Don't Forget Your Wellies: Glastonbury 2008
Martina Topley-Bird woke me up this morning. The one-time Tricky muse has just released her second solo album, The Blue God, which was produced by Danger Mouse. I had no idea she was still making music, but I'm glad she is. Flanked by a back-up band dressed as ninjas, Martina, in a poofy red dress and braided blonde up-do, looked like a striking prom queen. Her sound could be described as surf rock mixed with elements of country and occasional hip hop beats. It sounds a lot like the Rosebuds. She cracked her mic cord like a whip and shimmied her way into my heart.
Yeasayer brought their "Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel" to the John Peel stage. One of several recent bands to infuse their sound with African folk polyrhythms and unconventional tribal melodies, Yeasayer's earnest set broke up the snide dance-punk that is still somehow dominating this festival. When Chris Keating sings, "I can't sleep when I think about the times we're living in," he recalls the existential dread and herky-jerky stage presence of David Byrne. I was hypnotized by the intricate bass work of Ira Wolf Tuton. Musically, this set was the highlight of the weekend. I can think of few other new bands that have developed such a fascinating sound. They aren't nearly as immediately accessible as Vampire Weekend, as far as Brooklyn bands jacking the West African sound go, but their winding, writhing songs ultimately possess much more depth.
My Morning Jacket
The organizers did a great job pulling together a diverse group of acts in terms of style and popularity. I commend their willingness to include a wider, diverse range of sounds this year, despite all the pushback from the press and Noel Gallagher. If you are willing to put up with almost certain rain and the scuzzy living conditions that come with not showering for three days, Glastonbury is really a must-do event. There is never a lack of things to do or see, and if you get tired of music a wealth of alternative cultural experiences are a short walk away. Just don't forget your wellies.