image by whispermaze
Modestep @ the John Peel Stage
Over the three days of travels, taking in all that Glastonbury had to offer; the adventure started on Friday night, first night, and if energy was a characteristic the best performance was based on, Modestep was a clear winner, and in no way is this the opinion of a fan, or somebody who fleetingly heard about Modestep beforehand, in the end it was a remarkable performance that had the novice fan dancing with a sense of freeness rarely felt escaped before. Modestep are a dubstep and rock band from London that formed in 2010, their debut album Evolution Theory was released February 2013, Modestep's second album, London Road, was released on 25 May 2015, and that’s where the necessaries cease to matter, more so the energy with which they performed their set, incorporating various musical styles and sounds such as dubstep and drum & bass, hard rock and Josh Friend’s vocals; the energy they oozed, and shared with the ecstatic crowd was an experience of sheer release, and whatever the liberation might’ve been their music allowing fans to transcend such a feeling. And the pinnacle being their performance of Show Me A Sign, their fourth single from way back in 2012, a performance that took the soul there, there being a place of joy encouraged by the sounds of hard rock enthused with dubstep, lightly dusted with simmering vocals. And their music had no inhabitations, brutally addictive it was free, it was electric, it was in every way plausible to a novice a musical journey memory will remember with a tone of fondness still ringing, and rather wait to leave the best till last, Modestep happened on a Friday night; the first night.
Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world; the largest festival of its kind taking place within 900 acres in the Vale of Avalon, and for the historians, amateur or otherwise; the Vale of Avalon is an area suffused in imagery, mythology and holy behaviours dating back hundreds of years, and to any Southern Englander, born, bred and marinated within the confines of ‘The Big Smoke’, camping for three days, in the Vale without the irritations of cost too much, what grabs the attention from the moment you arrive at the festival is just how immense the site is, as far as both eyes can see – more than a mile and a half across, with a perimeter of about eight and a half miles, and after coming to terms with the weight of my travel bag, camera kit, laptop and I pad, tent, umbrellas, shoes and chair, a weight my muscles screamed profanity at, after setting up the tent on the hospitality campsite, hospitality the loosely held term lacking embrace, who knew there would be private awakenings and not so sequestered epiphanies, who knew there would be moments that notion just can’t believe, and people doing the strangest things in public. As a member of the official Press Team, and a connoisseur of expression, in its most creative form, three days would be spent taking in the atmosphere, taking in the fact that Glastonbury is like lots of different festivals converging on the same countryside, each area of the Festival having its own character, its own loyal fans, areas such as the Pyramid Stage, the Other Stage, Shangri-La through to Babylon Uprising, areas to vast to travel and see all, and once the stone in my boot migrated to the point of unbearable pressure, with each step, with the enormity of the festival one appreciated quantity is what you count, and quality is what I counted on.
Gregory Porter @ the West Holts Stage
image by whispermaze
Gregory Porter is a powerful baritone who writes his own songs, his music coming from the roots of 70s/80s African-American jazz tradition, this Brooklyn-based singer with the rich baritone and the ever-present Kangol hat is in its revered essence reviving old-school musical values. Soulful, powerful, embracing and easy, just some of the descriptions memory best serves Mr Porter’s set on the West Holt Stage. With the rich tone and tantalising rule his interpretations drifted effortlessly between jazz and soul, evoking a love for some of that ‘ol skool’ love, a performance of which reminded affection how it felt about ‘good music’, soul music nourishing an emotion in turn feeding a compassion for all things humane. And seriously, his music resonated such a feeling, such a view of things resonated with the aid of his feeling performance, performing tracks such as Musical Genocide, Disclosure, Liquid Spirit and the lovely Hey Laura, his love for his music; the music and all those who still appreciated soul music, motivated a sing along vocals shamelessly sung aloud to, in essence; the very essence of Gregory Porter’s set evoking the notion of doing nothing is hard, especially when one never knows when they’re done; the calibre of the man and his performance able to woo sentiment to think of such things at a festival.
Then we ventured on to see Akala perform at the Left Fields area of the festival, and judging by the characteristic, and morality of his musical tenure the Left Field fitted his persona oh so perfectly. Akala has become, through the process of his evolving persona, an intellectual with a hip-hop voice, more so performing a narrative representing a side of intellectual black culture that is rarely acknowledged, if ever. Kingslee James Daley, better known by the stage name Akala, is a rapper, poet, and journalist, he was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards, choosing the stage name Akala because it is a Buddhist term for "Immovable", ultimately, Alaka being an artist, of sorts who delves into the complex web of what it means to be black and British, and his performance grasping at the roots of hip hop uprooting a philosophical, and emotional set, and the beauty of Akala’s art is its ability to be enjoyed by the hundreds of fans who moved to his rhythm, repeated his words and synced his chorus, and waved their arms in admiration. And even more poignant was the interest of the audience, in what Akala had to say, an artist using intellect and music to deliver his brand of music and expression, an audience who were clearly enlightened and informed, one of Glastonbury’s striking moments of the Left Field seemingly appealing to people of that very same sway.
Akala @ the Left Fields
Ellie Rose @ the BBC Introduction Stage
Never did have the experience of hearing Ellie Rose’s music before, and the BBC Introduction Stage finding undiscovered artists and featuring them on centre stage went some way to addressing the talented unheard of. Ellie Rose was instinctively a breath of fresh air, and not because the air around the festival seemed to smell as if it was marinated in compost and manure, no; the fresh air alluded to can only be described as a voice still retaining a innocence, alas a singing voice that is sadly rendered indifferent over time with regards to other artists come and gone. Ellie’s voice is poetic, and so much so it’s a voice that allows you to see the world through the view of those who can see what many can't, that’s right, a voice able to transcend emotion, and within the musical world it’s a talent very rare, and very beautiful, and yes there’s a grittiness about her voice of which the tone can take on a husky appeal, and yes she strums the guitar with a grace male admirers tend to wish they could do themselves, in the end a rare gem unearthed at the BBC Introduction stage, and Whispermaze is adamant such a gem will shine, and shine and catch many attentions.
Aside from the highlights, needless to say there was many other highpoints and focusses, such as the everlasting George Clinton’s Mothership/Todd Teje, and Florence, oh we love us some Florence and the Machine, and the likes of Pharrell, Lionel Ritchie, FKA Twigs, through to the Hari Krishna tent providing a seem less sense of rhythm on drums, and the all the in-betweens like the mud, the litter, the fantastic variety of foods on offer, the city folk disdain at farm smell and the merry sways of lost people lost of all sense of direction, a long time ago now, Glastonbury reminded you of the vastness at our musical disposals, ‘we’ the people, not to mention the essential expression of the word, emotion and bottom line way of life; hence Glastonbury’s appeal as the largest, and most diverse music and performing arts festival in the world, and because taste, according to such a palette is not about quantity, but quality, Glastonbury retaining its tile as the most enjoyable festival today, evident over the three day period that a novice such as myself will undoubtedly recommend the experience once, being one time is all one will probably need
image by whispermaze
by Jahvin Morgan