Glastonbury Festival 2005, BBC

by | Jun 27, 2005 | All, Reviews

Glastonbury, BBC

Highlights

1. MIA – we’d only heard reverential whispers about this London rapper of Sri Lankan origin, but the hype was well-founded as she performed the best set all weekend, even though only two songs were broadcast. While the amorphous homogeny of guitar bands were content to draw mindlessly from the 80s, MIA tossed Planet Rock and Sweet Dreams into their cacophonous cauldron and cooked up something innovative and wondrous.

2. We imagined Coldplay would be as mind-numbing as Keane, but they weren’t. Perhaps it was the abrasive acoustics which bequeathed their songs with an engaging intensity, but the tracks from X&Y were particularly strong. And Chris Martin’s embittered challenge to the Crazy Frog was funny, but In My Place was still rubbish.

3. New Order have such a mellifluent back catalogue that their performance was bound to be excellent, which it was, up to a point. The ever brilliant Temptation, a spiky Transmission and Love Vigilantes were the highlights, but they were blighted by playing two of their worst singles (Regret and the abysmal World in Motion) and a bloodless Love Will Tear Us Apart, while True Faith seemed as though it had been sabotaged by a passing Ibiza DJ. And Bernard Sumner will soon need to have his arms stretched on a medieval torture rack if he’s going to be able to reach his guitar around his ever-expanding girth as it now rests on his rotund pot like a food-stiffened baby’s bib.

4. Primal Scream’s Mani claming that after arriving by helicopter, the band were on a mission to recreate a notorious Rolling Stones gig and needed to “stab some hippies”. He later remarked: “People think we’re a bunch of stoned, lazy bast…” And then, realising he shouldn’t swear, continued with the even more inappropriate “smackheads.” And on Basement Jaxx he sagely noted: “I’d rather watch Dave Lee Travis do Macbeth.”

5. Ian Brown who began his set with I Wanna Be Adored, Sally Cinnamon and Made of Stone. Admittedly, once he began singing his solo material the quality dropped a

little but the Stone Roses stuff still retains its classic status.

6. Bloc Party who belted out great tracks like Banquet, So Here We Are and Helicopter.

7. Interpol looked incongruous in the sunshine with their pallid visages, but Obstacle 1 and PDA were two of the best tracks of the weekend.

8. Kasabian who were clearly the most passionate band of the weekend which was emphasised the astounding Club Foot.

9. The Killers played a fine set even if their songs have been dimmed with over-familiarity. But if you got bored, there was the option to speculate which two 80s songs they had spliced together like stolen cars to produce their distinct counterfeit hybrid. We spotted the Smiths’ Barbarism Begins At Home crossed with Taylor Dane’s Tell It To My Heart; Pixies’ I’ve Been Tired and Joboxers’ Boxerbeat; and Sisters of Mercy’s Lights and Spacemen 3’s Big City.

10. Rufus Wainwright’s pioneering performance, but his shirt was shocking and it came as a relief when he removed it.

11. Royskopp’s electronic doodling was enticing, although the delights of their show were perhaps accentuated by their non indie-guitar nature.

12. The interactive channels enabled you to watch uninterrupted sets live or recorded songs from earlier in the day.

13. During Nigel Kennedy’s video diary of his trip down to Glastonbury, he departed a plush Bath hotel and bade farewell to the austere footman by holding out his fist hip-hop style to knock knuckles, but the bemused footman chose to shake his fist.

14. Brian Wilson and his band playing Beach Boys classics, it’s just a shame he looked like a smiling Stonehenge monolith in a Hawaii t-shirt.

15. Colin Murray – his misguided confidence that New Order would be playing Blue Monday even as Coldplay’s roadies began to dismantle the stage; apologising that they couldn’t broadcast the Bravery as the bassist was “stark bullock naked”; and “Van Morrison wouldn’t let us record his set, which is a shame as it was absolutely average.”

16. White Stripes singer Jack White looking like WWE wrestler the Undertaker’s weedy kid brother.

Lowlights

1. Primal Scream – Kill All Hippies and Swastika Eyes aside, their set exposed how few good tunes they have written to justify their unwarranted reputation. Rocks is one of the worst songs of the 90s and upon it penetrating their deep, damp caves, dragons have been known to seal their lairs off and gas themselves on their toxic fumes. And Bobby Gillspie’s puerile tantrum when their sound was cut so he threw his microphone into the pit as pathetically as an enraged Alan Partridge.

2. There was too much coverage of the music and very little of the wider ambience which sets Glastonbury apart from its festival cousins. The only worthwhile forays away from the two main stages, and that accursed jazz stage, came with Andrea Oliver’s reports from areas like the Permaculture Garden. But the interviews were conducted as though the viewer was utterly ignorant and so any impressions were superficial and fleeting.

3. BBC3 had their own roving reporter “Rufus”, but wasted his visit to the Lost Vagueness area pursuing a fruitless lead that the Poor Man’s Peter and Jordan (and he would have to be very, very poor to the point where he could only afford sand for lunch) Pete Doherty and Kate Moss were “getting married”. Next week, Nicholas Witchell rushes breathlessly to Buckingham Palace after he receives a report Jodie Marsh is to be made a Dame.

4. The interactive coverage sounded exciting in theory, but the reality was somewhat less impressive. On Friday and Saturday, the multi-screen options didn’t start until 9.30-10pm, and not at all on Sunday. This meant that on the last day we had to endure the anachronistic Primal Scream and Basement Jaxx, the most embarrassing instance of performers being out of their depth since Carlton Palmer pulled on an England jersey.

5. What’s more, the myriad screens didn’t offer broad selection of music. It was indie guitar band after indie guitar band, and while many of them are good, and sometimes very good (Bloc Party, the Killers), it did feel like a relentless aural pummelling from a gang of students in Converse trainers.

6. When the broadcast would break from a performance for Colin and Edith to interview some cultural ant such as Leigh Francis, while some muffled classic track from the abandoned set boomed frustratingly through their impromptu studio.

7. The new jazz stage – the sanctuary for those people who pretend to like music. You know the type, those besuited gargoyles who stack up a pile of CDs on the counter worthy of replacing the World Trade Center in a desperate, but blatantly fraudulent, physical demonstration of how much they love music.

8. The interview with Babyshambles, who rambled senselessly through their interview like someone slumbering on a bumpy car ride through roughest Somerset while they lips involuntarily followed the cadence of the road.

9. Edith Bowman and Colin Murray scrabbling in vain for the correct words to describe the White Stripes set. “Compelling” was the adjective they finally settled on; we’d have plumped for “fair”, and were proved correct by the incessant focus on the lurid black and red coded set rather than the music itself.

10. Keane – we’re very sorry, as they seem like such wholesome young men, but trying to engage any emotional attachment to their songs is like spotting dignity in Celebrity Love Island.

11. George Galloway – the wrinkled human leech.

12. When the primary motivation to rush to see Echo and the Bunnymen was not the promise of 80s goth-pop, but a “surprise” appearance from “Coldplay’s Chris Martin”.

13. The Bravery have spat out some decent singles in the past year, but their live show was woeful. Sam Endicott’s voice was worse that Bernard Sumner’s, and he didn’t have enough brilliant songs to distract attention from this flaw, so he dived into the crowd and donated his microphone to someone in the moshpit.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

27/06/2005

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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