Glastonbury 2011: Day 1 Roundup

By on Thursday, 30th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

My day at Glastonbury started with a river of mud flowing through and soaking my tent, so as you can imagine, I wanted satisfaction straight off. No testing the water with new talent, I wanted something that would hit the mark from the word go. The Pyramid Stage was the place to go then for TGTF favourites Two Door Cinema Club. who are still riding on the successes of their debut album ‘Tourist History,’ a record which has seen them go from unknowns to a band worthy of appearing third on the biggest stage at Glasto. Two Door’s set started slowly, but as the band grew on confidence the crowd warmed to them. They weren’t helped by the fact that the weather didn’t seem to know which way it was going. However, with great sing-alongs such as ‘Undercover Martyn’, ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘What You Know’ they were bound to be a Pyramid Stage hit. And they were.

Moving swiftly on towards the Other Stage to see the Vaccines in their first show of the weekend seemed like the best idea, just as the rain started to pour down. After listening to their debut album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ (my review of the album here) and enjoying it, I was sure that their set would be a winner. How right I was, from the first notes to their final baritone roar, the Vaccines showed the sizable crowd that had formed why such big things are expected of them. Every song was perfect to the tone, with ‘Wetsuit’ being a particular highlight and adding a real sing-along element to a fantastic set. First single ‘Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ got the crowd shaking in a way that you don’t really expect from a band that only came on at half past 2 in the afternoon. All in all, it was a set that I didn’t really expect to be fantastic but which turned out to be a real highlight.

The Wombats charged onstage resplendent in white suits and ready for one of the best set of sing-alongs the weekend had to offer. Their new record ‘This Modern Glitch’ (review here) is absolutely dripping with summery tunes so the Other Stage at Glastonbury was just calling for them. Opener ‘Our Perfect Disease’ set the tone for a gig which was my personal favourite of the day: the energy was infectious, Norwegian-born bassist Tord Øverland-Knudsen charged around the stage like a man possessed. They looked like they were having the time of their lives, even during the sombre ‘Anti-D’ (single review and video here). A lot of the crowd were obviously just waiting for ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ but were obviously surprised by a set that included some of the catchiest songs around at the moment, I mean who can resist singing along to ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ when it comes on the radio? I know I can’t!

It was back to the main stage then, to watch the formidable Biffy Clyro (pictured top) in their third from top slot. It seems like Biffy have been touring the Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Only Revolutions’ for a long time now, almost too long. So it was no surprise that the boys from Scotland were not at their best on the Pyramid Stage. What was lacking was hard to pinpoint, but there was an energy that is so integral to them normally that was just missing from the performance. The tunes were there: ‘Mountains’ was epic, ‘Many of Horror’ even more so, yet still it just didn’t feel like the Biffy that I was used to. Whether it is tour fatigue I don’t know, but they just weren’t themselves. The crowd knew it and looked almost confused when Mister Neil and the Johnson brothers pulled out ‘Glitter and Trauma’. It seemed most of the crowd had only really heard ‘Only Revolutions’ and ‘Puzzle.’ A shame…but hey, on their day Biffy are a force. Just not that day.

What could be expected from sub-headliner Morrissey then? An exciting stage show filled with Smiths classics, a touching run through some heartfelt ballads? No, a man past his best crooning all over stage and making hand gestures that make Jack Sparrow look positively sober. What can you say about the ex-Smiths man that hasn’t already been said? He is a legend in his own right but well, it just wasn’t the day for him. His songs sounded lazy and laboured for the most part; he was self-deprecating to the point of telling the audience that he knew nobody cared about him and were just waiting for U2. Who could blame the audience if they were, Morrissey wasn’t just bad on the Pyramid, he was so bad it hurt.

Then came the moment that Glastonbury goers and music fans around the world had been waiting for almost a year and a half: U2’s headline slot on the Pyramid Stage. The mainstream media billed Bono as looking nervous and timid in his performance on the Pyramid Stage. How wrong they were. From the moment Bono, the Edge and co. hit the stage, there was no stopping the great rock ‘n’ roll behemoth that areU2. Only two songs from ‘No Line on the Horizon’ meant a set full of classics where the Irish superstars could afford to skip tunes like ‘City of Blinding Lights’. The show from start to finish was nothing short of fantastic, a band playing one of the best sets of their lives in front of a packed audience. They pulled all the stops out for this one – the most spectacular of all, a live link with the International Space Station. Awe-inspiring, classic U2.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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