friday, West Holts – 11:10 a.m.

    Before noon on the West Holts stage on Friday, Jonny Greenwood opened on solo guitar and layered recorded loops to create a rich, sonic atmosphere. After 15 minutes of intricate strumming, the ever humble Radiohead star sheepishly thanked the crowd before leaving the stage. Greenwood was quickly replaced by the London Sinfonietta delivering Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians”. The piece dips and swells from quiet reflection to frenetic intensity, allowing a showcase for each instrument. It evokes the contemplation of humankind’s continuous struggle to understand the meaning of our existence and place in the universe. Just kidding. I have no idea what it means, but it was absolutely fucking beautiful and a perfect start to the day. –Scott C. Moore

    The War on Blondie

    Blondie/The War on Drugs

    Blondie

    Photo by Jason Bryant

    Friday, Other Stage – 12:15 p.m.; Pyramid Stage – 12:30 p.m.

    A guiding principle of Glastonbury is that at any time during the day, there are at least two bands you really want to see at the same time. Without access to the inter-stage area, which turns the miry walk between the two main stages into a comparatively short hop, the following would not be possible. Thanks to an early surprise set by Kaiser Chiefs, Blondie opened to a huge crowd with a supercharged rendition of “One Way or Another”. (Just to correct the girl to my right: no, this wasn’t a One Direction cover). Age may have taken some edge off Debbie Harry’s formidable pipes but the trio of opening songs were predictably slick, fast, and dynamic, as gaunt guitarist Chris Stein matched Harry for silver-grey chic.

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Meanwhile, over on the Pyramid stage, Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs worked through some sound issues, specifically an uncomfortable bass boom that spasmodically dulled their ringing guitars. Regardless, Adam Granduciel’s six-piece entertained a gathering throng to some classic guitar rock, chiefly culled from their recent Top Rated album, Lost in the Dream. The atmospheric, drawn-out “Under the Pressure” and emotional bruiser “Red Eyes” especially hit the spot with 2011 breakthrough song “Come to the City” providing a pinnacle closer. All through the set, Granduciel’s Dylanish drawl worked through heartache yet the music always lifted spirits. The war was won. –Tony Hardy

    Artist Least Prepared (For the Weather)

    Deltron 3030

    footage Glastonbury 2014: Top 30 Moments + Photos

    Friday, West Holts – 2:30 p.m.

    The Deltron 3030 ensemble included a horn section, backup singers, strings, a live rhythm section, a conductor/hype man, and DJ Kid Koala working three turntables and a host of electronic gadgets. Whether a testament to Del the Funky Homosapien’s delivery, the excellent West Holts sound, or both, the show was delightfully devoid of “the muddle” that plagues so much live hip-hop. Deltron 3030 dropped mind-bending rhymes backed by soaring orchestral arrangements for a genre-defying performance that had the crowd bouncing. Throw in a guest appearance from Jamie Cullum and closing the set with Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood”, and it can’t get much better. Oh, and Del called out Mars Volta’s bass player for picking up a pair of wellies onsite while he just had to deal with his shoes being all fucked up. I guess nobody told him. –Scott C. Moore

    Accessorizing with Mud

    Summer Camp

    Summer Camp

    Friday, William’s Green Stage – 3:00 p.m.

    If you’re going to turn up amid a sea of mud in a brilliant white trouser suit, then playing an indoor stage seems a wise move. Summer Camp’s brand of breezy, intelligent dance music meant the youthful audience packing the William’s Green stage was far too occupied with having a good time to practice mud-slinging, and so their outfits stayed pristine throughout. (Mind you, I was tempted briefly to target the girl with the feathered headdress obscuring my view.) Husband and wife Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey, respectively, impressed with as much confidence on stage as they did with their fashion sense. And despite that booming bass once again, the two came out on top, specifically with a singalong of “Ghost Train” and a raucous closer in “Two Chords”, the latter ending in a barrage of feedback, rather than mud, of course. –Tony Hardy

    Ready to Give Up The Day Job

    Andrew Maxwell Morris

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Friday, Bimble Inn – 4:00 p.m.

    The path towards The Bimble Inn provides a welcome pint of real ale or cider and invariably a goodly selection of acoustic-based live music. It’s a kind of pagan heaven, decked out with knotted drapes and fairy-lighted foliage, and even camp beds for the weary festival goer. Andrew Maxwell Morris is something of a regular at the festival, though he’s usually on his own with a guitar. On Friday, he was flanked by an adroit four-piece band and two backing singers, who offered much more than simply eye candy. Criminal lawyer by day, Morris held a relaxed, if not fully captive, afternoon audience with Americana-drenched songs off his new album, Well Tread Roads, and some older favorites. An earnest, flowing “In a Heartache”, Knopfler-quality soloing from the lead guitarist on “Low Light”, and a storming “January Rain” were just three stand-outs. Given the crowd he nabbed, it might be high time to close the briefcase and go for the bigger stages. –Tony Hardy

    A Dose of Midday Sunshine

    HAIM

    Photo by Mariel Wood

    Friday, The Other Stage – 4:25 p.m.

    The Haim sisters bragged about bringing some California sunshine to Glastonbury, and the ominous clouds held off just long enough to not make liars of them. A pair of covers displayed a range from sensitive (“XO” by former festival headliner Beyoncé) to bona fide rock ‘n’ roll chops (Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well”). The delivery of their own work was crisp and emphatic and punctuated with personal stories and gratuitous “fucks.” The icing on the cake came when Este told the crowd she’d bet a stage tech 100 quid that Glastonbury knew how to shake their asses. Clearly the tech never had a chance, and the sisters owned the crowd from then on. –Scott C. Moore

    Going Down a Storm

    Jimi Goodwin

    Jimi Goodwin

    Photo by Tony Hardy

    Friday, The Park – 5:00 p.m.

    Nature wasn’t very kind to Doves’ frontman Jimi Goodwin on Friday evening. As his quartet played through “Panic Tree”, the singer announced that an electrical storm was on its way and the power was being cut as a precaution; though, not before he feigned an electric shock from his mic. He was in quite a mischievous mood, clicking with his band and warming up the crowd with a melodic rendition of “Didsbury Girl”, further amplified by his tight, wiry bass. For awhile, they ignored the gathering clouds and distant lightning forks, which creeped in during a therapeutic cut of “Oh! Whiskey”. Three songs later, the storm finally took over and I imagine the nearby Bimble Inn did some extra trade, as people took shelter, perhaps even joined by the band for a few pints. –Tony Hardy

    Best Natural Phenomenon

    Double Rainbow Over the Site

    rainbow double Glastonbury 2014: Top 30 Moments + Photos

    Photo by Mariel Wood

    Friday, Left Field Area (But Probably Everywhere) — Approx. 6:20 p.m.

    I highly recommend checking out the double rainbow that looks like it’s growing out of the cabaret tent, should the opportunity arise. Ever again. –Scott C. Moore

    #NESK (Not Entirely Safe for Kids)

    Lily Allen

    Lily Allen JB

    Photo by Jason Bryant

    Friday, Pyramid Stage – 6:30 p.m.

    The Lily Allen show attracted what seemed like every kid on the grounds at Glastonbury. Kids along the front barricade. Kids on shoulders everywhere. Kids kicking me in the heels of my rain boots because I stood in front of them to see the show. It occurred to me that maybe the parents who brought them were only familiar with her radio-friendly work.

    The dance-pop diva appeared onstage in a flowing gown and pink polka-dotted, 8-inch platform heels. While initially pretty tame, eventually Allen shed the bottom half of her gown, was joined onstage by twerking backup dancers in high-waisted short shorts, and engaged in stage banter that ranged from her camel toe to calling a corrupt British politician a cunt. In other words, she was awesome. An unapologetic badass, not softened by motherhood, who only managed to chase off a few parents with kids in tow.

    The show featured massive sing-alongs to old favorites and enthusiastic receptions for her Sheezus cuts. A chorus of boos erupted when she informed the crowd her set would be shortened by the rain delay, and she cheerfully reassured them that they had an amazing evening to look forward to with Elbow and Arcade Fire still to come. –Scott C. Moore

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    Another Sunset With My Sad Captains

    Elbow

    Elbow JB

    Photo by Jason Bryant

    Friday, Pyramid Stage – 8:00 p.m.

    Once the storm had passed, the late evening sun bled through and the Pyramid stage hosted an act that Glastonbury had taken to their hearts. Majoring on tracks from its 2014 album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, Elbow was the perfect choice to accompany the sun’s descent below the horizon of this marvelous amphitheatre. Older fans might decry the lack of attention to their early catalogue, but there was no doubting the flow and grace of the latest songs, linked by Guy Garvey’s genial uncle of a personality: “Look at you all beautiful in the evening sun, your gorgeous creatures.”

    Elbow simply captured the mood and moment, peaking with the beautiful eulogy of “My Sad Captains” and building audience interaction through “Lippy Kids” to the inevitable singalong closer of “One Day Like This”. It was a time for pride and passion and an amicable way to forget that England were out of the World Cup. Yet there was glory in this hour on Somerset, as we all sang: “Throw those curtains wide. One day like this a year would see me right.” Who could argue. –Tony Hardy

    The Masked Man on Fire

    Arcade Fire

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Friday, Pyramid Stage – 10:00 p.m.

    Friday could have arguably ended with Elbow, but this is Glastonbury, and so the festivities carried on with Montreal’s finest, Arcade Fire. Pyrotechnics accompanied the ascent of a mirrored colossus during opener “Reflektor”, indicating that this was going to be the sort of ‘true event’ spectacle worth bragging about online and in the very far future. Theatricality has always been the band’s forte, and they arrived with due aplomb. Win Butler wore his Lone Ranger eye makeup and his wife Régine Chassagne dazzled in sequins. Yet, bravado aside, Arcade Fire seemed genuinely humbled to be there.

    Butler has come far since sporting a pudding-basin haircut in the early years, and it was great to hear the Fire reprising a classic like “Keep the Car Running” or deftly revamping songs from its back catalogue, such as “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)”, to fit its current rhythmic oeuvre. Because of this, there was a particularly smooth transition between numbers. The members kept the chatter at a minimum, focusing instead on keeping the adrenaline pumping. By night’s end, they closed up shop with a brilliantly reworked “Wake Up”, a proud closing statement and moment that further underlined the band’s status as a major league player. –Tony Hardy

    Best Way to End Your Show

    Angel Haze

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Saturday, Pyramid Stage – 1:15 p.m.

    Detroit rapper Angel Haze’s set boasted hard-hitting hip-hop as well as a sensitive cover of John Newman’s “Love Me Again”. It also included the best way for a young artist to create crowd frenzy. Haze jumped down from the towering Pyramid stage to perform her last two songs while doing determined loops through the crowd. There are plenty of intimate stages at Glastonbury, but the Pyramid is not one of them, so kudos to Angel Haze for bringing the show to the fans. –Scott C. Moore

    Baritone of the Weekend

    Midlake

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Saturday, Other Stage – 1:40 p.m.

    From the opening verse of “Young Bride”, Midlake frontman Eric Pulido was in excellent form, comfortably offering the best vocal performance all weekend. He has a commanding though gentle presence, a rich baritone that arches over the lush instrumental patterns laid down by the band and complimented by fine harmonies. And despite losing leader Tim Smith in 2012, Midlake has gone from strength to endurance. “We Gathered In Spring” and a stripped down, emotional cover of The Band’s “I Shall Be Released” were among the highlights, while the always-delightful “Head Home” sent an enchanted and curious crowd onwards, many of whom had probably heard the Texans for the first time. –Tony Hardy

    Betting on a Future Headliner

    Kodaline

    KODALINE-110

    Photo by Maja Smiejkowska

    Saturday, Other Stage – 4:30 p.m.

    After their triumphant Glastonbury debut on the John Peel stage last year, Irish four-piece Kodaline returned to the much bigger Other stage for a prime Saturday afternoon slot. Sunglasses opposed the strong sunlight and there was an audible sigh when lead singer Steve Garrigan later took them off. Good looks go hand-in-hand with strong hooks, apparently, and detractors who place the outfit as an Anthems-R-Us band who listen to too much U2 and Coldplay seemingly miss the point. “One Day”, “Way Back When”, and their much-anticipated closer “All I Want” host genuine sentiments and shared experiences forged by life-on-the-road camaraderie — they’re also just killer tunes. Towards the end, a huge downpour brought out macs and brollies, but the vast crowd stayed for the duration and sang their hearts out. Kodaline will be back, not necessarily next year, but they’ll be back… as headliners, too. –Tony Hardy

    Pretending to Smoke Is Pretty Lame, But Can I Get Another Cigarette?

    Lana Del Rey

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Saturday, Pyramid Stage – 4:00 p.m.

    Lana Del Rey’s set was plagued by technical difficulties and the banality of her performance style. She started late, seemingly due to a malfunctioning video screen that may have never been fully sorted out at any point during the show. She made a huge production of getting a cigarette from a side stage tech twice that she proceeded to light, hold for a minute or two, and never smoke. Admittedly, I wasn’t a Lana Del Rey fan before the show, but she didn’t do a single thing on the world’s largest stage to win me over. My own prejudices aside, there was no shortage of “We love you Lana!!!”s or young girls singing along. It’s possible she’s not ready or right for a venue this size. Her show seems more suited to a dark club or theater venue, but maybe the real issue is that I’m not a 15-year-old, at heart or otherwise. –Scott C. Moore

    The Show You Wish Was A Reunion Instead

    Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

    Glastonbury 2014

    Photo by Nathan Dainty

    Saturday, Pyramid Stage – 5:30 p.m.

    Robert Plant took to the Pyramid stage in the early evening on Saturday amidst a few early pleas from the crowd to “play ‘Stairway to Heaven’!” While Stairway was obviously absent, they delivered a Zeppelin-heavy set that featured enough new material to spare the exquisite musicians Plant has assembled the feeling they’ve joined a Led Zep cover band. It would be wonderful to say the tunes have the same, old feel, but with bassist Justin Adams’ teenage son doing a spirited dance on stage and grade school girl guitar techs, the whole affair seems just a bit more family-friendly than the days of old. The show is still an incredible showcase of timeless classics and musical virtuosity, even if it’s not the reunion everyone wants to see. If they come to your town, or within say 50 miles of it, buy a ticket. Legends are hard to come by. –Scott C. Moore

    Rumbling, Bumbling, Stumbling

    Jack White

    Glastonbury - Mariel Wood - 2650

    Photo by Mariel Wood

    Saturday, Pyramid Stage – 7:30 p.m.

    Apparently, Jack White’s beef with the press knows no borders, as he denied photographers the customary 10-minute window at the beginning of his Pyramid stage set. White sauntered out on stage drinking directly from a bottle of Veuve Clicquot yellow label champagne and launched into a feisty jam before settling into “Icky Thump”. It’s pretty clear White is no longer content with the standard versions of The White Stripes catalog, and each tune pulled from it had a fresh edge if not an outright extended jam. The resulting outcome was that Lazaretto selections had a tighter feel but were less familiar for a crowd that White occasionally had to coax with shouted questions. Being a consummate showman, he closed out with two White Stripes favorites in “Ball and a Biscuit” and perennial set closer “Seven Nation Army”. The latter eventually devolved into a sonic battle with his drummer, and, just for good measure, it took on a physical element when White stumbled through the entire drum kit. Maybe he should lay off the champagne until after the show. –Scott C. Moore

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