Thursday, 19 June 2008

Ten Artists Not To Miss At Glastonbury: Volumes 1 & 2

In less than seven days I will be on my way to Glastonbury 2008, hopefully having worked out how to fit my new pop-up tent back in its case (I tested out the other day and now I can't put it down). One week from today I'll be strolling around the back streets of the festival looking for whatever Thursday night music I can - probably Make Model at the Queen's Head... Until then, however, I must tide my time with words and websites. Enjoy my daily countdown of the top ten bands to see at Glastonbury this year...

1. Elbow
I don't know if you heard, but last year Glastonbury was a bit soggy. The wettest ever, as it happens. So whilst I was able to keep the Friday and the Saturday about the music, my fellow-festivaler and I managed to see only four bands on the Sunday. It was a pretty crap day - I had a six-person tent on my back all day, leaving strap-marks for a week (men should never have strap-marks, people!), and the shambolic mess that was the coach park left us tired and grumpy. This Glastonbury, I've made every effort to make Sunday lovely. I don't leave til Monday, and I've decided it won't rain. The key thing, though, is Elbow's set on the wonderful Queen's Head stage. Even if I only see them all day long, it'll be enough. Every one of the three previous live encounters I've had with the band have left me breathless, like the first time you see the Eiffel Tower, or that time your hairdresser cut off a chunk of your ear by accident. And, if I do miss the Sunday set, I will have almost certainly seen them the Saturday too!
See them: Saturday on The Other Stage, Sunday at the Queen's Head.

2. Stephen Fretwell
Keeping on a similar theme, this year also sees songwriting mastermind Stephen Fretwell grace the Queen's Head (fast becoming my essential stage for Glasto '08). I was fortunate enough to meet and interview Fretwell last year, and whilst on his tour bus discussing his friendship with the aforementioned Elbow he proudly displayed their bassist, Pete, having a nap in the bunk next to my chair.

Other than Elbow connections, though, Fretwell still maintains a formidble 'pros' list to outweigh any cons. His songs are sparse but lyrically lush, his voice the Scunthorpe musician's equivalent of James Stewart or Casey Affleck, and his looks hovering between hobo and Hollywood, like a less ginger Glen Hansard. Beautiful.
See him: Saturday at the Queen's Head

mp3: 'May You Never' by Elbow
mp3: 'New York' by Stephen Fretwell

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