Ten Career Defining Tracks From Glastonbury 2015

As the Worthy Farm clean-up continues, we look back to ten tracks that defined this year’s festival, whether from acts visiting Pilton for the first time or legends of all ages who can’t help but come back for more. As diverse as it’s always been, Glastonbury didn’t disappoint, with musical moments that will forever define it’s attendees June 2015. Here are ten of our favourites:

The Who ‘Who Are You’

Over half a century into their career, The Who returned to Glastonbury in a controversial slot (were they replacing someone?), but one that would always deliver. Opener ‘Who Are You’ skips the starter and goes straight for a main-course of meaty, mod-heavy, man-made music. While other vocalists who have been doing for it as long can suffer with some of the notes and all the tempos, Daltery’s roar is as strong as ever, with Townsend’s windmill showing no signs of slowing down, despite the threat that this tour will be their last. (That’s guitar windmill to clarify, and not some genital swinging trick…)

Future Islands ‘Tin Man’

As they count their way down to show #1000, Baltimore trio Future Islands took to the Other Stage. Over the last eighteen months, the band have been catapulted from obscurity to one of the bands of right now, fuelled by Samuel T. Herring’s energy. ‘Seasons (Waiting For You)’ naturally gained the biggest reaction from the crowd, but seeing Herring truly believe he is the Tin Man highlights exactly why his belief in the band, coupled with a unique showmanship, have carried them to the second biggest stage at, in his own words, “the biggest festival in the world”.

The Districts ‘Funeral Beds’

How The Districts’ frontman Rob Grote hasn’t sustained whiplash from his performance is a miracle. As the heaven’s opened on Friday afternoon, the four-piece from Philadelphia delivered a gritty, early Kings Of Leon sound, with Grote dripping despite being undercover. Tracks from this year’s LP, A Flourish And A Spoil, show how far they’ve come since the garage-rock of earlier efforts, but ‘Funeral Beds’ allowed their storytelling to shine.

Florence + The Machine ‘Ship To Wreck’

It was always clear that Florence + The Machine were ready to headline Glastonbury, with fate seemingly agreeing with the rumours rather then the Eavises. The band’s Friday evening Pyramid performance saw tracks from their three albums delivered with precision, by both Florence and the audience. ‘Spectrum’, ‘You Got The Love’ and a cover of Foo Fighters’ ‘Times Like These’ will all go down in Glastonbury history, but the simplicity of ‘Ship To Wreck’ makes it an effortless addition to their set list, and a highlight of this year’s festival.

La Roux ‘Let Me Down Gently’

Few artists soaked up the applause like Elly Jackson. While promotion of last year’s Trouble In Paradise might not have gone exactly to plan (particularly with Radio One refusing to play its singles), the balearic, ‘70s sounding pop rhythms merged effortlessly with the harsher, ‘80s-esque synths of La Roux’s debut. It was Trouble’s lead-single, ‘Let Me Down Gently’, that best highlighted the genius of the band’s sound, however; a track that begins with a slow, a cappella intro and builds to a sax-squealing climax via robotic keys, almost like the bastard beach-conceived lovechild of Duran Duran’s ‘Save A Prayer’ and Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’.

Pharrell Williams ‘Freedom’

As one of the more commercial, and arguably controversial acts of this years line-up, Pharrell Williams’ role was clear; he was there to deliver the hits, which he did with ease. From N*E*R*D and The Neptunes to tracks he’s written and produced with Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Daft Punk and, naturally, his own ‘Happy’. His Apple Music collaboration ‘Freedom’ opened and closed the show, taking a different route than ‘Happy’ but still offering an uplifting message, as he told the audience: “I don’t care how much money you have in the bank account, I don’t care how rich your family is, or where you come from. If you’re a human being, you need some sort of freedom.”

Kanye West ‘Runaway’

Whether you thought he was right for Glastonbury or not, there’s a reason that Michael and Emily Eavis’ festival is so successful; before doubting their decisions it’s probably best to look back to Jay-Z’s appearance, which silenced critics and elevated his role. While Kanye West carries a bigger mouth and a little more baggage, he’s up there with Jay-Z, sharing the throne. Beneath a ceiling of spotlights, he took to the huge stage alone for the most part, with the anthems gaining just a big as reaction as any of the other headliners, but tracks like ‘Runaway’ showcasing why he’s so much more than a rapper in the wrong place.

Everything Everything ‘Distant Past’

“Our album’s at number 2 this week,” beams Everything Everything frontman Jonathan Higgs, and while it eventually charts at #7 it’s still a time for celebrations for the mathematical art-rockers. Get To Heaven has seen a wave of glowing reviews for the band, which they’re clearly riding throughout this performance. Early favourite ‘Photoshop Handsome’ is followed by recent single and show closer ‘Distant Past’, with big beats, near-rapping and eye-popping crescendos. Extra points for the red capes too.

Jungle ‘Time’

Having been one of the buzz bands of last year, and having sold out every increased capacity London venue they’ve played over the last eighteen months, Jungle were upgraded from the John Peel tent to the Other Stage, where tracks featuring the funk/soul of their self-titled debut poured over the crowd. If there’s time in their schedule to record a follow up before next year, Jungle could find themselves headlining West Holts, or even appearing on the Pyramid before the next fallow year.

Burt Bacharach ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ 

At 86-years old, Burt Bacharach is this year’s oldest performer, with only Pharrell Williams to rival him for a hit-after-hit packed set. Looking like they’re fresh from a Las Vegas residency, his band deliver ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’, ‘I Say A Little Prayer For You’ and this year’s “hug a stranger” moment, ‘That’s What Friends Are For’. But ‘Raindrops…’, with Burt taking the odd line or two himself, smiling while looking out to the crowd singing along – fifteen years after he was originally meant to perform, was so good he performed it twice, holding the rain held off until the next day.

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..."