Saturday 20 July 2013, 11:29
Saturday 11.00pm Small But Massive Stage
Described in a tweet: big hair, enormous riffs and the redeeming power of rock.
The Answer, Glasgowbury 2013. A momentous end to the legendary festival as The Answer took us to the bittersweet finale of the night and 13 years of Glasgowbury. The band had the showmanship for the occasion, and you could feel the adoration in the crowd. The Answer have had some challenging times in recent years, but they seem to thrive on difficulty and fresh songs from the ‘New Horizon’ record show that their resolve is still strong. Still, we all knew that there was sad business in store.
Paddy Glasgow appeared on stage, to give his speech of thanks and appreciation to the fans, volunteers and organisers of the event – who all came on to join him too, filling the stage with the heart and soul of the festival.
He told us to look out for “a Small But Massive stage near you”, raising hope in the crowd. He said bands like The Answer are proof “that we can make it internationally” and a huge cheers roared through the mountain. That done, the riffs resumed and the Streetwise Samba Band arrived for a cool collaboration. The temperature was dropping but The Answer put the last glow into Glasgowbury.
Small but Massive Stage, Friday, 7.45pm
Describe in a tweet: The daddies reclaim what is rightfully theirs!
Glasgowbury 2013 Jetplane Landing For many, Glasgowbury 2013 is built around this band's return. A hugely influential figure - inspiring with his music before releasing records for the likes of Lafaro, And So I Watch You From Afar and More than Conqueors (all playing this weekend) - singer Andrew Ferris has a lot to answer for. Given that his band have never played Glasgowbury (this is, in fact their first gig in almost 8 years), it's strange that it feels like a homecoming.
And what a homecoming - while it takes a while for the band to warm up, 'Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav on the Radio' is the first big moment of the weekend. New song 'My Radio Heart' proves Jetplane's knack for punk pop hooks is stronger than ever while 'The Violence' sounds just as noisily relevant as it did all those years ago. Once Jetplane get a few shows under their belt they could well end up the most unmissable live act in the country. Welcome back, lads.
The Japanese Popstars
Small but Massive Stage, Friday, 11.30pm
Describe in a tweet: They came, they raved, the conquered.
Crowd Shot at Glasgowbury 2013 Having a dance act headline the main stage was Glasgowbury's 'Jay Z at Glasto' moment. Yet no one really questioned it, given the Derry production duo drew one of the biggest crowds for an earlier slot last year. Fully embracing the rave, it seems the Glasgowbury organisers have added a multitude of extra bass bins and lights to the main stage, giving the Japstars a little extra woomph to play with.
And play they do, finding real impact with reworked versions of tracks mainly taken from awesome new album 'Disconnect/Reconnect'. A beefed up 'Matter of Time' is the perfect way to bring a memorable day to a crushing conclusion, that creepy Green Velvet vocal drifting into a perfect Draperstown night sky. Yes, there were a few confused looking crowd surfers, but this ended up as triumphant as it was bold.
And So I Watch You From Afar
G Sessions stage, Friday, 10.50pm
Describe in a tweet: One final bout of chaos.
And So I Watch You From Afar Glasgowbury 2013 Things looked a bit ropey on that stage for a while. Nearly half an hour after this set should have started and the band, all onstage, are yet to perform. They're scurrying about amongst leads, line checking and re-line checking, roadies shouting commands back and forth. Turns out a 'patching issue' (whatever that is) resulted in a delay which, to the bands delight, only made us hungrier.
If anyone owns this festival, it's ASIWYFA. They've done it all - secret gigs, headline shows and lost weekends as mere punters. Tonight is a celebration of a genuine relationship they have with this festival, the most confidant band in Ireland somehow finding extra confidence to mark the occasion. 'Big Thinks Do Remarkable' has us torn apart within minutes while 'S is for Salamander' is nothing shy of astonishing - an incredibly intricate song beautifully destroyed without the band breaking a sweat.
Guitarist Rory Friers is in the form of his life, giving his band’s last Glasgowbury performance everything it deserves. He's preaching about the festival, thanking everyone involved over and over. Yet it's never tedious. By the time they crash home with 'The Voiceless', as an incredible light show finally fries our retinas, something becomes clear. They've stolen the show one last time.
G Sessions Stage, Friday 6pm
Describe in a Tweet: the future may not be Glasgowbury *sob* but it is still bright
The Shirts, Music Promise, Glasgowbury 2013 Nearly two hours of hastily assembled bands from a project out of the Nerve Centre. Its a constantly changing cast, doing covers ranging from Pink Floyd to Daft Punk. There are understandable nerves and a range of styles on show - from a swaggering little lad belting out Beastie Boys' 'Fight For Your Right To Party' to a nervous Green Day's 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams.' Its hard to predict what will happen to these kids but a couple of stars shone doing their own songs, 'Summer' by The Shirts and 'Little Bear' by Cinemas show huge promise from such young talents. There may be no Glasgowbury for them in future, but showcases like this are the heart and ethos of the festival and its certain that some of the musical future of the country will have taken their early steps under its banner.
Small But Massive Stage, Friday 8.45pm
Describe in a Tweet: This Silhouette is no shadow, but shines bright in the sunlight.
Silhouette, Glasgowbury 2013 An example of how the festival and organisers nurture talent, main woman and local girl Shauna has been here before, moving up from a small tent to the main stage as she's developed as an artist. Indeed, she would have been a contender for headline act in a year or two. Today she shows her ear for a poppy hook but that she is maturing as a songwriter and becoming more comfortable with the stage and audience, as she leads us in singalongs to newbie 'Toss It Up', and causes a few of the crowd to lose, in the pursuit of happy dancing, their dignity and items of clothing. It's not exactly Tom Jones and knicker-throwing, but it is the sort of thing we'll miss about Glasgowbury.
Eagles Rock Stage, Friday 9.15pm
Describe in a Tweet: "If Glasgowbury has taught me one thing, it's about going for it!" he says. And he does.
VerseChorusVerse, Glasgowbury, 2013 The assembled musicians are veterans of the Northern Irish music scene. Lord knows how many Glasgowbury caps they've achieved between them but Tony Wright, the man who is VerseChorusverse, is claiming six by himself. He's joined by most of La Faro and Stuart Bell from General Fiasco/Desert Hearts and the combined pedigree is abundantly apparent.
"If Glasgowbury has taught me one thing," Tony expounds, "It's about going for it!" Like almost every act here this weekend he feels duty bound to give kudos to the festival.
The tunes are tight. There's old fashioned rock'n'roll in the mix and lashings of wild abandon in the guitars. At one point we're wondering if there's a brass section hidden somewhere, such is the oomph. There's pathos too in the quieter moments and a plaintive harmonica is put to good use. Judging by the songs on offer this evening, the forthcoming album should make for an interesting listen.
Small but Massive Stage, Saturday, 3.25pm
Wylding, Glasgowbury 2013. Describe in a tweet: Captivating for sure, but sometimes less is more.
'It's been a dream of mine to play this stage' promises Jilly St. John, lead singer with Wylding, capturing the importance of Glasgowbury with one tidy soundbite. It's been something to aspire to for all new bands, grateful to be on a bill amongst the best of their peers. Other festivals have popped up around the country, but this is the one to play, and Jilly knows it. Not that she ever gives anything less than everything. She's really going for it, bounding about the stage from square one, doubling the crowd within a couple of songs.
Wylding constantly overdose on energy and enthusiasm - but do they have the songs to match? For the most part - yes. Each song has a creative selling point - a chunky baseline, glitzy keyboard riff or industrial beat - something to make it stand out. They're a rock act in the same way Muse are a rock act – guitar, bass and drums are merely starting points. The problem however, is that on occasions it's a little unfocused, a little try hard, the kitchen sink needlessly thrown about. But when it comes together and works, as it does best on 'Siren', Wylding are genuinely immense. Jilly's vocal is intermittently a little off centre, but again you're forgiving - her inability to stand still for a second is more than a reasonable excuse. A little fine tuning, a little holding back on occasion and they could really be on to something pretty special.
Eagles Rock Stage, Saturday, 4pm
Describe in a tweet: Girl takes on armed drumming gang…. and wins.
Katharine Phillipa, Glasgowbury 2013. This particular reviewer is pretty forgiving, recently standing up for those who like a (quiet) chat with their mates during the average gig. At festivals one should be even more forgiving - we're in the middle of nowhere after all, far away from our problems and our work (or lack thereof), on a weekend-long mission to misbehave. Show some respect to the performer, yes, but be politely sociable all you like, okay? We think so.
But a drum circle, an actual circle of people playing the drums, right outside a tent with a mostly acoustic line up - that's taking it too far. Why not take a look at the schedule and make this unholy racket beside a stage at it's changeover? Too much hassle to organise? They really should be ashamed. But they'll hijack this review no more.
Katharine Phillipa battled through, and so should we. 'Whiter than I' remains the most gorgeous, poignant track a Northern Irish act has written in the last couple of years and soars at Glasgowbury. 'Broken to be Rebuilt', from a forthcoming EP, somehow finds Katharine even more low-key and minimal than usual - a brave, hugely encouraging new song. Her take on Joni Mitchell's 'A Case of You' floors us, especially as the aforementioned din-makers have finally take their business elsewhere. One girl and her piano - that's all you need sometimes. Maybe not built for festivals, but a colossal talent all the same.
Friday 7.45pm Small But Massive stage
Described in a tweet: Slick, punchy electronic rave
Everyone chilled in the Friday sun until Ed Zealous took to the stage and pumped up the crowd with a solid electronic rock performance. Highlight of their polished set was their new single ‘Medicines’, an abundance of dance pop energy, getting the party started on the mountaintop.
With the combination of front man Steve McAvoy’s distinctive vocals, ravey synths, and Paul Irwin killing it on the drums, Ed Zealous played an awesome set.
They attracted the first big crowd of the day, establishing the Glasgowbury buzz and topped it off with their big single ‘Diamonds For Eyes’.
Saturday 12.50pm Spurs of Rock Stage
Described in a tweet: Grungy, girl rock to blow your hangover away
Vanilla Gloom, Glasgowbury 2013. Vanilla Gloom was one of the new band discoveries of the festival. It was their first time playing here, but their confident stage presence showed no nerves. It may have been early in the afternoon but the female rock trio was not to be missed. They encouraged the crowd to chant along to their track ‘Vexed’ with it’s lyrics “I hate you so much”. Confirmation that this post-punk feminine band are certainly tough.
It was heartening to see these newcomers pull a big crowd into the Spurs of Rock stage, especially when most of the audience was delicate from the previous night’s antics. With grungy rhythms and melodies alongside with Grace Leacock’s mesmerising drumming, the band definitely has serious potential.
Pretty Child Backfire
Saturday 4.20pm Small But Massive Stage
Described in a tweet: Local combo, literally at home.
Pretty Child Backfire promised an exciting set with brand new tunes. They sounded quite at home on stage, which is unsurprising as front man Mark McAlister only lives down the road. The indie band’s confidence has really grown over the past few years playing at the festival, especially after they were praised by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody.
The atmosphere was gradually hyped up, leading to their well known single ‘I Wish I Knew You Better’. Mark asked everyone to “Look to your right, look to your left” and sing along with friends in the audience. Pretty Child Backfire have always had a loyal following from fans here, and this year was no different. They deserved to play on the main stage and have great things ahead of them.
More than Conquerors
Saturday 8.30pm Small But Massive Stage
Described in a tweet: Rock, rhythms and riffs
More Than Conqueors have come a long way in their four years at the festival. They are celebrated for their energy, excitement and momentum on stage. ‘Go On, Go On Get Out’ sent the audience into a mosh frenzy, with everyone chanting the chorus along to the belter drum beats from Jamie Neish.
Their international touring schedule has given them a sense of confidence and presence - they handle the main stage and the evening slot with ease. An annual Glasgowbury highlight is More Than Conquerors front man Kris doing an obligatory crowd surf during their set. Last year was in the G Sessions tent, but this more prestigious space allowed Kris to stage dive with even more energy. The gig ended with ‘Bear Knuckle Fight’, Kris in the crowd without a microphone, doing a silent chant of the huge chorus.
Saturday 9.40 Small But Massive Stage
Described in a tweet: “Hands up if you’re wearin’ a dress for the first time and ******* loving it”
La Faro, Glasgowbury 2013. The image of LaFaro on stage will stay in many a head for a long time. Alan on drums, wearing a sexy diamante bra, Johnny in a silky black halter neck dress along with red lippy and Dave in a sultry one-shoulder number. To top it all off, Herb in a white tutu, cigarette in his mouth while blasting out rock riffs. Lafaro dressed as rock royalty, and they might as well for the last gig in the Sperrin moutains.
Dave shouts out “Is anyone else not wearin’ any underwear?” As ever, the LaFaro lacks subtlety and some concerned parents are covering their children’s ears. But this is why the faithful love the band. Despite their glamorous makeover, the music is as brutal as ever, and includes a blistering ‘Mr Heskey’. A gig to melt your face off.
Saturday Small But Massive Stage, 1:25pm
Described in a tweet: Sunny stage, sunny band, sunny crowd
The Clameens mirror the weather with their sunny guitar pop opening Day 2 on the main stage. As it’s early on the crowd is pretty sparse, but those who are there are soon bouncing along to the Kings of Leon meets Vaccines style ‘She’s Got My Heart’ and ‘Follow.’ It’s a more than solid start to what will be an emotional occasion for all of us, and to be honest if the organisers can stick a band like this on so early, we’re in for a hell of a good day.
Saturday Spurs of Rock Stage, 1:50pm
Described in a tweet: These Pigs might fly
It’s still early but the Pigs are determined to ensure that everyone in the tent is sweaty by the end, thrashing out the riffs leaving little or no room to breathe. They, and the audience, may be hungover but there is no concession made to this as the guitars howl abrasively and grungily during ‘Gutters’. There’s a brief but emotional, and entirely understandable declaration of what this festival means to the local lad in the band, giving us a brief bit of respite before a circle pit makes an appearance for the dark ‘Machina’, the vocals reminiscent of some twisted religious chant. It’s a belief that most foodstuffs can be improved with the addition of bacon, in the same vein most music experiences can be improved with Pigaspeople.
The Last Generation
Saturday Spurs Of Rock Stage, 2:50pm
Described in a tweet: riffs, riffs, more metally riffs
This particular stage continues to deliver more up and coming young rockers. Following on from Vanilla Gloom and Pigsaspeople, The Last Generation continue to deliver “what Glasgowbury is about – loud music on the mountain.” The Seattle sludge of ‘Distort Reality’ is complimented with their love of a catchy hook and a scream, while it’s a close run thing whether the crowd or the band are enjoying themselves better, as the enthusiasm of a bunch of young guys playing what they want, as loud as they want, is infectious. While they may be called The Last, they’re definitely part of the next generation of local rock.
Saturday G Sessions Stage: 4:05pm
Described in a tweet: bouncing in a wonder (villain) landRushing between stages, we’re late to the party that is already in full flow in the big tent. It’s been said before, but if the generators fail we could just hook up the site to this band and crowd, and we could turn this into a week long affair. Their catchy pop is so sweet that it should come with a warning, and in ‘Zola’ they have what might be the best summery pop song this festival has heard, the chorus raising a small dust storm as the crowd bounces along. This may be a highlight, but it’s by no means their only tune as shown by the constant dancing to the likes of ‘Blonde.’
Saturday Small But Massive Stage. 6:20pm
Described in a tweet: We’re not going to runaway from these guys
The main stage has turned into a sauna as the sun beats down on it, but that doesn’t prevent RunawayGo, and frontman Dave in particular, from trying (and succeeding) to whip up the crowd. The dual male-female vocals are the most obvious difference between them and most other local bands, but the quality of the songs, and their performance, even including a bit of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ is what has put them on that stage. The only real downside is that this slot is probably a bit too short for them to show their full ability as we’re left wanting more when they leave.
Saturday 7pm Spurs of Rock stage
Described in a tweet “The big truck rolled in right on time and re-fuelled everyone at the party”
Opening up by telling everyone that ‘We Wanna Party With You’, which is aptly the name of their new single, lead singer Tom wastes no time in kicking off proceedings. The volume is ear crunching-ly loud - but that’s what Trucker Diablo fans expect - and it already feels like a best of set with the crowd on board from the word go.
After storming through a few songs Tom takes a moment out to tell everyone there about how they applied to play Glasgowbury six times without any success, but are honoured that they made it to the festival before the curtain closes at Eagles Rock. This moment of reflection doesn’t last long though, and after this brief pit-stop the Big Truck rev up their engine and initiates their trademark cover of Proud Mary, which has everyone in the venue dancing and ‘rolling’ along.
After this short set-break it was straight into the hits again with a flawless rendition of their last single ‘Drive’, which undoubtedly has some of the catchiest lyrics of the year. This is a band who know exactly what their audience want to hear and who can deliver it whatever venue they are in. Keep on trucking guys – there are plenty more stops to make.
Saturday Small But Massive Stage, 7:20pm
Described in a tweet: we’re spinning on the Axis
Another band with history here, they’ve opened this stage before, but are now in what could be called early evening if it wasn’t still so ridiculously sunny. This rise up the bill is a mark of how they’ve developed as performers, now with the confidence to match their songs. In the conditions, kudos to those members of the crowd who answer their call for a “big daft circle” to accompany ‘We Dine On Seeds.’ In between songs, they reveal how they’re sad to leave this place, and promise to return next year even if it’s just them and some acoustic guitars. As much fun as that would be, it’s hard to imagine that a stripped down version of ‘Brobdinagian’ could be as good as the one we hear today.
Saturday G Sessions Stage, 8:25pm
Described in a tweet: party band bring the party
Pocket Billiards may be the ultimate festival band locally. Seriously, it’s hard to think of any other band who can whip up the varied crowd that a festival attracts as well as these guys. Tonight they’re winding us up for one last surge towards the finish line, with tune after tune after relentless tune, giving us almost no room to breathe. ‘Robot Repeat’ and ‘Spide’ are rabble-rousing while ‘Dirty Money’ is a delirious shout-along. There may be enough of them onstage to have a party, but they’re an incredibly tight and cohesive unit, so much so that they get through their set with time to spare and squeeze in an extra wee bonus tune prompting the crowd who had left to come back.
Saturday Spurs Of Rock Stage, 9:30pm
Described in a tweet: We got the blues as the end nears
This is just two guys, right. It’s important to remember that as they make enough noise, and a variety of noise, that it’s tempting to look for the other half dozen members hiding at the side of the stage. Basically if it can be called or rooted in the blues it’ll be here somewhere. From swampy, way down in your gut stuff to feral licks and the unholy rhythm of ‘Hell’ to a bit of surf rock, it’s all rollicking good stuff. The honour of closing this stage’s part in local music history is given to ‘Good Suits and Fighting Boots,’ and even a broken string fails to stop us being transported to bayou juke joint, such is the undeniable swagger of the song. And then, a suitably rock and roll finish as the guitar crashes to the stage.
RAMS’ Pocket Radio
Saturday 9.45pm G Sessions Stage
Described in a tweet “Dieter Rams has brought Kris from More
Than Conquerors to Glasgowbury”
A RAMS’ Pocket Radio gig can be very intimate, with just Peter on piano, or it can be very grand with lots of special-guest contributors. On this occasion it’s somewhere in between though as Peter is joined by 6 other musicians on stage, and some of them are multi-instrumentalists. So it’s not a huge surprise when their sound-check overruns meaning that the gig doesn’t start at the advertised time. Peter is quite right not to rush it though as when the set does begin it sounds beautiful.
RAMS’ Pocket Radio, who are on the brink of releasing their second LP, have enough songs under their belt now to play an even mix of new songs that the audience are familiar with while still slipping in the odd new one without any complaints from the crowd and they tear through their catalogue with crowd participation heavy on songs like Aria and Dieter Rams.
There was even a surprise guest towards the end of the set when Kris from More Than Conquerors joined Peter to sing on RAMS track ‘1&2’.
All in all a treat for fans and newcomers alike and it will be interesting to see how this live set develops over the course of the forthcoming album tour.