Best Acts of Glastonbury 2015

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This year’s Glastonbury was one of the most covered and highly anticipated ever. Kanye West headlining the Saturday night arguably hit the most headlines in the lead up to the festival, whilst Dave Grohl’s broken leg and the resulting withdrawal of Foo Fighters from headlining the Friday dominated the news in the week building up to it.

Two of The Edge‘s writers were lucky enough to attend this year’s festival and have put together a list of acts they thought performed the best over the weekend.

Jungle

With their enigmatic beginnings back in 2013, Jungle proved to be a unique collective of artists capable of creating a fresh sound of modern soul-funk. Since then, they have proved their talent as they mirror their heavily layered music on stage where one can truly appreciate the amount of work that goes into each track as each layer unfolds in the surrounding space. Their set at Glastonbury definitely surpassed any prior live performance of theirs. Opening with the iconic introductory dialogue and siren wail of ‘Platoon’, it had the audience in clear anticipation, before being introduced to an extremely young but talented breakdancer earning a host of cheers. Jungle’s set was full of energy, precision, and most of all bass. Hit singles ‘Busy Earnin” and ‘Time’ crescendoed with a low buzz of bass, leaving the audience trembling with goosebumps by the set’s close.

FKA twigs

FKA twigs, by far the most expressive and unique female artist of today engulfed West Holts’ audience with her sensual and captivating aura. Throughout her set twigs maintained her futuristic and creative image and sound, using her skills as a dancer to express her wonderfully constructed music. ‘Glass and Patron’ saw her backing dancers come to the forefront as twigs hypnotizes them, in the same manner as her audience, playing with power dynamics between herself, the only woman on stage, and her talented male performers. With her quiet confidence twigs addressed her fans with gratitude and humility saying, “you’ve given me so much support… It’s amazing to be in front of you guys and share my music with you and these amazing creative people”. One thing that is most attractive about an artist is modesty alongside extreme talent and creativity.

Lianne La Havas

Although rather different in style to FKA twigs, Lianne La Havas‘ confidence and presence on stage as well as her extreme vocal talent also had her audience in complete awe. The London-born singer played a range of material that covers a variety of genres from folk to soul and R&B. She treated fans to some of her most well-known tracks like ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’, as well as tracks from upcoming album Blood. The audience’s response to the newer, unheard songs such as ‘Green & Gold’ and ‘Never Get Enough’ was extremely positive, leaving La Havas somewhat overwhelmed particularly during the latter track which was an obvious standout to her set – heavy, layered and with a rocky sound, ‘Never Get Enough’ proved La Havas’ vocal range, musical talent and appreciation of different genres. It was also lovely to see fellow musician Lucy Rose amongst the crowd, clearly appreciating Lianne La Havas’ wonderful performance.

Words by Henna Patel

Jamie T

After a five year absence, Jamie T made his Glastonbury return. The Londoner’s genius was laid bare as he rapped, sung and strummed his way through a euphoric hour long set on the Other Stage. Songs from the singer-songwriter’s latest LP Carry on the Grudge, ‘Peter’, ‘Don’t You Find’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ seemed to strike accord with the Sunday night crowd. Even following the more sombre tone of sing-along hit ‘Emily’s Heart’, his audience proved ready to explode as a series of modern masterpieces from his repertoire brought the set to a close. ‘Sheila’, ‘If You Got the Money’ and ‘Sticks’N’Stones’ are some of the finest songs written in the last ten years and placed together, they shone as bright as the Somerset sunshine. The superb, anthemic ‘Zombie’ brought the performance to a rapturous conclusion (cue mosh pits). I arrived at the festival as a casual fan, but I left in awe of his incredible talent.

Everything Everything

Everything Everything are impossible to define. With lyrics like, “I’m heaving like a holocaust” and “crosshairs on the kitchen sink”, they leave much to the imagination. But good music never did have to make sense. The electro-rockers took to the stage in neon-orange, pink and red jackets. Adorned in a matching cape, lead singer Johnathan Higgs delivered their lyrically dense discography flawlessly, ensuring that the band were more than just an aesthetic delight. The audience already seemed familiar with new tracks ‘Regret’ and ‘Distant Past’ and those who weren’t most certainly had the catchy refrains ringing in their ears by the time their Friday afternoon slot drew to a close. Older tracks like ‘Cough Cough’, ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ prove that their talents are no recent phenomenon. However, only at Glastonbury 2015 did it become clear that this is a band operating at the top of their game and it proved a true delight to witness them.

The Maccabees

Last week I predicted that The Maccabees would be one of the highlights of the festival. I hate to say I told you so. On the Other Stage, they looked as assured as any of the headliners who took to the Pyramid (though maybe that’s not saying much if you recall Kanye hanging on for dear life in his cherry picker). Frontman Orlando Weeks was as mild mannered as ever, but this did little to temper his incredible vocal range. From the gentle, soothing ‘Wall of Arms’ to the more jagged sound of ‘Marks to Prove It’, the Glasto crowd was captivated. The latter saw the band joined by the aforementioned Jamie T and combined, they confirmed the song’s status as one of the biggest indie anthems of the summer. Squeezed it in amongst songs off their upcoming album Marks to Prove It was a rare treat; the high octane ‘Latchmere’ off their first LP was one for the fans and it was greatly received. Many in the crowd were clearly awaiting the arrival of ‘Pelican’ and when it swooped its way in as the penultimate song, feet and beer flew skywards. The slow burning ‘Grew Up At Midnight’ was an odd choice to follow, but it did little to temper an otherwise flawless set.

Words by James Chadwick

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English and Spanish undergrad, recent year abroader and aspiring vegan, blogging as hennacomoeltatuaje

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