Photo: Shirlaine Forrest
Day 3 of Glastonbury 2011 began at 11 on the Oxylens stage as Brighton quartet Mirrors were all skinny suites and straight ties as they took to the stage. A partially populated tented was treated an array of New Order/ OMD inspired tracks from the band’s debut album Lights and Offerings. Having previously supported Delphic the comparisons with their electronica contemporaries are clear, although it remains unclear as to whether Mirrors, on the basis of this sparsely attended performance will command the same level of media attention and success, proving that there is no justice.
Esben and the Witch proved a curious concept as they took to the same stage less than half an hour after Mirrors had departed. On one hand it was clear to see that the three piece were trying their best to be experimental (no drummer, swapping bass playing responsibilities, innovative use of effects pedals) but all that appeared to reach the audience was one indistinguishable, melody less drone after another. Perhaps this is unfair; the sound setup at Oxylens didn’t necessarily lend itself to guitar based music, however there was without doubt a feeling of disenchantment following their performance.
Laura Marling’s career, like her songwriting, goes from strength to strength. Her performance on the Pyramid stage proved further that 21 year old is one of the few genuine crossover talents to emerge from the nu-folk scene that emerged from London three years ago. Marling’s song and stage craft were evident in abundance, along with her backing she worked through her latest album I Speak Because I Can (Hope In the Air and Blackberry Stone) as well as a selection from her debut Alas I Cannot Swim including a breathtaking Ghosts. Marling stated how she’s been looking forward for this kind of moment all of her life and she can rest safe in the knowledge that she couldn’t have played it any cooler.
Paul Simon played material from his latest album So Beautiful or So What was he took to the Pyramid Stage at 1630. With the newer tunes perhaps not getting the rapturous reception they deserve quite yet (due to the fact they’ve only be available on is latest record for a few weeks) Simon was at one stage in danger of losing the audience’s interest in the baking heat. It was then he pulled out the ace from up his sleeve; unsurprisingly the biggest cheers were reserved for material off Graceland. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes was a genuinely magical moment as was Gumboots and the encore of You Can Call Me Al which sent the on looking masses into ecstasy.
It’s hard to imagine another festival where an artist as revered as Paul Simon could be followed one such as divisive Plan B, but that’s simultaneously the most brilliant and frustrating thing about Glastonbury. Ben Drew took the stage in three piece suit and explained how 11 years ago he’s been stood where we were, but now look at him. Playing material from his break through record The Defamation of Strickland Banks Drew delighted the crowd although it remains unlikely that his performance will have one him any new fans.
A quick dash over to the Other Stage for Eels ensured Gigwise was witness to one of the finest performances of the weekend from Mark Everett and his band of bearded merry men. With riffs that Josh Homme would have been proud off the band (including a two man brass section- both with beards naturally) worked through a career-spanning set. Older numbers such as Novocaine for the Soul worked well in juxtaposition to more recent ones including a suite from 2009 El Hombre Lobo (including the Bowie-esque Prizefighter). A humorous band introduction was also thrown in for good measure (“Let me introduce you to our drummer... I used to be a drummer before I was a musician”) as Everett proved that despite being at large for a while now, he is nonetheless as performer at the top of his game.
What is there left to be said about Beyonce’s performance on the Pyramid stage of Sunday night that’s not already been said? No, a headliner of her ilk may not be everybody’s taste, no she didn’t bring Jay-Z on for Crazy in Love, but she certainly put on a show, and yes she won us all over. Arriving 15 minutes late on stage (just in case the anticipation levels weren’t at fever pitch already) she opened with Crazy in Love followed by All the Single Ladies. What followed was a pop/r’n’b masterclass which lasted for well over an hour. There were covers (The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Kings of Leon Sex on Fire), Destiny’s Child numbers (Survivor, Bootylicious) and fireworks as Beyonce told us “you are all witnessing my dreams”. The finale of Halo brought down the curtain on another epic, unforgettable, inimitable weekend at Worthy Farm.
After the recent death of their bassist Gerard Smith, TV On The Radio made a triumphant return on the Sunday afternoon. As the sun blazed, the band proved to be one of the gems of the day with tracks 'Young Liars', 'The Wrong Way' and 'Will Do'.
Up against Beyonce's headline slot might rattle most men but not Mike Skinner. The Streets my have had Beyonce and Queens Of The Stone Age to compete with but packing out the John Peel tent they pulled it out of the bag. As their last ever Glastonbury performance The Streets gave it all with tracks 'Don't Mug Yourself', 'Dry Your Eyes' and 'Blinded By The Lights'. The mud have have made it near to impossible to move but egged on by Skinner the audience seemed to have found that last spurt of energy from the weekend. Moved by the warm reaction The Streets ended their set with 'Fit But You Know It' which saw Skinner jump into the ecstatic crowd.
Glastonbury Festival 2011 - Photos From Day Three