Glastonbury: The Clashes, The Secrets, The Songs

There are mere hours until the gates of Worthy Farm open again, for more fun than you can shake your body down to the ground at (yes, The Jacksons will be there). Don’t forget your sunscreen, you might need extra wet wipes, but still pack your pac-a-mac… Anything could happen. And that’s why we love it.

So here’s your last chance to ponder the clashes, mull over the secret sets and play the songs loud enough so that the words drill into your head. Let’s begin:

The Clashes

There are approximately 100 stages at Glastonbury, and apparently 1000 acts, yet still the law of sods says that the two that you got most excited about when the line-ups were initially released are playing at the exact same time, and on opposite ends of the site. For example…

Friday 23rd June

The XX – Pyramid Stage 19.30 / Future Islands – John Peel Stage 19.30

The question here is simple – do you want to dance like no one’s watching or do you want to watch someone dancing like no one’s watching? Since Jamie XX upped the ante on The XX’s latest release, they’ve never been more appropriate for busting a move to, particularly on album opener ‘Dangerous’. On the other hand, Baltimore’s Future Islands will be filling the John Peel tent with synths, and while moments are slow and tender, frontman Samuel T. Herring will push and pull himself across the stage like two drunks fighting outside a kebab shop. Although it’ll be good to see team XX on The Pyramid, I’ll be trying to recreate the ‘Seasons’ dance.

Radiohead – Pyramid Stage 21.30 / The Flaming Lips – The Park 22.45

Radiohead’s return to a main stage Glastonbury slot is one of the biggest events of this year… Even moreso than Busted at the Avalon stage. It’s sure to be a hypnotic, mesmerising set, however The Flaming Lips offer a different take on hypnotism, performing from platforms, surrounded by balloons and streamers – it’s sort of how you’d imagine Wizzard might be nowadays, but with even more of the white stuff. (And we’re not talking the snow from I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.) Realistically you could do both, but no one’s going to want to leave Radiohead once they’ve started, and while it could be an opportunity to see Flaming Lips without too much of a crowd, on this occasion a big stage and big crowd is going to be perfect for Radiohead’s set. So you’ll find me there.

Saturday 24th June

Katy Perry – Pyramid Stage 18.00 / Temples – The Park 18.00

Now, hear me out. Temples are one of my favourite new(ish) bands from the last few years, and everytime I’ve seen them they’ve been exceptional live. Like their albums, their shows hark back to the psychedelia and glam-rock of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and without becoming overly commercial, their fan base has grown and their tunes have become even more accessible. BUT, how many times have you drunk-danced to ‘Firework’ at a wedding? How many times have you tapped your fingers on the steering wheel to ‘Hot ’n Cold’? How impressed were you to hear that Hot Chip collaborated on her new album? She’s not very Glastonbury, but isn’t that in itself very Glastonbury? On this occasion I think I’ll have to shed £20 on a ticket to Temples’ next tour.

Alt-J – Other Stage 22.30 / The Jacksons – West Holts 22.15 / Warpaint – The Park 23.00

A three-way for this slot, and that’s without mentioning Foo Fighters, however for me their cancellation a couple of years ago was a relief. No offence to them, of course – Dave seems like a smashing lad. Alt-J’s recent effort has seen them become even more dramatic, which will no doubt be echoed in their set, with a smattering of smashers from their last two collections to keep momentum up. Having seen The Jacksons at Bestival a couple of years ago, I know that this is going to be a hits set to end all hits sets, and thank God it’s taking place in the evening rather than Sunday afternoon. Warpaint’s chemistry is one of the reasons their live shows are so mesmerising, but on this occasion their set on The Park might allow for a better connection with a smaller crowd, shuffling shoulders to ‘Love Is To Die’, looking gloomy and cute in harmony. Unfortunately I’m not either, so I’ll be feeling it with Tito & co.

Sunday 25th June

Chic feat. Nile Rodgers – Pyramid Stage 17.45 / TBA – John Peel Stage 17.30

Good times are guaranteed with Rodgers & co’s hit machine delivering banger after banger from the Chic catalogue, as well as the tracks he produced for others. Their set a few years ago (at the same time as Arctic Monkeys’) was a huge success. Over in John Peel’s tent, there’s nothing confirmed, which seems odd to be adding it here, but the press are getting pretty hyped about it since noticing that the Beeb are filming it. The Killers and Gorillaz have been thrown into the hat, and to see either on a stage so small (for them) would be pretty special… Might have to chance it, and if it’s Harry Styles there’s time to run to the Pyramid before he gets his first lyric out.

London Grammar – John Peel Stage 20.30 / Jagwar Ma – William’s Green 20.30

If you’d like to end the festival with a few tears, London Grammar are sure to offer some assistance. Their recently released second album just topped the charts, filled to the brim with minimal, electronic ballads sung hauntingly. If, however, you’d rather imagine what Glastonbury would have been like with Leftfield in the ‘90s, head to William’s Green with your bucket hat and your lager, lager, lager, lager… Me? I’ll be blubbing like a bitch. ‘Sights’ gets me every bloody time.

The Secrets

That aforementioned Sunday TBA slot has BIG name written all over it, however Emily Eavis has mentioned that there are more secrets than ever before this year, and some that – surprisingly – no one has mentioned yet. Here’s a look at the rumours (and a few new rumours for good measure):

  • Everything Everything are back, and according to Clash Finder you’ll find them in William’s Green on Thursday Night.
  • There’s a SHHHH! Secret DJ Set on the Sunday evening/early hours of Monday, where as all others are simply billed as Secret Sets. Could it be a big Bjork-like hint?
  • Radiohead have played secret sets together and separately in the past, so pitch a tent at The Stone Circle and don’t be surprised if Thom Yorke strolls up with an acoustic guitar.
  • It’s the Maccabees last year together, will they make it one more time to the Eavis’ place?
  • A surprising omission from the setlist is Elbow, who have a new album out, but aren’t playing their usual before-the-headiner slot. Will Guy stop tinkering with his bike (Car Share joke there) to pop up in a bandstand somewhere?
  • Chic have played before, but could some special guests be joining them? Is there anyone they’ve collaborated with before?
  • Kraftwerk and Jamiroquai were strong contenders for the line-up and are both touring at the moment, so it was odd to not have them announced…
  • Blondie are in the West Country on the Friday for the Eden Sessions. Surely they could call in on their way past.
  • Liam AND Noel Gallagher are appearing at some stage or other, on some stage or the Other. It’s been 13 years since Oasis performed at Glastonbury, could that be the lucky number?

The Songs

Don’t forget your toothbrush, your ticket and your tinnies. And while you’re packing and checking and double checking that 20L is enough cider for 5 days, press play and enjoy the best of what is sure to be a weekend to remember.

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Dan Bull

Reviews Editor
London. Likes: Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Prince Charles Cinema, Duran Duran Dislikes: Soreen, All-hits setlists, "I liked them before everyone else..."