Glastonbury Festival 2013
I’ve already reported my thoughts on the Rolling Stones and Portishead sets at Glastonbury 2013, but I would also like to briefly reflect on my overall impressions of this year festival. We are just getting used to going to festivals again, having taken a long break from the days when we used to attend most of the festivals that took place in the UK throughout the 70s and early 80s. We have been to one day events in the years since then, but I really couldn’t face the prospect of camping and staying in a field for several days. Until 2010, that is, when Marie, David, Laura and I decided to take the plunge and go to Glastonbury. To my surprise and delight, we all enjoyed every minute of the experience, and we returned on 2011 and again this year in 2013. Glastonbury 2011 tested our faith, with a lot of rain and mud, and made me think twice about going this year. We hired a campervan in 2010 and 2011, but this year, partly as a result of the van getting stuck in the mud and having to get towed out by a tractor (which still gives me nightmares), we decided to try camping for real, in a tent (!) this time. So we bought a nice family size tent, and all the essentials: airbeds, stove, and even a blow-up sofa. We drove down on the Wednesday, arriving during the evening to get a spot in the campsite. Thursday was spent resting after the long drive, and moving all of all our stuff (we took far too much) from the car to the tent. Laura and David met some friends and left us for much of the time, joining us for the Stones and Portishead. We just took it easy, wandered around the massive site taking in the atmosphere, and caught a few bands along the way. Highlights of the acts that we did see were: Beady Eye on the Other Stage on Friday, Liam showing off his old familiar swagger, Bill Bragg rousing us all to think a little on the Saturday morning on the Pyramid stage, Elvis Costello singing all those hits on Saturday afternoon, Rufus Wainwright alone with a grand piano singing sweetly on the Pyramid on the Sunday afternoon, and Primal Scream, who seemed a little lost and didn’t quite get the crowd going before the Stones. There were a lot more acts that I had planned to see, but there are so many stages and so many things to do it just wasn’t possible to do so. And the weather was great. There was a little rain on the Thursday, which produced a small amount of the obligatory mud. However that mud soon dried up and the rest of the weekend from Friday to Sunday was sunny and hot. So we juts took things easy, rested some, walked around the site a little and caught a few bands. My main objective was to see the Stones, and that was achieved. Anything else was a bonus. We left later on Sunday, driving home before the crowds started. The vibe at Glastonbury is great; very friendly with people of all ages. We certainly didn’t feel out of place at all. So my faith and interest in festivals remains renewed, and we look forward to Glastonbury 2014 (hope we can get tickets 🙂 ). I think one festival a year of this type is probably enough for me now, and probably all I can cope with if I am honest with myself. I returned stiff and tired and have only just got over the whole thing. However, there are lots of other festival types and one day events that we intend to visit over the Summer, starting with Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis as part of the Manchester International Festival tonight and The Stones in Hyde Park next Saturday.
Archive for the ‘Portishead’ Category
Glastonbury Festival 2013
Portishead Glastonbury 2013
Aside from the Stones performance, the other highlight of Glastonbury 2013 for us was Portishead’s awesome performance on the Other Stage on Friday night. Competing for a crowd with the Artic Monkeys, Portishead succeeded in drawing a big crowd. Their performance was simply perfection in itself. The sound was crisp, clear and loud; the visuals were subtle and impressive, mixing 60s psych with visual reverb and subdued dark black and white images, and Beth’s singing was note perfect, moving, passionate and intense. Roads is my favourite track and last Friday their performance of the song was stunning. The set was a mix of favourites, just the right length, and as usual there was no encore. From the moment the large letter P appeared in the centre of the screen to the end of the last song We Carry On the crowd were just transfixed. This was the third time I have seen this band, and it was easily the best. A classic performance. Setlist: Silence; Mysterons; The Rip; Sour Times; Magic Doors; Wandering Star; Machine Gun; Over; Glory Box; Chase the Tear; Cowboys; Threads; Roads; We Carry On.
Portishead and P J Harvey at I’ll be your Mirror London
Laura currently declares Portishead to be her favourite band, and I’ve quite fancied seeing Polly Harvey for some years so this lineup, coupled with the All Tomorrows Parties brand (ATP were promoting this event), made this in-door festival something worth going to. We took the train to London and dropped our things off at the usual Kings Cross Travelodge, and made our way to the venue for around 7pm. First stop was the merchandise stall, where Laura bought a festival t-shirt and was also recognised by the members of Foot Village who had played earlier in the day. Shift-Static supported Foot Village at the Head of Steam in Newcastle a couple of years ago, so Laura was delighted that the band still remembered her (and her shoes!). We then made our way to the Great Hall. The Alexandra Palace is a lovely venue, and has hosted many legendary events in the past including Pink Floyd’s 1968 Technicolour Dream and Zeppelin in the 70s.
P J Harvey came on stage promptly at 7.45 and played to a tightly packed hall. We were sat on the disabled platform, which was to the left of the stage and gave us a good view of the proceedings. Her set was unfamiliar to me, and was drawn largely from her latest album. Dressed all in black, she has a strong voice, and certainly went down well with the crowd. OK but not quite as epic as I had expected. She was on stage for about one hour, and after she had finished the hall emptied while people explored the other halls.
At around 9.30 Portishead took the stage, by which time the hall had filled up again. They delivered an excellent set. Beth’s vocals were amazing, as was the guitar work. Great use of dynamics and a very crisp, loud sound with great psychedelic 60s-ish visuals.
Portishead finished at 11pm prompt and we made our way back to our hotel via the shuttle bus to Wood Green and the tube, which all worked very well. We were back watching the TV and the sad news about Amy Winehouse by midnight.
Portishead setlist: Silence – Mysterons – The Rip – Sour Times – Magic Doors – Wandering Star – Machine Gun – Nylon – Over – Glory Box Chase The Tear – Cowboys – Threads – – – Roads – We Carry On
Portishead April 12 Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Support : A Hawk and a Hacksaw
I’d seen Portishead on TV and youtube performing Roads with a full orchestra in New York and was very impressed, particularly with Beth’s voice. So what with all the hype of them returning with new material and a tour, I didn’t take much persuading by David and Laura to buy tickets for the nearest date which was a Saturday concert in Edinburgh. David and Mari took the opportunity to go to Scotland a little earlier to explore the sights of the capital. So when the day of the concert came it was Laura and I who took the 2+ hour drive to Edinburgh. I decided to take the route up through Jedburgh, which is a little shorter than via the A1; however, it does involve some quite windy roads which did not impress Laura. Especially as we saw a car on its side in the grass verge at one point on the journey.
On arriving in Edinburgh we picked up David and Mari in Princes Street, and set off to find somewhere to eat. After some driving around we eventually stopped at a steak restaurant in Gorgie Road. Our steaks and burgers were lovely; straight after finishing we went directly to the Corn Exchange. We caught the tail end of the support act who sounded quite weird, and Laura bought a lovely P t-shirt.
David and Mari made their way to the front of the crowd, while Laura and I took seats in the disabled area which was at the back of the hall, directly in front of the stage. Portishead started with Silence which is the first track on their new album. Although many of the songs were new, they seemed to be familiar to most of the crowd, who greeted each new number with a roar and then fell silent as soon as Beth’s wonderful voice cut through the wall of sound. The light show was pretty impressive, with imaginative use of black and white video alongside some liquid lens effects reminiscent of 60s psychedelia. The well known songs (which were the only ones I knew!) were included; Wandering Star and Glory Box going down particularly well. My favourite, Roads, was one of the encores; Beth’s voice sounding amazing.
After the encores were finished we met up with David and Mari and made our way back home. We all agreed that this had been a great show and well worth the trip north of the border.
We Carry On