Festival Frolics: Glastonbury Sunday, I Just Called To Say I Love You.

In Gruff Rhys’ Gorillaz absence, Wales isn’t aptly represented at this year’s Glastonbury until The Joy Formidable hijack the Other Stage bright and early Sunday morning, tearing through the most visceral of clap-alongs. As nineties as Reef scoffing Monster Munch whilst Mansun reverberate from the tin can speakers of a Ford Fiesta, the ravaging brutality of Cradle is utterly faultless, Ritzy darting and lunging as if she were born in a tent up in The Park anxiously awaiting the moment she were capable of strapping on her battered Strat and howling to Austere. A little more attune with a fragile awakening is Hackney faux-eccentric Paloma Faith, today strapped to two balloons Wayne Coyne presumably didn’t have room in the van for. Typically towering heels, sassy croons to opener Stone Cold Sober and a backing band reminiscent of a contemporary Jackson 5, a year on from the untimely passing of MJ and two after Wino’s abysmal Pyramid second headline slot Faith’s our brightest beacon as far as retro soul stuff goes. Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful is as sultry sixties as a certain Miss. Bassey, Upside Down unashamedly synthetic in a blur of rhyming dictionary couplets, whilst Romance Is Dead makes you want to hurl your Blackberry into the nearest trickling stream and get dispatching a bouquet or two. Everything Everything portray themselves to be equal parts angular and overrated over on the John Peel, doing little to differentiate them from the countless razor fringes and Fender treble tones that swamp anywhere and everywhere east of Old Street, west of Bow. Schoolin’ offers a brief respite from the quartet’s limbless take on Baddies’ undying sense of do-or-die urgency however, that whistle part sure to get Fearne Cotton spewing all sorts of sycophantia all too soon. As intense as an Afghan summer, Southend doom noiseniks These New Puritans look as though they haven’t the faintest grasp on quite where they are, their guerrilla trench punk incorporating chain rattles from the doldrums of the London Dungeons, chainmail and um... a miniscule brass section. Drawing almost exclusively from this year’s ephemeral sophomore effort Hidden, the trio play to a bafflingly microscopic gathering, Jack Barnett swaggering on as if he’s just taken a fistful of bigotry to both eyelids just in time for the tribal fury of We Want Far to ignite. Hologram bleeds beauty, Attack Music practically ruptures cerebral matter and the baroque sounds of Three Thousand send your heart seeking refuge in the most secluded of bodily nooks. Filling our minds with at least three thousand thoughts, These New Puritans slice through time, genre and era with unnerving precision. From the east coast to East London, Crystal Fighters blend Basque traditionalism with beats one second as tender as a bleary-eyed Albarn, the next as harsh as a post-treatment El Hadji Diouf. At Home, one of the (currently) trio’s more poignant moments is dutifully beautiful, Champion Sound sees Txalapartas quake and forthcoming single In The Summer frazzles the somewhat meagre front row in a bedazzling glimmer of chanted hysteria that cements itself somewhere in the subconscious.
Amidst the inanity of a Jo Whiley interview, Laura Marling coos her way through a handful of lilting ditties lifted from recent LP I Speak Because I Can, rambling courageously if a little lethargically through Devil’s Spoke. Apparently her fella’s watching the football and whilst she murmurs softly from beneath a shock of newly bleached blonde, despite the score line and feelings of indifference towards our national squad of fabulously inept superstars it almost seems preferential. If the World Cup gets one over on Laura Marling, The Kinks’ main man Ray Davies, an avid Arsenal fan, brings the music back level with an inspired collection of rousing quintessential British anthemia. Looking forever more like Alan Rickman as the years roll on, the likes of I Need You and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion rock and a-roll, before Davies is backed up by the impeccably toned Crouch End Festival Choir for a rapturous run-through of Kinks klassics You Really Got Me, Victoria and the set’s most apt, Shangri-La. Dedicated to the recently deceased Kinks bassist Pete Quaife, The Village Green Preservation Society is English enough to draw every last ex-pat home before a finale of Lola, Waterloo Sunset, Days and All Day And All Of The Night is overwhelmingly ecstatic, both nostalgically and quite contemporarily. Not quite as nostalgic as many would have hoped are Brooklyn boys MGMT, who deliberately draw from as much alienation as feasibly possible this side of their college lo-fi debut Climbing To New Lows, omitting the majority of Oracular Spectacular in favour of the vague psych stylings of Congratulations. Bursting into the Kevin Dunn-esque It’s Working, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser actually allude to Time To Pretend as a hit in the purest sense of the word, from a time “back when we were a popular band”. Such a fall from grace has stemmed from their frequent ignorance of Kids, instead electing to fry expectations with the retro tendencies of Brian Eno, Song For Dan Treacy and Flash Delirium. That said, they force feed Worthy Farm a stick of rock with MGMT engrained right down the middle, featuring early(ish) B-side Destrokk, the glam disco of Electric Feel and an ominous Kids prompting a stage invasion that attracts the sluggish Klaxon, Queens Of Noize and that stand-in Libertines guitarist as an assortment of fruit and the odd bouquet are tossed longingly into a dissipating throng. Two years ago Glastonbury was infatuated. It’s now largely infuriated. If Glastonbury’s now 40, Faithless’ Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss have been collaborating for almost half said period, seemingly playing every other festival since their conception. The gushing euphoria of unleashing a heavily synth-laden Insomnia on a sea of sunglasses and receding hairlines must be overpowering, Sister Bliss’ rave keys pile driven into submission, whilst We Come 1 reenergises rave with spurts of distorted guitars, throbbing bass and a percussionist clattering about in a cowboy hat last seen in Swansea city centre. Bizarrely, during Mass Destruction the pair practically sound akin to a bona fide pop band fronted by an angered sage.

An hour of furious nail chomping and anxious impatience awaits before Casios bleep for 9:45pm. Cometh the hour, cometh Glastonbury’s first and last Motown behemoth of 2010, Mr. Stevie Wonder. Shuffling onstage to My Eyes Don’t Cry, the truth in such a sentiment may be dubious, but by Michael Jackson, not since before many of our births has the keytar looked quite as likely to top a Christmas list or two. A shock of dreadlocks droops from the behind of that hit-filled head of his, a head that bobs like that of a sea lion infatuated with a beach ball and as his muumuu flails in the sundown breeze, the following hour and a half evaporates in a flurry sweeter than McDonalds’ best frozen pig fat. Master Blaster (Jammin’), We Can Work It Out, For Once In My Life, Signed, Sealed Delivered I’m Yours, Sir Duke and Superstition all sound from exasperated lungs like the most soulful of bagpipe orchestras and you wonder quite who’s bothered about Dr. Who conducting Orbital. Or anything else on the planet for that matter. An emotionally charged rendition of Happy Birthday rounds off proceedings before the dubstep clanks of Magnetic Man keep the wheels turning and jaws gurning, Mr. Eavis providing backing vocals before bringing the curtain down on the best birthday bash since the party bags ran out. 40 years down the line, everything’s crossed for another 400 at the very least. “Glastonbury. And Stevie. A celebration.” Thank you for the music, the memories, the mud (or dust if 2010 was your first venture into the crazed lands of Worthy Farm) and 40 weekends quite unlike any other.