OK, so I did watch a bit of the Rolling Stones set but frankly I wasn’t that impressed. They looked tired, jaded and dated. Mick looked faintly ridiculous, prancing around at his age in front of his largely static fellow band members. Best rock ‘n’ roll band on the planet? Hmm…
I was heartened to see that at the same time, over on the Other Stage, Chase and Status had drawn a huge crowd of not-interested-in-the-Stones people with their own brand of RapRock. It’s good to see that the younger generation are not hanging on to the coat tails of classic bands and nor should they. Each generation should discover their own and if that includes past examples then fine, if not then that’s fine too.
In fact, this year’s Pyramid Stage headliners didn’t really do much for me. As well as the Stones, I’ve never really quite understood The Arctic Monkeys and although I like a bit of folk, the dreadful corporate blandness of Mumford and Sons sends me to sleep. So, where do my awards for this year lie? There were a plethora of new(ish) bands that got my attention without really standing out so a ‘highly commended’ goes to the likes of Noah and the Whale, Editors, Cat Power, Stealing Sheep, Hurts and Phoenix who were all very entertaining, but I’ve had to reject all of these in favour of my final choice of three.
|Two HAIM sisters|
In third place are
US sister band Haim, who were just
about everywhere, so hard to avoid. They
played several sets on various stages and turned up as backing singers for
Primal Scream so their PR team deserve a medal at the very least. Their own sets were full of bluesy rock which
at times took flight into fabulously dizzy instrumental jams that few bands
seem to manage these days (especially when they are playing to backing
tapes!). Unfortunately, their tunes are
a bit disjointed and the vocals a tad idiosyncratic but hey, they come across
as a raw joyous talent and they provided some of the best festival moments for
me. One to watch, I’d wager.
For second place, I struggled between two bands that I’d not heard of before. First were Savages, a somewhat strange outfit who delivered an intense and at times, quite frighteningly serious set of spiky songs. In the end I ousted them for being too close to ‘Scream’ era Siouxsie and the Banshees for comfort and decided to deliver second place to the enigmatic Daughter, whose enchanting set of Indie Folk delivered on the John Peel Stage held me spellbound. Singer Elena Tonra looks a solo performer but has chosen to surround herself with two male musicians whose edgy arrangements lift her songs to another level.
My choice for first place was the result of much soul searching, having already panned the Stones for being too old, but this lot were so much fun, so the award goes to Chic. For me, music is something to be enjoyed and in this business oriented age, it is good to see how uplifting it can be, given the right circumstances and Nile Rogers delivered this in spades. Everybody danced – how could you not? Such a shame that Bernard Edwards was not there to reprise those iconic bass lines and see how much of his legacy still resonates with modern audiences. The most enjoyable set at the Festival by a short glitter ball.