OK, so it’s time for a little look back at after-dark Glastonbury 2019 as I shifted the old bones through various late-night areas.
Thursday always is a day for catching up with old mates and clocking the changes round and about. Anything on tends to be way too busy, so I generally just ignore it all and have a few beers. I did manage to catch Giant Swan in The Spike, a very energetic and enthusiastic set of industrial noise, at least it was once they’d managed to work out how to get all the leads connected in what is basically a treehouse. Bonus points for the mum of one of the boys being right down the front giving it large also. I then nipped across to Avalon Cafe to catch Banco-de-Gaia who played at my first and is usually around somewhere. It was a somewhat measly crowd at the start, but we’d swelled in numbers by end with folks of a certain age trying to imagine it was ’95 and that people were swinging from the tent poles like the good old days.
Friday began with a bit more reminiscing. Hidden away in the market areas, possibly on the site of the awful old Radio 1 Essential Mix stage, is Babylon Uprising, a little tent generally ignored by the passers-by. An hour of old-school jungle to an audience of around 30 from Mark Archer meant I knew most of the tunes. From there it was over to Pangea for CC & JJ. Now, first night and all that, but it was, erm, okay. Looked good from a distance. Looked good from underneath when it was snowing. Sound was good but not great. Atmosphere was fine but not great. It was busy but not rammed, with again the tourists on the edge and the more serious in the middle. I was looking forward to C de W but by now had been found by the most spangled of one my flock of spangled sheep. This meant I had to go into full-on shepherd mode and not give it my full attention. It was also not helped by the bellends group near me who were all wearing Charlotte masks and insisted on trying to get her attention, for what seemed like the entire set. General grumpiness and probably a bit of heat exhaustion from the day meant I knocked it on the head after that.
Saturday was time for serious business starting with Chemicals front and centre and then into the SEC. Bicep first up in The Gas Tower which was rammed to begin with, but it was a bit under-whelming at the start so that thinned the numbers to acceptable levels and the last half an hour rocked a bit better. Then it was is generally considered to be the set of the weekend with Haai at Genosys. Others will pick out tunes and describe it better than me, but safe to say that 2 hours whizzed by and Teneil herself seemed to be loving it, which always is a plus for me – she needs to cut down on the fags though! Genosys itself has also benefitted from its re-location and has a lovely enclosed feeling to go with its top-notch sounds. From there it was a bit of a queue into The Temple, but it moved faster than I’d expected, so I was unfortunate enough to catch the end of Patrick Topping which seemed to be just about himself. Monika Kruse played in the sunrise with a sublime set of proper, clean Germanic techno. And, after apparently being in his orbit on more that one occasion, I finally caught up with Benny, who was still bouncing better than all of us at 5:30.
Sunday already and joyed by Janelle, I raced back to the spiritual home of Genosys for Josh Wink along with Benny who had finally found a couple more off here to bounce along with (@GWR & @Binfish (top t-shirt work, BF)) amongst others, no doubt. From there it was the onslaught that was Karenn at Iicon. (Ooft, but I do like the occasional bit of light in amongst the dark!) It’s a helluva sound-system and stage, but possibly a bit too big (?) and it started to feel a bit cold and windswept in the wee-small hours, but that may have just been me! Passed through Felix on Genosys but was drawn to finishing at Slipmatt and Mark Archer in the Gas Tower – tunes I knew again! And lots of smiling faces.
And then what do you know, it’s over for another year.
Overall, another great showing from those putting on the night-time entertainment and the line-ups themselves just get better. We can all bemoan the loss of Lost Vagueness or the tunnels and its edginess, but shear weight of numbers put paid to that. Light and sound are mostly all top-notch and roll on next year (hopefully).
Cheers and thanks for the indulgence.