Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Glastonbury: Pilton, Somerset 26 - 30 June 2013

Bobby Womack: Glastonbury
Bobby Womack: Glastonbury Bobby Womack: Glastonbury Alice Russell: Glastonbury Nile Rodgers: Glastonbury Lianne La Havas: Glastonbury Lianne La Havas: Glastonbury Lianne La Havas: Glastonbury Michael Kinawuka: Glastonbury Michael Kinawuka: Glastonbury Laura Mvula: Glastonbury Laura Mvula: Glastonbury Public enemy: Glastonbury Public enemy: Glastonbury Public enemy: Glastonbury Public enemy: Glastonbury Damon Albarn: Glastonbury Troy Miller: Glastonbury Glastonbury Glastonbury Billy Brag & Ranking Roger: Glastonbury Glastonbury Glastonbury Glastonbury Glastonbury

Let's face it, Glasto really needs no introduction. With nearly 180,000 people on site including performers, crew and audience, it’s a humongous 5 day party. With gates opening on the Wednesday and the main stages only kicking into action on the Friday. Yes, by Wednesday the site was already heaving and thursday brought rain ('cloud dispersal' as the organisers like to call it!) and mud but friday brought the sun and the mud dried up pretty damn quick.

Alice Russell kicked it off for me down on the west holts stage which is pretty much tailor made for my tastes and hopefully yours too B&S readers. I mentioned in my last review of Alice back in december 2012 that this year was going to be hers so it was great to see the BBC cameras filming her for the highlights. (not always a given, Funkadelic DID NOT GET FILMED at the last glasto!!) Her latest and strongest album 'To Dust'( or not to dust that is the question-Alice you can afford a cleaner now!) sounded fresh and immediate.

Kicking off with newbie "Heartbreaker Part 2," affairs of the heart are served up - with this modern twist on the blues, almost Bill Withers like, a downtempo cut to get us warmed up to what this lusty singer has in store for us. One thing I should mention, which is when live and in the flesh she's a tour de force, belting out the heartache and displaying emotions so goddam real you could reach out and touch them. New Number, "Heartbreaker (Part1)" has a very stuttery vocal style and a very subtle 6/8 feel. It's kind of 'one note melody' draws you into her world, where she's going to win you over, even before she gets to the chorus! A polished performance even though Mike simmons wasn't his usual effervescent self, im not sure why Alice's sidekick was playing it down so much......

Evening time saw Nile Rodgers and his revamped Chic take to the stage in winning style. Rodgers, genuinely moved by the love and adoration of 30,000 people in a field are capable of giving, wasted no time in dispatching a volley of hits to keep us all loved up and dancing. "Everybody Dance", "Dance Dance Dance", "I'm Coming Out", "Upside Down", "He's The Greatest Dancer" and "We Are Family" were the particular highlights, as this well honed unit churned them out one after another in sumptuous smile. "Let's Dance" was excellent too, with drummer/ singer Ralph Rolle taking the place of the thin white duke and laying it on with a thick, heavy musical trowel, marvellous stuff!

Girl of the moment Lianne La Havas, looking drop dead gorgeous, put in a spellbinding performance too. She has come along way since we had her on the front of the mag way back! Now performing with a first class backing band this funky diva is really honing it in the live stakes and like Laura Mvula, you have to accept her on her own terms. Be that jazzy or heavy thrashy rock!
Mind you, her and just the guitar is still my fave combination. No Room For Doubt and Age really stood out. The crowd lapped it up and a wowed Lianne vowed she would be back next year....

Next up Michael Kinawuka, whose meteoric rise has mirrored Lianne's and deservedly so. His laid back dreamy appeal seems to have caught on and the reverential crowd assembled in The Park arena, and enjoyed the choice cuts from his debut album 'Home Again'. The mellow and stripped back title track 'Home Again' a simple vignette, struck a chord and sounded glorious in the hot sun full of angst and yearning. MK hit a chord with the bedazzled mass . This song lets you really appreciate the supreme talent housed in Michael Kiwanuka's voice, as his plaintive acoustic guitar echoed sweetly out into the hazy ether.

Stand out songs played off the album have to be 'Bones' which mimmicks a late 60's soul vibe, especially in the chorus. The sad and soulful 'I'll Get Along' and the gospel tinged 'Im Getting Ready', went down a treat and happens to be my favourite song. Watch this guy fly if he can deliver a second album half as good as this.

So now onto our third high flying act Laura Mvula!  She too has shot right up into the stratosphere with just one album under her belt (Like Lianne and Kinawuka). Yes, this glamorous ex supply teacher is a fully fledged superstar in the making. Her prodigious talent, striking looks and stark originality were on display for all to see. I caught her on the smaller Park stage as opposed to the pyramid stage she'd played a day earlier and she did not disappoint. The opener 'Like The Morning Dew ' hits you like Spector's wall of sound and energises you like an endomorphic hi. Joyous, classy and refreshing; this girl has it in abundance. Backed by possibly the best drummer in the world Troy Miller, Laura absolutely smashed it to an amazed crowd. Her material is so good it defies description and by the time she played 'Green Garden' all protractors are silenced!

"Sing to Moon" presents a singer laden with promise and this towering performance sheds light on possibilities of greater things to come. Her conservatoire training will keep her above the pack as she mixes pastoral chamber style music with good old fashioned soul. Today it all came together adding to the magic of Glastonbury which you can't find anywhere else. A distinctive sound you'll yearn for more of!

Saturday night and all eyes are on the Strolling Bones, err I mean the Rolling Stones. It seemed the whole of somerset was heading to the Pyramid stage. Me? Mainly for curiosity sake, like Pompeii, the Pyramids of Giza or any other magnificent ruin, it just had to be visited and wondered upon! Three numbers was enough for me, I could see bugger all and it wasn't loud enough but fair play to Mick and the boys, they gave it some as I manouevered my way out of the throbbing crowd-time to check Public Enemy!

Twas a good move Chuck D and Co were in full rage against the machine mode snarling and spitting rhymes like a rabid dog! PE have lost none of their edge in their 26 year history and sounded harder than ever with a live band. Yes the gods of social and political consciousness reigned supreme. 'Fight The Power', 'Welcome To The Terrodrome', 'Don't Believe The Hype' all sounded thunderingly good, interspersed with their wheels of steel scratching merrily away and some first class Hendrix inspired heavy axe thrashing guitar hero histrionics! Shame I couldn't get back stage to congratulate them (boy did I try!) they were truly awe inspiring and along with Chic the pinnacle of the festival for me.

Sunday, the closing night saw soul legend Bobby Womack who started proceedings with just his trusty acoustic and an old gospel song he sang as a teenager with his brothers. However, before long co writer Damon Albarn joined in as BW tore through the best tracks on his latest album 'Bravest Man In The Universe'. Despite his failing health, Bobby has lost none of his raspy golden throated overtones and sounded strong especially on the beautifully stripped back sounding 'Please Forgive My Heart'. However, 'Loves Gonna Lift You Up' is dominated by Albarn's doleful singing and felt a bit flat and incongruous. Still you have to hand it to Damon, he's revitalised the man and after a 30 minute break, YES A 30 MINUTE BREAK IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONCERT!

Bobby returned with a new band and went into SOUL MODE! Across 110th street was superb, a blaxploitation masterpiece. Rejuvenated after the break, BW tore into his back catalog, 'I Wish You Didn't Trust Me So Much', 'Looking For Love ' and a glorious cover of his mentor Sam cooke's, 'A change Is Gonna Come' was like a religious experience. What a finale BW through himself at, this one all guns firing, a breathtaking experience as the moon shone brightly over one of its most cherished stars!

So there we have it, a total humdinger of a weekend and the absolute perfect curtain call for a wonderful Glastonbury 2013. Hallelujah how I loved it so. My 22nd visit is going to be hard to top!

Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter