Glastonbury Festival returned after a break for the fallow year and Getintothis’ Rick Leach, Matty Lear and Steve Hanlon soaked up a weekend of perfect sunshine, music and more.
It seems to fit perfectly.
Glastonbury Festival and June. Like strawberries and cream: you can’t imagine the one without the other.
So, following 2018’s fallow year, normal service was resumed and we headed off yet again to Worthy Farm to see what delights awaited us.
It had been a long wait. A summer without Glastonbury always feels a bit strange, as if something is missing.
There’s always the same talk about how the festival isn’t what it used to be, how it’s changed (for the worse usually) and how it should get back to its roots or whatever. Whether those points are justified or not, it doesn’t really matter.
All we know is that it is the landmark festival by which all others have to be judged. For good or ill, Glastonbury has a whole lot to live up to.
If they get it wrong- and in some parts they do and that’s understandable- there’s a big stick to beat them over the head with. But when they get it right, it hits the mark perfectly and demonstrates why it means so much to so many people.
It’s the unexpected things that always make it so special.
We knew there’d be plenty of these but to be honest when then initial line up was released we weren’t exactly blown away. Yes, there were some interesting artists set to tread the boards, but overall we didn’t get that jaw-dropping feeling.
Yet we weren’t that concerned about this. We knew, paraphrasing Donald Rumsfeld somewhat, that it’s best to rely on the unknown unknowns. Glastonbury always has a way of throwing the unknowns and the unexpected our way.
What we were more concerned about is the weather.
For this particular writer, it’s probably the only time of the year when I watch BBC Countryfile on the Sunday before Glastonbury to get as a definitive forecast as possible. I’ll sit through an hour of well-meaning but for me, frankly boring items about cows or wheat or hedgegrows just to see if we’ll get rain in Somerset. I figure I’m not alone in this.
According to the gurus at the Met Office, we were set for a weekend of unbridled sunshine. How much sunshine, well that was hard to tell, but there’d be no rain. And therefore no mud.
This is a “good thing.” Despite all the look-back bores who say that you ‘haven’t done Glasto until you’ve done it in the mud’, we can 100 per cent say that they’re wrong. The mud is no fun at all.
We didn’t know in advance however how sunny and blazingly hot it would turn out to be. More of that later.
As John Peel said about The Fall, they’re always different and always the same. So it is with Glastonbury.
There always seems to be a sort of theme, some overarching impression to the festival, whether by accident or design. This year we found it to be no different.
In 2016, right in the middle of the festival we had the news of the Brexit referendum which gave it all a strange and surreal atmosphere. We recall watching Christine and the Queens on the Other Stage on the afternoon after the result and feeling embarrassed about the collective madness that had overtaken the nation.
In 2017, we had just had the ill-judged general election and despite the Tories winning it (just), Corbyn-mania swept across the site at Worthy Farm.
The Leader of the Opposition made an appearance at the Pyramid, was treated like a hero, countless festival goers were wearing Jeremy t-shirts and he was cheered to the skies. We were told to resist and that it was time for a change. There was a sense of optimism in the air. Now, two years down the line, we scratch our heads and wonder if that change has happened.
For 2019 however, the theme was explicit and determined in advance.
The festival had banned the use of single-use plastics, the Extinction Rebellion movement was gaining traction and more than ever, it was up to us. Love the farm and leave no trace etc.
Having a fair few Glastonbury’s under my belt, I was very sceptical about the latter.
Too many times I’ve seen festival goers discard cans and plates of uneaten food on the ground while standing right next to the countless bins that litter (excuse the pun) the fields. I’ve even seen truly ignorant arseholes drop waste at the feet of the unsung heroes of the festival, the litter picking crew, rather than putting it in a bin.
But somehow, 2019 was different.
Yes, there were still plates, food and cups thrown on the ground. There will always be people who think that it’s someone else’s problem rather than their own but unlike other years we weren’t crunching through a sea of waste at every stage. (And if you see the Daily Mail running their annual Glastonbury-litter-what-a-shocker photo, it’s one from three years ago not this year’s festival.)
The message about plastics is hitting the mark as well. We hardly saw any plastic bottles – they weren’t allowed on site and not many people seemed to have brought them.
Some of this change in behaviour is down to Glastonbury itself of course and some of it is down to a real folk-hero, the much-loved Sir David Attenborough.
“This great festival has gone plastic free” 💚
The biggest #Glastonbury2019 cheer went to Sir David Attenborough’s surprise Pyramid Stage appearance 👏
— BBC Radio 1 (@BBCR1) June 30, 2019
The 93-year old broadcaster, who appeals to all generations both young and old, gave an unannounced and passionate speech prior to Kylie’s performance on the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday afternoon. Let’s just hope that this is not a theme for one year only but something that marks a real sea-change.
Moving on from the themes, we should turn our attention to the specifics and how it panned out musically for us.
There is always so much to see and therefore so much to miss unfortunately. As much as we’d like, it is impossible to be in two or three places at the same time.
However we started off on the Friday morning on a high. We’ve already raved about Black Midi and in particular their recent Liverpool gig.
This time we caught then at the ungodly hour of eleven a.m. in the Williams Green tent and they really do warrant all the accolades hung upon them.
They blasted through a 45-minute set before noon to a packed tent. People were spilling outside to hear the astonishingly innovative sounds they were coming up with.
Even if you’ve caught their recent album, Schlangenheim, we’d urge you to see then live at the first opportunity you can. They are really that good.
Black Midi opening Glastonbury 2019. And ending it too. Incredible. pic.twitter.com/q1wwj7zLoY
— Will Hodgkinson (@Willjhodgkinson) June 28, 2019
Wandering over to West Holts with Black Midi in our heads we settled down to a bit of Acid Mothers Temple and their brand of warped Japanese psych rock. It was heartening to see that Glastonbury had put them on such a large stage and that they had drawn such a large crowd for an early afternoon set. So much for the festival playing it safe and concentrating on pop.
A quite lovely mix of motoric and heavy guitar work culminating in a stretched-out and wild Gong cover led us to know we’d made the right pick.
As we have said before, there’s a bit of jazz revival to say the least going on at the moment. Just one jazz act at Glastonbury would seem to be a bit of Mercury Prize tokenism but we were spoilt this year with the likes of Ezra Collective, Sons of Kemet, Kamasi Washington and The Comet is Coming to name but four of the most highly regarded names on the scene.
Some of this is undoubtedly due to the championing of these artists on BBC 6Music by the likes of Giles Peterson and Mary Anne Hobbs and a more wider acceptance that jazz is no longer something exclusive: it can cross boundaries so easily and Janelle Monae’s set on the Sunday evening was a prime example of influences working in all directions.
The Comet is Coming blasted out a true musical thunder storm under a blazingly hot Friday afternoon sky. It was more than jazz on a summer’s day. We may have been lazing around on the grass but their combination of jazz motifs, funk, soul, hip hop and sheer experimentalism bowled us over. Maybe this line up wasn’t as light as we’d feared.
Away from the main stages, Friday saw Bill Ryder-Jones take to the William’s Green stage playing to a largely Merseyside-sounding crowd.
New tracks taken from his recent (and it should be said: stunning) release Yawn were met with as much enthusiasm as older numbers, with Mither standing out as a particular highlight out of the lot.
The loud-mouthed murmurs of a certain portion of the crowd during the tendered solo performance of Satellites marred the moment slightly, but it was the heavier moments of the set that really shone anyway- a statement not always true with Bill Ryder-Jones – with him being such a master of soft prosey numbers.
In particular, the absolutely storming end to his standard Two to Birkenhead was stunning.
There’s just something about that outro; only this performance was deeper and angstier, more troubled, but so devilishly beautiful all the same.
By now we were, like many others, in search for a bit of shade and relief from the sun so wandered up to the Park Stage to catch a bit of SOAK.
We have to be honest at this point. A combination SOAK’s lovely and gently-strummed tunes and the heat sent us to sleep. A nap more than a sleep really, but with those soft lullabies running in the background it was nigh-on perfect. Something to explore in the future.
We were raised from our slumbers by the departure of the surprisingly large number of SOAK fans and the arrival of whole swathes of IDLES afficiandos.
There’s not much of a crossover in demographics between the two of them. There’s been a lot said in praise of IDLES and there were more than a few people proudly wearing IDLES t-shirts over the weekend.
However, for this writer, they were a bit of a disappointment. They went down pretty well- very well in fact- with a lot of jumping around and shouting but there doesn’t seem be too much new to them.
Like Shame, Sleaford Mods and more than a few others, it all has been done before in one way, shape or form. It is time for something new lads (and it is lad music undoubtedly). We need more than sub Sham 69 or UK Subs outrage. Things have moved on.
As we did to see singer/songwriter, Sharon Van Etten took the stage early evening in the John Peel tent.
Coming on to a tremendous noise, her first three songs from Remind Me Tomorrow battered the crowd before she reached back to earlier, quieter work.
The John Peel tent is one of handful with screens and they were used to superb effect. While the stage was drenched in reds and blues, the screens rendered the stage in black and white and presented Van Etten like something from the 1920s Metropolis movie.
The gentle Americana didn’t last long and soon SVE was scrambling around on the floor, grappling with dials and generating some amazing electronic noise.
Drawing on motherhood, Trump and the need for trying to stay positive in these difficult times, Van Etten‘s solo keyboard cover of Sinead O’Conner‘s Black Boys on Mopeds was captivating.
The breadth of musical styles, impeccable stagecraft and sheer bloody wonderful noise made Van Etten‘s set a true highlight of the festival.
As was Stormzy headking the Pyramid.
The biggest Grime artist in the UK fully deserved his headline slot and went to town with ballet dancers, a choir, Chris Martin and a Union Jack emblazoned stab vest. Four things you don’t expect to read in one sentence.
As a measure of how things can change so much in the space of a couple of years, we chatted to an unscientifically random sample of festival goers following Stormzy’s set and not a single one of them thought it was a letdown.
Without exception, the general consensus was that not only had Glastonbury got it spot on with their headlining choice but that Stormzy had played a blinder. Maybe this was another game changer.
Saturday soon sprung upon us with the warning that it was going to be the hottest day of the year. With our water flasks filled, tales of over 30 degree heat and (unfounded) rumours of water shortages on site we wandered down for a late breakfast.
As we sipped our Earl Grey and nibbled on our toast by the Park Stage we heard the tba 11.00 am act warming up. We then were more than pleasantly surprised to hear not some well-meaning but unheralded filler artist but the ever-welcome sun-filled sounds of Vampire Weekend.
We had been so preoccupied with our brew that we’d missed all the social media stuff and it was only be sheer chance that we were at the right place at the right time to see them wow a large crowd (obviously much more savvy than your writer) with a brilliant set of songs old and new.
— Annnnie ಠ_ಠ (@bythefalseazure) July 2, 2019
Mostly old as they played a request set, with songs choices shouted out by the audience. It wasn’t all the old expected favourites – they even included Fingerback and Giant – as well as a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere.
A great start to the day.
After catching up with Getintothis award winners and all round good people She Drew The Gun play a welcome return (and much busier) to the John Peel Tent following their Glastonbury debut in 2016 as Emerging Artist winners, we reflected on the fact that they have come so far in such a short space of time.
No longer a Liverpool band, they are simply just a band from Liverpool. A subtle but important difference. She Drew the Gun now have a couple of great albums to draw upon and an audience that has outgrown geographical boundaries, but it’s so good to hear that their passion and clarion calls for equality and justice have if anything become stronger, especially in a live setting. May they long continue in this vein.
The Peel Tent and the surrounding field had become packed for the arrival of Gerry Cinnamon but as soon as we heard him open with a cover of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline we made our excuses and left.
It may have been the heat which now was intense, but a general air of languidness seemed to spread over the site.
People were walking very slowly, elbowing their way into whatever bits of shade they could find. British people do not do well in hot weather although it was good to hear afterwards that only 22 people needed medical treatment for the effects of the heat.
Out of a population of 250,000 for the festival that’s not bad at all. Maybe the messages about drinking a lot of water and using sunscreen hit home.
Maybe we were feeling the heat too much because we were a bit underwhelmed by Ezra Collective’s set at the West Holts Stage. It seemed a bit too much like festival jazz by numbers unlike Sons of Kemet who played a stonker of a show up at the Park Stage – wildly heavy, experimental, free flowing and completely out of this world. A whole vista of possibilities.
Sandwiched between Sons of Kemet and Kurt Vile who performed an early-evening blissed-out set as the heat finally died down a notch, the Park Stage crowd were treated to a surprise set by Foals.
This lot have to be nailed on as headliners for 2020. They more than filled the Park Stage; Pyramid is a given.
It’s always a bit of a strange feeling, the Sunday morning at Glastonbury.
It’s like the end of the school holidays when you’re a child. Something you’ve looked forward to for ages is nearly over and you know it is. You have this urge to cram in as much as you can before it’s all back to normal.
Being able to cram in a lot at Glastonbury means rushing from stage to stage and over such a massive site, it’s never easy especially in the heat. But we did our best. And anyhow we’d rather dash around in the heat than the mud.
So on the Sunday we managed to see Hollie Cook (only because we were waiting for Jeff Goldblum to be honest), Palace, Miley Cyrus, Kylie, Vampire Weekend (again), Kamasi Washington, Janelle Monae and Christine and the Queens.
We were well and truly knackered.
Hollie Cook was ok-ish but did have a great band behind her playing sunny reggae and dub inflected tunes. Would it be churlish to suggest we’d have preferred to hear the set as instrumental versions of the songs? Probably.
Jeff Goldblum drew a massive crowd for a much time set of jazz classics at West Holts. Possibly the largest crowd at that stage all weekend. More than a curio, it’s clear that he loves his music and is surprisingly adept on the ivories. A lot of toe-tapping went on in the crowd and a genuine good time was had by all. We’re hoping that Jazzy Jeff will bring a while new (and younger) audience to the delights of the more traditional jazz oeuvre.
Palace turned out a tuneful selection of West Coast tunes: Whitney by way of Tottenham but perfectly pleasant for all that.
Miley was a revelation to many and Kylie did what Kylie does.
The Legends slot always fills the Pyramid. Guest slots were common this year, with Chris Martin for Stormzy, Johnny Marr and the Pet Shop Boys for The Killers and Miley’s Dad for, well Miley.
It was an unexpected surprise to see Kylie wheel out Nick Cave to perform Where the Wild Roses Grow (the first time she’d performed it live since 1995). Chris Martin also jumped back on stage to duet with her on Can’t Get You Out of My Head. The lad gets everywhere.
We also managed to cram in our highlight of the festival on the Sunday; Red Rum Club performing at the BBC Introducing tent. We pick our nine best artists below but suffice it to say that of everyone we saw, Red Rum Club left us with hope in our hearts for the power of music. It was a performance by a band on the cusp of something quite remarkable.
💥 GLASTOOOO 💥
A set we will never forget 🖤🖤🖤 pic.twitter.com/oALaIgIhEA
— Red Rum Club (@RedRumClub) June 30, 2019
Stormzy had used all the fireworks and The Killers shot all remaining confetti into the sky.
So as Robert Smith took the stage, all that remained to introduce The Cure were the thundering first notes of Plainsong. It was an entrance as noisy and awesome as any pyrotechnics.
Their set was rooted solidly by the massive sounds of Disintegration alongside their earlier 80s output. Songs that fitted the melancholy of a sunny festival ending for another year.
Highlights included Lovesong which managed to retain its original tender frailty in the vastness of the Worthy Farm fields and Shake Dog Shake which had all the urgency and power of a set opener.
After a break for Robert Smith to don his “pop head” they returned with a seven song encore of some of their biggest hits to round off the set and the festival.
While it was a perfect set for those of us who are a little older, there were a few complaints overheard that Love Cats didn’t make the cut.
But as we were always told, all good things come to an end and Glastonbury 2019 did with headline sets by Janelle Monae and Christine and the Queens at West Holts and the Other Stage respectively.
They both were our picks of the best at Primavera and their sets at Glastonbury 2019 were, from this writer’s perspective, equally quite remarkable.
There’s been a lot said about gender balance at Glastonbury (not least by Emily Eavis who has openly stated she has to fight to get female artists high up on the bill). This year was no exception, with all-male headliners each night at the Pyramid.
As we mentioned at the start of this review, Glastonbury do not always get things right. But with Janelle Monae and Christine headlining two of the main stages and wrapping up the whole thing, it’s clear that Emily Eavis is gradually winning the war. Here’s hoping the balance is redressed even more in the future.
Glastonbury 2019 is over.
But 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the festival and we simply can’t wait to see delights lay ahead of us next year.
See you in the fields next June.
Images by Getintotothis’ Kevin Parry
The nine best bands and artists of Glastonbury 2019
Black Midi: William’s Green, Friday
What a way to start the festival. Black Midi sounded like nothing I’ve heard for ages.
So much for Glastonbury playing it safe. We half strolled down to Williams Green on the Friday morning to find what we though would be a half-empty tent to be full.
That’s not always the case with this venue. We’ve seen Courtney Barnett play there after the Pyramid to an audience of a couple of hundred and Thurston Moore pulled enough punters into to make an eleven-a-side match bit not many more.
But Black Midi had the place rammed. There’s a clear buzz about them and rightly so. A set of nine tracks from their recent album had us transfixed.
They were like Spacemen 3 overdosed on Sunny Delight and merged with The Fall and Sunn O))) or Beefheart fused with Television or …words fail us really.
Black Midi took their album and mangled it beyond recognition. They opened with 953 and closed with bmbmbm. In between was a magical and fantastic blurring of music. They will be back.- Rick Leach
Vampire Weekend: Park Stage, Saturday
I first saw Vampire Weekend play the very first Glastonbury Festival I went to in 2010.
Back then they played the Pyramid on the Friday lunchtime and it seemed to herald an unbroken weekend of complete sunshine and perfect memories for the future.
And like 2010, they repeated the act in 2019. 2010, by the way, was the last Glastonbury when there was no rain at all.
They also played the Pyramid this year, on the Sunday and for a band that’s as undemonstrative, articulate and as intelligent as they are, it’s always a joy to see them win over a large crowd.
It must be something to do with the music. That mix of joy and happiness, twinned with slight sadness and regret and tunes as infectious as a common cold. It’s impossible not to tap your toes and dance along (even inside) when you hear Vampire Weekend.
They just make you smile.
And they made us smile even more when they turned up at the Park Stage on the Saturday to play a secret, unannounced and wholly relaxed set.
Even your writer was dancing a bit. That’s how good Vampire Weekend are. – Rick Leach
Fontaines DC: Williams Green, Saturday
Fontaines DC were everywhere at Glastonbury.
From the Peel Stage (and try to catch their performance on iPlayer if you can) to the tiny Rabbit Hole on Sunday night at 3am and probably more which we don’t know of, they put in a few shifts.
Not least at a heaving Williams Green in the blazing heat of the Saturday. We’d have been quite happy normally to hang around the outside of the tent, but like a moth to a flame we were drawn into the melee.
Sweat was dripping off the walls of the tent. Our eardrums were pounded and our senses were numbed by this incredible Irish band.
Their debut album has won many plaudits and rightly so. If anything they are the natural heirs to The Fall and that makes them more than worthy of our attention.
It’s not just us though. They were the buzz band of the festival- so many people said to us that ‘x or y were great but did you see Fontaines DC?’
For sure they’ll be back in 2020. And that’s one very good reason to try for a ticket. – Rick Leach
Sons of Kemet, Park Stage, Saturday
A year on from their Mercury-nominated third album Your Queen is a Reptile, Sons of Kemet brought their wonderfully warped jazzy brass numbers to Worthy Farm. Their set, filled with many of their My Queen Is… tracks, was mostly fast and frenzied – not stopping for the ridiculously hot conditions – and was met with a great response from a large crowd that had been helped by whispers of a Foals secret set to follow.
After six or so years of coming to Glastonbury, it was lovely to see improved engagement, popularity and general talk about the UK’s thriving nu-jazz scene – of which the festival also offered The Comet Is Coming and Ezra Collective. I just hope this carries on, and hopefully is only the beginning. – Matty Lear
Foals, Park Stage, Saturday
Glastonbury is now about as famous for its notorious secret sets as it is for its headliners. For example, there seems to be less talk of The Killers topping the bill this year than when they played a surprise set at the John Peel two years ago.
But it is increasingly hard to achieve a genuine degree of secrecy against a frighteningly ready community of social media detectives at hand to pick apart any whiff of or hint of a rumour.
Certainly, many figured out through whatever means that the TBA on the Saturday afternoon at the park stage was to be Foals. The crowd was immense – like too big.
Starting straight from the off with Mountain at My Gates, it was clear that the music wasn’t carrying particularly well to certain parts of the crowd towards the back and middle. The adjacent hill, home to the iconic Glastonbury lettering, was flooded with onlookers content to watch the crowd and the distant figure of pure showmanship that is Yannis Philippakis.
And the crowd was worth watching.
The hits kept coming, increasing with an incredible tightness and heaviness. The result of the breakdown in What Went Down was utter madness, whilst Inhaler and the much-beloved Two Steps Twice encouraged much of the same frenzied reaction from the crowd.
They were gigantic, colossal sounding – far too big and like a giant in a doll’s house. It’s about time now for Foals to headline Glastonbury. No excuses Eavis’ – 2020 – just do it, please. –Matty Lear
Kurt Vile and the Violaters: Park Stage, Saturday
The sun-soaked Saturday afternoon saw Philadelphian humble guitar hero Kurt Vile and his backing band The Violators bring his brand of 70’s style stoner-rock mixed with a definitively relaxed country nuance to the Park Stage.
Kicking off with the lead single Loading Zones from his newest album Bottle It In, Vile’s freewheeling aesthetic was instantly set into motion.
With his wavy classic-rock hair-do draped past his shoulders and tinkling phaser-heavy guitar lines, it would be easy to class him as merely a comfy throwback; a pleasant-enough souvenir of American stoner-rock from decades ago. Yet his delightfully laidback fret-noodling and crooning nasal-tinged vocals cast a fresher picture altogether.
Performing several of his most popular elongated jams such as Wakin on a Pretty Day, Pretty Pimpin and new favourite Bassackwards, Vile brought together the dazed, almost ambient guitar lines with wordy contemporary existential concerns. It was both thought-provoking and thoughtless at the same time, it was beautiful, and it was classic Kurt Vile. Balancing musical comfort with lyrical concern, but under the sun, comfort – thankfully – most definitely won out this time. – Matty Lear
Miley Cyrus, Pyramid, Sunday
Performing on the Sunday afternoon at the Pyramid, Miley Cyrus played to a mass of people of every demographic – helped a lot by the popularity of Kylie Minogue who played the set immediately before.
To be totally honest, I didn’t expect much – I didn’t watch Hannah Montana growing up, unlike the numerous late-teens with a vested interest, nor did I particular warm to her glitzy sound-the-summer 2013 album Bangerz – but my family and friends were all Pyramid-based.
Surprised is an understatement.
A flowing set of teen pop to more debauchery R’n’B tunes was interlaced with an impressive array of covers – notably Jolene (firing up fond memories of that 2014 Dolly Parton set) – and of which included heavier numbers such as Nine Inch Nails’ Head Like A Hole and Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters.
The highlight was Party In The U.S.A. merging into the omnipresent radio hit Old Town Road and with it, albeit lip-synced appearances from Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas. The highlight wasn’t so much the music or its merit here, but the excitement of the kids in the crowd, and that youthful excitement merged with nostalgia for many – a proper Glastonbury feeling. – Matty Lear
Kamasi Washington: West Holts Stage, Sunday
It was good to see so much new jazz at the festival and clearly the one of the vanguards of this movement is Kamasi Washington.
He played the same stage in 2017 but this year he was graced with the sub-headliner rather than a mid-afternoon slot and with a new album behind him since then, the expansive Heaven and Earth, he had the chance to open his wings and really fly.
This Sunday he did, channeling the spirit of John Coltrane over the fields of Somerset with a selection of tunes that were breathtaking. Every time you thought he couldn’t take it higher, he did and ending his set with the righteous indignation of Fists of Fury from Heaven and Earth, Kamasi truly showed us the power of jazz. Incredible. – Rick Leach
Red Rum Club: BBC Introducing Tent, Sunday
Our true highlight of the festival.
In the small BBC Introducing tent we were privileged to see Red Rum Club run through a mere six songs to one of the most enthusiastic audiences all weekend.
They opened with Angeline from their great 2019 debut album Matador (and if you haven’t heard it yet, why not?) and led us through a barnstorming performance of Calexico, TV Said So, Matador, Honey and wrapped it up with Would You Rather Be Lonely?
We’ve championed then for a while for Getintothis but this performance really hit home with your writer.
There’s a passion and a power with Red Rum Club missing from so many other bands. Other bands and artists you may like, you may admire, you may see what they’re all about but Red Rum Club have that indefinable something.
They had everyone- and I mean everyone in the tent- singing along, punching the air and jumping around. No, that’s not quite right; everybody was shouting along.
And there was more to it than just that. There was a shared communication between the band and audience – a vital connection.
It felt as if we were all in it together somehow. No more so than in Would You Rather Be Lonely where flares were let off in the crowd and a mass singing of the chorus promoted them back on stage over and over again at the end of the set.
I’m far from embarrassed to admit this but I ended up with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I watched Red Rum Club that Sunday afternoon. It was a performance that will live long in my memory.
In Fran Doran, Red Rum Club have a front man and lead singer who is truly captivating and alongside a band who are as tight as fuck, they can’t go wrong.
To paraphrase Jon Landau writing about Bruce Springsteen, I have seen the future of rock and roll and their name is Red Rum Club. – Rick Leach