Live Review: Glastonbury 2008, Part 1 ( [Director’s Cut]
November 5, 2009, 4:36 pm
Filed under: Features, Live Reviews



At 7:00 p.m. on the first evening a menacing darkness consumes the Somerset sky. Glasvegas open the festival proper from the confines of the tiny Queen’s Head Tent. Two channels of fans trail from the exits, cramming to witness the band play their first ever Glastonbury chord. Hiding behind horn-rimmed shades, James Allan uses the performance as a means of cleansing himself of the filth and shame of painful childhood memories and the bittersweet tang of failed romances. Sensibly the schedulers have chosen to intensify the band’s stratospheric sound and emotionally cathartic songs by placing them within the confines of a small tent stage (repeating the trick for their second outing the following day). Experience Glasvegas first-hand and you’ll believe us when we say that what they do is felt in the very nucleus of a person. The Dalmarnock quartet provide for an auspicious beginning to the greatest music festival on Earth.

Cut to five hours later though, an increasingly fierce downfall has turned the makeshift music-city to mud, the only sound heard above the torrential din being that of Michael Eavis, grinding his teeth.

AU watches the rain as it attempts to wash the filth and the shame from Glastonbury’s very own dark heart – the infamous Trash City – Mad Max meets Moulin Rouge – the only Steam-Punk-Pan-Sexual-Burlesque-Vampire-Rave to be had after hours! Within ‘The House of Dolls’ tent, a group of drenched revellers stand transfixed by a ballet of zombified Victorian Dolls on the podium, the whole bizarre spectacle soundtracked by what’s described as ‘Mash-core’: epileptic, head-fucking ‘dance’ music containing… well almost everything, except a discernable rhythm.


Outside fast, industrial techno is punctuated by from the tentacles of a rusting rocket ship / DJ booth, 30ft high flames are released against the watery heavens (we can smell eviscerated nose hair) illuminating the adjacent ‘Download Club’; a fully recreated NYC Eighties gay bar complete with iron fire-stairs and crumbly bricks. You know the party started without you when a unicorn carrying a can of McEwans lager open yours porta-loo door before apologizing politely. As the rain starts again we manage to duck into a staff entrance where a passing herd of tittering trannies are en-route to the gay bar, to perform God-knows-what with God-knows-who.

John Calvert

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