Tonight is the first night of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. Last night saw the competitions also rans put on a show for locals, so a quick overview of those acts follows.
These included the costumed Yearner Babies
who put on a high energy show that's just the sort of act you want to see at festivals. They were followed by the folky Americana of the rather excellent Owl In The Sun
, Bert Miller and The Animal Folk
split the crowd like marmite, and I was one that just didn't get this novelty act. But don't let that put you off they're crazy antics have to be seen to make your own mind up and are certainly something different.
Bebe And Paolo
would make a good late night festival act who shift from blues through to ska and end with a crowd pleasing kazoo fuelled ska medley. The Cedar
are the first proper indie styled act of the night with emotive squeeze box and fiddles it works well. London drum 'n' bass outfit Brascoe
close the show, and are the only dance act over the whole weekend. All in all the night was a good showcase of festival pleasing acts.
The first night proper begins with The Phantom Light
that bring their Cardiff based ethereal indie to the stage, it's relaxing and ambient and holds my attention without delivering anything that stands out. Despite that I suspect they'd suit a slot on a line-up festooned with indie landfill as this lot at least provide something a little more emotive and restrained.
are a more interesting proprosition, I'd guess they're one of the youngest acts in the competition and a riding their nerves well. They're another act who are gentle on the ears and mix guitars, violin and synth mixing their acoustic and electronic styles well, and the lack of bass isn't noticeable, and in 'At Home' the keyboard work sparkles. Their newer material shows their potential with 'The Valediction' which is a proficiant outing and was released this week.
Next up the Leeds based Ellen And The Escapades
an alt country folk outfit with a captivating stage presence. Their music is uplifting and rich, Ellen's voice reminds me of Emmylou Harris and at time Dolly Parton and she sure can carry a tune. The Escapades provide a wonderful catchy melodies, and very well constructed harmonies, they are a joy to listen to, and the best of the night so far. Definitely an act that many will enjoy on a balmy evening a pint of cider in hand.
Next up is a break and we get a badly filmed video of entrant Dizraeli
who had to pull out to travel overland to a gig in Cairo, the man doesn't fly anywhere. The video message is quirkily film as is his song for us and it leave me wanting to hear more from him and his Small Gods.
The competition resumes with a thick dirty bassline stomping all over the stage, the wonderfully abusive notes are crunchingly delivered by the diminuative Nicole Bettencourt Coelho who unleashes a wonderfully dark underpinning that Patricia Morrison would be proud of. The vocal style is a bit art school meets Hazel O'Connor from Bunny Come
, a band of South Africans fronted by an Australian. 'TV Dinners' has a rock edge and displays some decent drum fills, and bleeps! This band love the occasional random bleep, as well as some fast samples of other people's beeps. It's PJ Harvey meets Gary Numan with Daft Punk and Kraftwerk thrown into the mix. The band are well paced and able to switch genres well, and although the lead singer is a bit art school annoying she's sure to grow out of it. I really liked this lot and despite the quality of the last act they were my dark horse to win.
Next up more acoustic driven folk music from Family Machine
delivered with a black underside with songs like 'Flowers By The Roadside and the line "It's not the place I loved, it's just the place I died." The songs are well wrought, and the band are brave enough to deliver a one word song, called "Do". The overall surf rock sound reminds me a lot of The Thrills, which is no bad thing. The final song 'Got It Made' has a hooky feel good vibe, and it sticks in my head. This lot would be a great stge opening act, I can see their infectious groove setting up a sunny day nicely.
Closing the show is My Luminaries
a band that's been on the block a while, and have already won a slot at the festival, and sure enough they show their proficiency in delivering a well worked set that's full of depth. Personally I think they're above the emerging tag and in their black shirts the band command the stage and their short set incredibly well. They're very able with embellished tunes and complex layers, achieving a dizzying degree of harmony reminiscent of U2. This band is sure to be a darling of the NME sooner or later but there's nothing here that truly raises them above the current crop of indie favourites, although they could easily sit in amongst them. Whilst they're clearly the most experienced musicians of the night, they haven't been the best band.
And so the first night draws to a close, festival organiser Michael Eavis thanks the bands, and looks as though he's found a winner. I wonder if the fact the ETC has turned up so many alt-folk bands means he and his fellow judges will go with something new. I rather supect that they won't.
review by: Scott Williams
photos by: Karen Williams
latest on this festival