What Clash saw on day one proper at Glastonbury 2014. Click the photo above proceed to the next picture in our gallery. Saturday here.
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Rumours spread faster than festival flu among the tents at Worthy Farm, and on day one we awake to such whispers. The Libertines are opening at 11, apparently. “Enjoy Coldplay!” yells a grinning poncho seller as we trudge south for a promised peek of Doherty and co. Alas, it’s Kaiser Chiefs up on stage, but Blondie pick things up straight after, who celebrate their 40th anniversary with a resilient performance.
Glastonbury’s line-up is always varied. Even Banksy’s on the bill this year – with a farm truck installation that’s been driving around the site, stuffed with screaming lamb and cow puppets. But there are always new bands to discover, and Jungle have no doubt claimed a throng of new fans at the John Peel tent – an early slot not stifling their explosive style. The West London duo performs tracks from their forthcoming eponymous album, earnestly addressing their mics as ‘Busy Earnin’’ makes for a triumphant finale. We high-five each other for having our Friday off.
Lightning literally strikes the Pyramid Stage later as Rudimental approach the end of their set, which certainly provides more electricity than the sight of Ed Sheeran attempting to coax a drum ‘n’ bass rhythm out of his guitar. The power goes out before they can play ‘Feel The Love’. Torrential rain ensues: an icy shock for sunburnt faces.
Luckily the electrical storm doesn’t halt the music for too long; giant floating eyes, neon leggings and Haitian rhythms are up next at the West Holts stage for tUnE-yArDs. Merrill Garbus’s “whoo-ha” vocal hits exactly the right note for this playful festival crowd. The fun continues with DJ EZ, who creeps up one leg of the giant mechanical spider at the Arcadia stage to melt old-skool UK garage classics into one another. It’s criminally undersubscribed compared to other stages, but this only means that there’s more room to skank.
When nightfall approaches, M.I.A. is courting controversy once again with her dancers clad in ‘Stop Tamil Deportation’ T-shirts. The television media will censor this performance, she claims to the crowd (she’s wrong, says Stuart Maconie, who’s proved correct as the BBC quite happily broadcasts her set). Yet the revolving stage lights and glow sticks thrown into the crowd create a truly dazzling show, with riotous ‘Matangi’ cuts, kuduro rhythms and shameless gun fingers peppering the crowd for ‘Paper Planes’.
But come 3am the rave gods don’t look kindly upon us. The last time Aphex Twin graced Worthy Farm was back in ’07, with giant dayglo teddy bears bopping on stage. Spying him listed as DJ AFX, we rush to the neon-lit Mayan Temple and bypass the queue for a rare chance to see him spin. When we get inside, Richard D. James is pulling out cables and bundling equipment into a rucksack before heading off. Yeah, he’s played an hour early...
Luckily Shangri-La provides a fiery respite: its narrative this year continuing as a “corporate nightmare”. Blood-red corridors wind through the IT and HR departments (office clipboards are the must-have accessory), the stationery cupboard and the boardroom (where fat cats drink crude oil and receive blowjobs under the table). We gravitate towards the giant ‘SIN’ sign (appropriately, these are the very same letters used on Justin Bieber’s tour) where the Hell stage awaits. Jackmaster and Oneman are presenting their ‘Can U Dance’ four-deck mega-party as they hijack the airwaves for the BBC Essential Mix.
If hell has taught us anything, it’s that we can dance to Double 99’s ‘RIP Groove’. We think.
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