Song Of The Day #18.


Seth Lakeman – Cape Clear

Taken from Mr Lakeman’s second album ‘Kitty Jay’, this is one of those tracks that I’ve had on my musical playing device that comes round every so often, and it’s fantastic to listen to, but as my mp3 player only tells me the song title, I haven’t known the artist until now. Pathetic, I know. I really should invest in an iPod of sorts. But then I’d be joining their side…

Anyway, this is a lovely melody (not sure if it’s “trad” or not, but I’m also not sure if it really matters), and rather perfect for a cold winter morning. Herding sheep, running after Bathsheba on the Dorset hills, milking a cow – whatever you want to do with it. It’s good!

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Glastonbury 2010 – Part Two.


This edition takes us into…

Friday, and music (finally) properly starting! Saying “finally” suggests boredom – which, obviously it wasn’t – but it did get a little exhausting walking around the site in such heat.  It was all about water and suncream (unlike last year, and I did not wish to be so sunburnt this year). We had quite a busy schedule for Friday this meant, but that was definitely a good thing. It was quite impressive the amount we managed to see, but first we started the day off with a plate of vegetarian breakfast food from a cafe in the Green Fields. I am now a major fan of the Green Fields – not specifically for the breakfasts as this particular one wasn’t the ultimate way to break your fast this festival – but the general ambiance and relaxed nature of the place meant it was a lovely little area to escape to if Shangri-La and Stevie all became too much for you.

The Bin-Men groove away to Steel Harmony

So what did we see? First we went to another of my favourite areas, The Park, to be entertained by the first act on here, called Steel Harmony. This was advertised to me as “a steel-pan band from Manchester”, to which I said “yeah alright then”, but they turned out to be excellent, and so much fun. The weather was perfect as they played somewhat more buoyant covers of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and ‘Transmission’ (Joy Division), ‘Hey Ya’, ‘Single Ladies’, and, my favourite number, ‘Ever Fallen In Love’. It was an excellent way to start the main music, and I would recommend them. You missed out!

Next came a search for shade, which was a tricky time considering Worthy Farm, being a farm, is pretty exposed and all covered parts were already taken by those who had had the idea earlier than us. However, Femi Kuti, son of the pioneer of Afrobeat Fela Kuti, was performing on the Pyramid Stage at this time, so our attention was drawn to him more than the sun, even if he did state that the weather was like being “in Nigeria”. Awesome. However, Kuti Jnr had some serious tunes – I prefer his work to his dad’s, as Fela seems to have a habit of milling a song to death, turning it into a ten minute track when it should have been three. Which is what Femi does, he makes songs of a decent length. Plus they all looked like they were having fun, and put on an excellent show. It was music that you didn’t have to know before you went, and that makes up for a lot. Good work Kuti clan!

We were able, after this, to make our way to The Other Stage and catch the majority of The Stranglers set, which also turned out to be very good. The area was packed, which I found unusual – I’ve always found support for the Stranglers minimal in today’s society, and deem them as one of the most underrated bands of all time, but it was a good performance, and we saw ‘Always The Sun’, ‘Peaches’, ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Golden Brown’ and ‘Nice And Sleazy’ to name but a few. Crazy seeing such numbers you listened to on scratchy vinyl, and it was hellishly hot by this point, but good all the same.

Seth is Powered By The Sun

Then a quick transfer to the Croissant Neuf stage in the Green Fields, to see one of my favourites, Seth Lakeman. I was mildly disappointed that someone (Tom) wasn’t quite as enthused by him as I’d hoped, but the tent was PACKED and everyone else seemed to enjoy it too 🙂 I love Seth. He ended the first round with ‘Kitty Jay’ but it was so crowded and lacking in air-flow that we didn’t stay for the encore and went for a wander instead. Had I not seen him previously, I would have insisted on staying longer, but I am not a fan of making people do things they don’t wish to (Kristof).

As the heat continued to melt us, we went in search of shade in the Pyramid Stage field, as Willie Nelson was playing. The only cover available was under the big tree quite a way up the hill, and we found a corner to sit in as Mr Nelson belted out song after song, in his 30-track set. Quite impressive for someone who’s nearly 80. His songs, being only around 2-3 minutes in length each, were occasionally broken up with a mumbled “Thank you very much” but generally he just kept going. Such stamina!

We moved on to The Other Stage as Tom wished to see Phoenix. They didn’t exactly inspire me, but I was able to sit and save energy, whilst Tom stood and provided shade (boyfriends are AWESOME 😀 ) Musically, this was probably the weak point of the day, as I found it, to quote the final festival review (I think) “accomplished, but not particularly memorable, Middle Of The Road”. Which disappointed me as Tom’s taste is anything BUT middle of the road. Usually weird and controversial, but definitely MOR. But the evening sets more than made up for it!

Yorke and Greenwood get their melancholy mood on

After Phoenix’s performance, we made our way up to The Park, by way of the tent, for supplies from Mummy Bench and a beverage of the wine or ale variety (I miss Glasto 😦 ). For supper, we tried Teriyaki Chicken! I’d only ever had this in crisp form before, in that crazy selection of new crisp flavours that Walkers brought out for the World Cup (which was, obviously, SO worth going to all that trouble). This makes me sound retarded and uncultured. I am not. I was merely brought up as vegetarian, and therefore haven’t tried such delicacies as marinated chicken. It turned out to be pretty good really, except possibly a little bland as it was just chicken and rice. And why oh why did they give us chopsticks? I’m all for authenticity, but this is a field in Somerset, not a Tokyo high street, and there’s no need to be so impractical. Or pretentious. Forks always work better.

The general plan was to head to The Park for some of the evening anyway, but then we were informed that the Secret Gig there that evening could be Radiohead. Radiohead! But it would clash with Hot Chip… Struggling with which musical treat to choose, we stayed in The Park, thinking that we could hop down to Hot Chip if it turned out to be some retard instead. The Radiohead rumour disagreed with what the sound-desk had informed Tom earlier – that the Special Guest was to be Michael Jackson.

We found a space very near the front, and the first guest on stage was Mr Eavis himself. Huge cheers! Who would have thought a humble farmer would be such a hero? He introduced the next two stars, and the set turned out to be one from Thom Yorke and Jonny “I’ve got no face” Greenwood. It was outstanding. Thom Yorke looked like “a homeless tennis player”, and they played a selection of his solo work, ending things with Karma Police which was immense – the entire crowd joined in and gave me tingles on the back of my neck. Sounds gay but it’s happened to you I’m sure. Their last track was Street Spirit, and even after they left the stage, people were still yelling “For a minute there, I lost myself” (etc), and this was definitely a Festival Highlight. And as it turns out, Hot Chip are playing at the Berlin Festival, so we made the right choice.

Snoop introduces the Plastic Beach

Not only were we able to see those two marvellous musicians, we got a relatively decent spot for Gorillaz, the Friday headliner, and they put on an excellent show. It was definitely more a ‘show’ than just a set or them playing their music, and such effort had been put into it! General feedback seems to be disappointment, although this generally seems to be down to people not knowing the newer material, Albarn possibly considering it might be like last year’s Blur performance, and people wanting to hear Clash songs and other numbers from the guests and members of the Gorillaz live band. But why? They are performing as Gorillaz, not anything they’ve done previously. I was very much impressed with their set – not quite a Festival Highlight, but still very, very good. So many stars on stage! All guests appeared apart from Mos Def, and they played some absolute tunes. A very good way to round-up a lovely day of music.

The next plan was to head to Shangri-La to check out the insane night-life there, but it was so full of people trying to get there (to the point of being claustrophobic in a crowd), and the main entrance was blocked off, so it really wasn’t worth it. Instead, we found joy in the 50p Tea Tent, with a cup of hot tea and sharing a piece of cake. Which is much better than trying to force your way into something that could be rubbish. You can always rely on tea.

A Study Of A Pilton Field.


In a dilemma about what to see at Glasto? Clashfinder confused you even further? There’s plenty you WANT to see, but it’s physically impossible to see EVERYTHING? (A great shame).

Well worry no further, for here are my recommendations for Glastonbury 2010, including the big and the small, what to avoid, the unmissable, and the “go and see if you have bugger all else to do”. The latter being a dismal prospect as there should always be something to do on Worthy Farm.

(Dear lord, I am so excited)

Since the music starts (sort of) on Thursday, let us, too, start there. Having said that, there are minimal acts, therefore a very small proportion are actually good, so I give you Beardyman.

A beatboxer with a wicked sense of humour, how could you not want to see him? Hopefully he’ll come in full kitchen regalia, including wig. He’s performing on the WOW! stage at around the 8 o’clock. Miss him and you’ll have to watch Boy George afterwards. Unlucky. Also on Thursday, Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs are starting things off, at 1pm on the Pyramid Stage. Yes really. Not hugely known for their variance from song to song, they categorise themselves as “skunk” – a fusion of punk and skiffle. They are, however, a lot of fun, and a good way to start your Thursday at Glastonbury off. Try after an incredible breakfast from Veggie Heaven, just next to the Other Stage.

Friday – This is where it starts to get really interesting. And messy. We are all, of course, ecstatic that U2 are no longer performing – I thought they pulled out because they suck (therefore no one would go to see them), but apparently it’s to do with Bono’s health or something else that no one cares about. As a replacement, we have the wonderful Gorillaz, who I thought were just a small side project. But no, they are EPIC. This will be an epic performance, including many guests and potentially Damon Albarn crying again, although the latter is probably unlikely. Have a peek at their performance on Jools Holland, and if you’re poor, their latest album (+backcatalogue) resides on Spotify.

Also on Friday, may I recommend Hot Chip (their new album is WINNING), Seth Lakeman (I LOVE HIM, on at Croissant Neuf), Simian Mobile Disco and Boys Noize. This last chap is a German electro DJ, and awesome. He’s on last thing on Dance West, just after Simian, and definitely worth exploring.

Saturday – Muse suck so no one’s going to see them. It seems it’ll all be happening on what they are this year calling “West Holts”, which is in fact the Jazz World stage. Let’s just call it Jazz World. Everyone KNOWS it as Jazz World. It might not all be jazz, but at least it says “stuff here may be controversial”. Anyway, George Clinton is bringing his two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic, to it that evening, and although they seem to get a groove on and stick to the same melody/rhythm/tune for the next five minutes, it will still be much more fun than “I have to be so bloody epic all the time” Muse.

Also for Saturday… Seasick Steve is on the Pyramid, though I’d rather see him in some ranch in the middle of America I think (should be good though!). Devendra Banhart could be an option if there’s nothing else to see, along with Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra – both on West Holts. Which means pint of strawberry cider at the same time. The Unthanks turn up on the Avalon Stage (very folky, very good), and and and – the band I am most excited about for Saturday – The National! On for a mere hour on t’Other Stage, they should suitably sap all the happiness from you, and leave you with a mellow, realistic look on the world for a few moments after. And then The Cribs take over (I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THESE WAKEFIELD WEIRDOS) and you shall be shaken back to reality, and will run far, far away from the Other Stage.

Sunday – As has previously been said, you can see Stevie, but he will not be seeing you. There’s even been a somewhat impractical suggestion of braille flags so there’s a chance he can get on-board with the waving flag vibe. Though it may be impractical, the suggestion did tickle me somewhat. Anyway, Stevie Wonder is to be the highlight of Sunday (he’s just too cool to miss, surely?), along with Faithless just before him. A few hours in front of the Pyramid Stage means time for wedges and pint, and you can get your groove on some electronica before singing along with everyone else to ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’ with Mr Wonder.

Sunday also includes LCD Soundsystem, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Grizzly Bear for your enjoyment, although most of them clash (told you it got messy), and you DO have to weigh up which is better to see based on value for money, how regularly they perform, if you will ever see them again, and if it’s worth missing one of the other bands.  A great shame.

Generally speaking, the idea seems to be to avoid the main stages unless there’s something AWESOME on (as they get hideously busy and don’t seem to offer good quality music), look for the smaller things, have a handful of Definites, some Maybes, and use the rest of the time to experience something you’ve never done before.

Mezzo Forte – Seth Lakeman.


Or – Seth “I’ve got freaking awesome guns” Lakeman.

Playing at The Brook in Southampton on the 15th April, it was finally my first experience of live Seth. I’ve been wanting to see him for ages, and I have no idea why it took me so bloody long as he always seems to be touring.

Everything about his music seems to be pretty awesome – he has is one of those rare musicians who can write brilliant songs that are immediately accessible, but also last. They can be listened to again and again, and don’t get boring. I’m not sure if any names of others who can do that actually come to mind… And he really is a musician – this word can be applied so very well to him. Being a violin player (and the violin seeming like such a frail instrument compared to, for example, the guitar), one can always feel slightly on edge when he’s playing as there is such opportunity to get a note wrong or fail completely, but not once did this happen. Indeed, the only minor ailment to his performance was his intensity in one song that started to fray his bow. Did Yehudi Menuhin even manage this? His playing technique is outstanding too – he looks classically trained in his stance and hold, although this seems slightly unorthodox for a folk singer. Throughout the set, he switched from violin to tenor guitar, and somehow managed to sing at the same time as playing the former. The logistics of this always confuse me but he did it brilliantly.

Better still, he appears to be having fun! There’s nothing worse than a moody frontman to bring the audience and backing band down. He interacted with his audience and band, frequently ‘jamming’ with individuals of the band (which includes his brother Sean), and there was a general sense of enjoyment from all there. Good choice of venue too: not too big to give it an empty feel, but cosy enough as it was full.

Starting with ‘The Hurlers’ and ending, before the encore, with just him and his violin playing ‘Kitty Jay’ (wonderful stuff!), Mr Lakeman played lots of new stuff and I am seriously considering buying the next album. A rarity, considering I am hardly ever able to buy albums 😀 It was an excellent live experience, with a combination of good playing, good songs, and a happy ensemble of people. Go see them live!

The only pity about him is that he feels to popular and too big a name for a folk artist. I always thought folk music was about using song to tell people about what was happening to the lambs and chickens, and how some bird threw herself off of a bridge because her true love has to marry someone else – traditional stuff, really, and Mr Lakeman does sing about such things, but shouldn’t folk be in the pub at the end of a long day in the fields, with a pint in one hand and a violin/guitar/hurdy-gurdy etc in the other?