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Review: Glastonbury 2014 – Saturday

Lisa Ward


Saturday begins with an unknown artist, Hero Fisher, who quickly becomes one of the top acts of the day. A beefier version of Lissie whilst an odd fit for the acoustic stage  the ’emerging talent’ finalist confirms herself worthy of a place on the Glastonbury line up, not least for the track No Ceremony which is both inventive and engaging. At times it shifts to a more stripped back beatnik poetry style, but for the most part it’s guitar lead, punk music which channels the energy of Patti Smith and seems to kick off from where Oxford based Little Fish hung up their hats. In short, the emerging talent title is well earned, and the band confirm themselves as one to watch over the next 12 months.

More established folkie Aoife O’Donovan pulls the Acoustic Stage back to it’s routes, and moves from the sultry Red & White and Blue & Gold  to the bluegrass Lovesick Redstick Blues with ease. Professing she has the best slot because it’s early enough for people to yet have reached  point of hunger, or drunkenness, she’s able to leave the crowd in a complete hush. For me it’s Fire Engine which is the stand out moment of the set, with enough hunger in the lyrics to counter balance the more up-tempo melody. Though today she’s without the backing of her band, she’s still able to hold her own, proving that whilst the other might add the extra sparkle to the songs, Aoife more than shines on her own.

With today coinciding with the anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Billy Bragg’s radical round up is (in part) turned over to songs penned as part of the 14-18 Now project. With Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, O’Hooley & Tidow and Mat Skinner joining the line up, the artists take it in turn to offer up their tribute the the centenary. Whilst O’Hooley & Tidow take a look at women’s roles in the war offering up a tribute to morris dancer Daisy Daking, it’s Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s Invisible Lines which is the stand out performance of the round. Elsewhere O’Hooley & Tidow deliver a moving tribute to Tony Benn with Like Horses and Sam Duckworth announces it’s one of his final outings under the Get Cape moniker making his rendition of Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager (Part 1) even more poignant. For Bragg it’s his rendition of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come in honour of the passing of Bobby Womack, whilst Mat Skinner’s interpretation of WW1 poet James Lyons in The Scarecrow is simply haunting.

Courtney Barnett on the other hand brings her does of Aussie pop-rock to the John Peel stage. Her blend of understated half sung, half spoken, odes are failed at times by the somewhat dubious mixing of the guitars and the sound of the rain lashing down on the tent, but she still manages to win over the crowd. The likes of Avant Gardener still win over the crowd and confirm why she’s one of the most talked about artists of 2014. Elsewhere newer song Pedestal proves her sound has staying power and though a good majority of the crowd seem to have entered the stage to avoid the downpour, by the end of the set she seems to have won over what feels like a slightly demanding crowd.

Back on the acoustic stage Kacey Musgraves brings a dose of her sunny country music to the Pilton Fields, working her way through the best part of Same Trailer Different Park. With Silver Lining, Stupid and Merry Go Round all getting and airing and a rapturous response to Follow Your Arrow it’s clear that Kacey has the staying power to become a mainstream cross over artist. Though her cover of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is probably the low point of the set, it’s a minor blip in an otherwise faultless performance, which see’s the crowd (rightly) hanging on Kacey’s every note by the end of the set.

Meanwhile the reunion of Paul Heaton & Jackie Abbott rightly feels like a greatest hits show. Whilst other members of the band might have reformed under The South title, it becomes clear that it’s these two which made the whole thing beautiful. With Rotterdam, Old Red Eyes is Back and The Housemartins Caravan of Love all thrown into the set, their performance feels like a jubilant celebration of the bands history, with even the security singing along before the show is done. With a beautiful version of Tom Jans’ Loving Arms and new songs like Moulding of a Fool sounding every bit as vibrant as the earlier songs it’s clear that their hiatus hasn’t stopped the duo creating timeless songs able to appeal to old and young alike.