If you were busy this weekend and didn’t feel like being surrounded by the mud, the Tories or the wannabes at Glastonbury, then here’s a small guide about which acts you should catch up on…
Lionel and Pharrell spread the joy
The Soul and Pop legend that is Lionel Richie attracted the biggest crowd of the festival with over 100,000 moving to tracks like ‘dancing on the ceiling’ with thousands all decked out in what was the most popular merchandise of the festival. It’s almost like they missed a trick not making him a headline act given his reception. Similarly Pharrell got the crowd going in an enthusiastic fashion and both provided the simple feel-good factor.
Ronson and friends provide the funk
Mark Ronson went all out in his efforts to wow the audience with his set. He did just about played and tampered with everything available and rolled out a varied list of artists to give him a hand from Kevin Parker, Kyle Falconer, Boy George, Grandmaster Flash, George Clinton and Mary J. Blige to name a few! Outstanding effort from Ronson to give the audience more than their money’s worth.
Florence + The Machine delivered a high energy performance verging on the insane as she belted out her simple yet sophisticated catalogue of music and paid tribute to the missing Foo Fighters with her own rendition of ‘Times Like These’. The fact she’s back to number one in the album charts should tell you all you need to know about the impact of her performance.
Reliably Amazing acts deliver again
Future Islands rocked out another fine performance, despite feeling the fatigue slightly in what has been a non-stop year and a half for the band. Samuel Herring still amazed and frightened the life out of people with his now trademark stylish aggression, passion and ridiculous dance moves. In a similar but wonderfully sleazy way, Father John Misty thrust and launched himself just about everywhere, but delivered every track at album level quality. ‘Bored in the USA’ was just as theatrically trashy and even unnerving as you’d expect and was a sight to behold. Meanwhile, Courtney Barnett made herself feel at home at the Pyramid Stage of all places whilst effortlessly and breezily rolling through set in her typical laid back style. Glastonbury veterans delivered their set as if it was 1993 again and even stole a lot of the crowd away from Kanye’s headline act. The Who rolled out a hit feast for the fans and delivered also delivered a performance like their famous seventies gigs, but at a slower pace, still worth seeing despite their advancing years.
He was causing controversy before and after the his headline slot with many signing petitions to get him removed, but he was there in defiance and the opening stages of his set delivered some of his biggest tracks and was almost space age in it’s opening and set up for his ego with him and the lights on him. As simple as that. It worked wonderfully as a statement, but for the whole show it’s novelty wore away and he really should have took a leaf out of Ronson’s book for the middle and latter stages of his set. Not even Kanye can do everything on his own. The fact he claimed he was the biggest rockstar in the world is of no concern to me… it’s that sort of musical conservatism that stifles music and similarly threatened to stifle the festival, but Kanye was always going to be there and divided the majority of the audience straight down the middle. The Libertines were also left high and dry by being moved up the billing thanks to the Foo Fighters absence and their disjointed and worn set did nothing to get anyone shouting.
Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995
The debut album from London-based psych-rock band Gengahr is a fantastic follow up to their initial 2014 singles ‘Powder’ and ‘Bathed in Light’. A Dream Outside has a little something for everyone; it’s poppy, rocky, and a little bit electronic-y. There’s a bright, bubbly tone to all of Gengahr’s tracks; they have hints of OK Go, Soulwax, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and the Pixies, but their gentle psychedelic undertone gives them just enough edge to stand alone rather than as alt-rock copycats.
The entire album is filled with snappy percussion, fuzzy guitar and high soprano vocals. The band chop and change between sweet-sounding, light numbers such as ‘Lonely As A Shark’ and ‘Trampoline’ and louder tracks with vigorous electric guitar and fuzz pedals. Standout tracks include addictive opener ‘Dizzy Ghosts’, the frantic drumbeats and rumbling bass of ‘Embers’ and the wonderful ‘Where I Lie’ which has a much darker edge than everything else on the album. The light, sweet lead vocals off-set the ominous lyrics of monsters and “creeping crawlers” perfectly.
Another favourite is ‘Dark Star’, an instrumental number which, halfway through the album, offers a nice reprieve from the intense soprano vocals. This could be the soundtrack to a night in a hip gin bar, and is a demonstration of Genghar’s talent for creating fun soundscapes rich with differing riffs and textures. With something new to notice with each listen, A Dream Outside is definitely an album which grows on you and leaves you with catchy little hooks and riffs flitting around your mind. It’s an excellent debut from this up and coming ensemble.
Gengahr – A Dream Outside = 7/10
Ellie Scott @elliemaryscott
Maximo Park and their sorrowful single ‘Leave This Island’ from their 2014 album Too Much Information is often viewed as an appeal to Scotland during it’s growing desire for Independence from the Northumbrian band, to consider the region in the debate. It seems only apt that this song was remixed by Glaswegian band Mogwai who do a brilliant job of giving the song even darker and more sorrowful depths musically, but interestingly remove the lyrics and by extension the message of the song. Nevertheless the sonic charge they give the song works wonders in achieving their aims whilst not changing the musical emphasis of the it.
Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995
Brooklyn based synth-pop artist Class Actress released her new EP Movies yesterday on June 23rd and the latest track to come from the EP is ‘High on Love’. Produced by the legendary Giorgio Moroder, the track is very much at the pop end of the synth pop genre with light bouncing beats and automated handclaps. From this come the highly melodic and slightly distorted vocals with the high pitched harmonies in the background. In many ways it’s a reliable and simple pop tune with a retro synth tinge which adds rhythm and repetitiveness so take it for what it is in that regard.
Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995
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