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And So I Watch You From Afar
Live review...
Glasgowbury 2009
Usually we would tell you ten notable things about cracking music events, but this year we felt that Glasgowbury deserved twenty...

1. Sold Out
Two beautiful words. 2500 people turning up to enjoy a bill made up of nothing but Irish bands, none of whom are particularly established.

We don't need 'big name' headliners at Glasgowbury - people know the standard of bands on this island is more than good enough to justify the ticket price.

Consider this - the twelve bands on the main stage have released three albums between them. Only a handful of acts are properly signed. Few have even played outside of Ireland.

Yet... sold out. Sold out, sold out, sold out. Incredible.

2. Security Generally Having A Laugh
Whether you're lost, confused or a little too refreshed - they seem to be their to help and have the craic.

3. Inishowen Gospel Choir Singing Blur's 'Tender'
This song was made to sing-a-long to and huddled in to the G Session tent as the rain came down, listening to 10 perfect voices belt out "come on, come on, come on, get through it" - it seems kind of fitting.

4. The Beat Initiative Marching Around In The Muck
And with a bunch of festival goers in toe. It's a strange type of congo line. Then again, strange is normal at Glasgowbury.

5. Cutaways Revealing Themselves As The Perfect Festival Band
Sunny tunes and fun times courtesy of a friendly trio. Shame they weren't playing outdoors.

6. The Sun Setting In The Background Over The Sperrins
Just as In Case Of Fire warmed up the crowd. It's also during their set you notice just how loud the 'Small But Massive' stage is. Loud equals great, of course, especially when it's ICOF.

7. Sweet Chilli Noodles And A Corona
Instead of a greasy burger and a Harp. Glasgowbury does classy.

8. Colenso Parade Loving It
Dressed in matching white shirts and black ties, the stripped down part of their set is an absolute treat and all about massive hooks and daft choruses. A likeable Fratellis, if you will.

9. The Crowd
It seemed like almost everyone was up for it, up for anything. Good spirits, no trouble and a lovely atmosphere. A mixture of scenesters, hippies and... erm, "country folk". An odd, wonderful collection of people.

10. Clown Parlour Bringing It
A bit of class to the swampish acoustic tent that is, with cute animal masks, whiskers and cat ears.

11. ATL T-Shirts
A lucky 30 or so people nabbed one and wore them proudly.

12. S Is For Salamander
It's risky business introducing a new song to a crowd at a gig, never mind a festival crowd, but 10 seconds in and every single person on Eagle's Rock knew this was something special. It makes Battles sound like a garage band. ATL can't wait to hear a studio version.

If we're honest, we've seen ASIWYFA perform better than they did at Glasgowbury '09 but it's still a remarkable hour in their company. A couple of years ago we barely knew they existed yet here they are, headlining a sold out festival. It's ludicrous, of course, but they've earned this.

They're not ashamed to show a great deal of emotion either - Tony is barely holding it together between songs. Rory Friers, on the other hand, is dealing with the enormity of the occasion by transforming into some kind of short circuiting, guitar welding, banshee machine.

In short - they did it. The pulled it off.

13. Deep Fried Funk
We're now convinced a dance tent for the entire day wouldn't be a good idea, but a wee blast of decent rave to end the day certainly was.

14. The Jane Bradfords Stepping Up To The Plate
Recently they've expanded the line up to perform live, but today they prove they can still do the business as a four piece. The new stuff sounds promising, the old stuff sounds classic. Arguably the stand out act.

15. General Fiasco Coming Home
This is their neck of the woods and their festival to take over. The sense of occasion maybe gets to them a little bit - Owen is swearing a lot between songs and generally showing signs of being nervous. But those songs, those incredible songs, will always see them right. The more we see them live, the more we're convinced it has to happen for them once that album is released.

Those songs are obscenely catchy - every single one of them. When they're absolutely massive, they'll still come back and play Glasgowbury. Just imagine how special that will be.

16. Dutch Schultz Banging Out A Ferocious Buckfast Fuelled Version Of 'Bends In The Middle'
It sent the Spurs of rock tent in to a frenzy. And for the record, that tent was rammed before the rain started.

17. The ATL/Radio One Yurt
Paul and Amy are here all day, recording and videoing special acoustic sessions with some of our favourite bands on the bill. Colenso Parade, Clown Parlour, Joe Echo & The Good Fight are among some highlights.

18. The Wee Kid In The G-Sessions Tent
Couldn't have been more than two, tucked up in his wee racecar sleeping bag in his buggy, having the time of his life, shuffling away to the Inishowen Gospel Choir and insisting anyone in a two metre radius come over for a wee dance. One of the sweetest things we've seen at a festival, ever.

19. The Signs, All The Hilarious Signs
You picked up a blank bit of card and write whatever you wanted. Some pledged allegiance to their favourite bands, some chose to reveal the twists in famous movie plots. Needless to say, the best ones are completely unprintable on a BBC website.

20. The Small But Massive Stage
Which of course was not small, but in fact quite massive. Set against the backdrop of Eagle Rock. Beautiful.

The stages increase in size every year is directly proportional not only to the growth of Glasgowbury, but Northern Ireland's music scene and the sheer standard of the music being written and recorded in this country.

Everyone here today - the organizers, the musicians and the punters paying in and supporting the scene - we're all in the same boat.

We have every right to be very, very proud.

Words & photos: Keith Anderson & Rigsy

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Gig Details
Venue: Eagle's Rock
Location: Outside Draperstown
Date: 25/7/2009

+ Glasgowbury Special

+ The Yurt Sessions

Related Links
+ Rigsy points at stuff
+ Glasgowbury (official)