Hacienda Classical on the Pyramid Stage.
Friday is when the main stages open which means it’s when the big acts start coming in thick and fast, which also meant I had an early start as I was hoping to see the Pyramid Stage openers Hacienda Classical. Graeme Park and Mike Pickering provide the beats accompanied by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra which sees the tunes from this famous club soar to new heights. There was a superbly held minutes silence for the victims of the recent Manchester and London attacks in addition to the Greenfell tower block fire, which provided a poignant start to the day. There were plenty of house classics being dished out as well as cameos from the likes of Peter Hook and Bez, however the set reached its pinnacle on the astounding version of You’ve Got The Love with the powerful vocals of Rowetta.
After grabbing a bite to eat we headed back to the Pyramid to see Blossoms, a band who I may not have seen but I was keen to see someone that my nephew was excited to see as well as seeing that last year’s debut album had received rave reviews. In the end, I was glad I saw their brand of infectious indie pop and was very impresses by their set and could definitely see them moving up the line-up at future festivals. Despite not knowing any of the tunes the infectious hooks and melodies ensured that Blossoms were thoroughly enjoyable before they closed with the bona fide hit Charlemagne.
With not much on the agenda we had a wonder around the theatre and circus fields which is always entertaining highlights included Exception-Elle a hip hop collective whose audience interaction really helped to make everyone feel a part of it. We also chanced upon a guy called Bruce Airhead who bizarrely enough ended up inside a six-foot balloon, while inside he managed to change into an Elvis costume in spectacular fashion. All this is such a fine example of why you sometimes it’s great to just wonder around as you soon become engrossed in something you wouldn’t expect.
Next up was Dutch Uncles on the William’s Green stage, the band only had a forty-minute slot which helped them blast through their great set with an enthralling sense of urgency. Having recently released their fifth album I’m sure Dutch Uncles could have played for much longer however their synth infused indie set was brilliant in addition to being brought to a fantastic close with a funked up version Kiss From A Rose.
I then returned to the Pyramid Stage to see The XX a band who I was stuck in two minds about seeing as I have a chance to see them later in the year, however I made the correct decision as what I witnessed was truly astounding and absolutely blew the crowd and myself away. As soon as the trio strolled onstage and began with the apt tones of Intro they immediately had the entire field in the palm of their hands. As they continued to set a compelling mood with tunes stretched across their three albums The XX then played a rousing version of the Jamie XX song Loud Places which really helped cement this set as a classic. There was a also an endearing humbleness about the band as well as a real sense that they were so pleased to be there which means things like this along with the sheer quality of musicianship and stage presence could certainly see The XX as future headliners.
The famed seas of flags on the main stage.
I had now seen three acts in one day on the Pyramid Stage which matched the total number of bands I had seen on there in an entire three previous festivals and the next act would take the days number to four meaning I would have seen more people in one day on the main stage than ever before. Not only this but this was the band I was most looking forward to for the whole weekend as well as being the first ever main stage headliners I’ll have experienced at Glastonbury so excitement levels were high. The band I am talking about is of course Radiohead who I had never seen before as the fates have always seemingly conspired against me however being able to see them at one of my favourite places felt like retribution.
Now I’m sure some of you have read mixed reviews of their set I for one found it absolute perfection and following up that performance from The XX made for a glorious Friday evening. Kicking off with the soft tones of Daydreaming which demonstrates the engaging vulnerability which Thom Yorke shows on the bands more introspective moments. The low key opening disappointed some of the more casual fans of which a few started to make their way out, however that gave me a better place I the crowd and I was already loving the set. Everything was building up superbly and I’m not sure if I’ve heard a more perfectly crafted set which really got going with a pounding version of Idioteque. In pure joy across the mass of humanity that was in the field. After ending with Street Spirit Radiohead appeared for an encore which included a chilling version of Fake Plastic Trees which saw many a tear shed in pure joy across the mass of humanity that was in the field. I usually find encores contrived and a bit of a cliché so imagine my surprise as I was over the moon to see them come out for a second encore which finally drew proceedings to a close with the wonderful Karma Police. I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced anything like that last hour of the set which kept rising to another level, which undoubtedly left me thinking Radiohead would definitely be one of the highlights of my festival.
Click here for day 4.