Photo: Jess Mason

Festival Review: Glastonbury 2015

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With all the drama that surrounded the headliners of this year’s Glastonbury (namely that Kanye petition, and the last-minute Friday night re-jigging due to Dave Grohl’s broken leg), it might have been easy to ignore those lower down the lineup. Turns out that’s not so true – here are three of the best who are bound to make it big before undoubtedly returning to Worthy Farm in 2016 to show the rest how it’s done.

Wolf Alice

This year’s particular success story was that of the genre-defying Wolf Alice, who showed that they are able to conquer anything they put their minds to. With their debut album, My Love Is Cool, released mere days before Glastonbury’s gates opened, they appeared to be limiting their chance at crowd sing-a-longs. And yet, following Drenge in what became the sweatiest pair of secret sets on the tiny William’s Green stage (a lineup set to continue on Wolf Alice’s headline tour this autumn), somewhat of a party sprung into life during their 45-minute Thursday evening set – mosh pits and crowd surfers abounded, and that wasn’t just from the band themselves.

Wolf Alice’s scheduled set, though, took place less than 24 hours later on the Park Stage. And it was incredible. Launching into ‘Fluffy’ – somewhat of an oldie for the band – you could tell that they could not have been happier to be back at the festival where, just one year earlier, they had played the John Peel stage looking just short of petrified.

However, a programme mix-up meant that the crowd were somewhat subdued until the heavens opened halfway through the set, as if they were releasing the pent-up energy of the storm around them. It was the least miserable anyone had ever been in torrential rain, with ‘Lisbon’ providing the perfect soundtrack to thrash around in the deluge.

‘Bros’ led to singer Ellie Rowsell declaring that “everyone is friends in this field”, whilst she crowd surfed for the first time in her life during ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, telling members of the crowd she loved them. A magical moment, which is exactly what Glastonbury is made for. Two days later, their debut album was right at the top of the charts – second only to Friday’s incredible headliner Florence and the Machine, and no doubt at least in part due to the broadcasting of their enthralling Park Stage set.

Slaves

Punk duo Slaves also had an incredible weekend at Glastonbury this year, making a whole load of noise for just two men, a guitar, and a drum kit. Packing out the John Peel tent relatively early on a Saturday afternoon is no mean feat, and yet Isaac and Laurie did so with ease: smashing through hit after hit, and clearly having the time of their lives. Creeping onstage with an acoustic take on their debut album’s namesake, ‘Are You Satisfied?’, tension bubbled under the surface of the crowd; unleashed during ‘Ninety Nine’, and never fading.

Crowd favourites ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ and ‘Cheer Up London’ meant the band was almost inaudible over the cries of their fans. ‘Feed the Mantaray’ meanwhile, led to that infamous mantaray leaping into the crowd, surfing above their heads, and, somewhat curiously, stealing a ukulele. It was a set full of energy and sweat, with Isaac and Laurie finishing by triumphantly standing above the crowd’s heads, showing how excited their fans are to support this refreshing contrast to anything else on the radio right now.

That same night at the Hell Stage in Glastonbury’s notorious Shangri-La (the “Naughty Corner”), an equally wild crowd turned up for Slaves – far larger than you’d expect at such a small stage just before 1am. No energy, excitement, or enthusiasm had been lost since their conquering of the John Peel stage – in fact, it may even have been wilder.

And again, with a secret set at the BBC Introducing stage on Sunday afternoon, a different kind of crowd to those previous shows: older, calmer, and yet still captivated by the pair from Kent. It seems Slaves cannot be fazed by three intense performances in the space of 24 hours – and their fans most certainly can’t either.

Hinds

Hinds have been somewhat overlooked by other festival organisers this year – at The Strokes’ Barclaycard BST one-day festival, they’d been assigned a set on what could only be described as a bandstand, and a small one at that. Yet, they entirely proved their own as the first Spanish band to play on one of Glastonbury’s main stages – an accomplishment of which they are truly worthy. With bouncy guitar riffs and cries of “gabba gabba hey!” during ‘Davey Crockett’, these four girls from Madrid have more charisma between them than the entire Pyramid Stage lineup combined.

‘Castigadas En El Granero’ and ‘Trippy Gum’ see the girls dancing and laughing with each other, and I’m not entirely sure there’s any band that looks happier on stage than Hinds do. Ending their set with what must have been the longest round of applause of the weekend, the band welled up in awe, showing the true power Glastonbury has over bands and punters alike. With their debut album out later this year, it’s most certainly not one to miss – no matter how hungover you may be from the day before, you just can’t help but dance to the summery guitar vibes these girls have flowing through their veins.

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