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10 Best Sets from Glastonbury Festival 2013

Thursday 4th July 2013 | James

10. Jagwar Ma
When? Saturday
Where? John Peel Stage
Despite taking to the stage at only 13:00pm, Sydney duo Jagwar Ma effortlessly won over an initially ambivalent crowd with their brand of Madchester-inspired psychedelia. Incorporating Spirutalized vibes with the finest Happy Mondays aura, the band power through their debut record Howlin and soak the John Peel Stage up in their breezy, infectious sound. Noel Gallagher has hotly tipped the pair for stardom, suggesting that if their record lived up the hype the "imperial forces would be defeated". Yikes. No pressure, then. Thankfully, the band have quality beneath their hype and 'The Throw' proves a particular highlight.
Highlight: 'The Throw'

9. Palma Violets

When? Sunday
Where? William's Green
Having clashed with Tame Impala during their set at The Park the evening previously, Palma Violets take to William's Green on Sunday afternoon sandwiched between Scottish tykes The Viiew and the Pyramid Stage accomplishing Vaccines. The crowd is suitably huge, packed into the tent and rowdy for Lambeth's finest brand of Clash-and-Libertines infused garage rock. "Everybody outside, squeeze in. Nobody remembers the bloke who was outside at the Last Supper" Harry Violent teases beforehand. When the band take to the stage, the gimmicks are put to one side. 'Johnny Bagga Donuts' and 'Rattlesnake Highway' thump along before the explosion of the anthemic 'Best of Friends'. '14' rounds things off before bassist Alexander 'Chilli' Jesson dives into the crowd during finale 'Brand New Song'. The band are raucous and frenetic and this set caps off a meteoric rise from playing Studio 180 gigs in their hometown.


Highlight: '14'
 
8. Johnny Marr
When? Saturday

Where? John Peel Stage
"We're used to playing high-energy sets" said Johnny Marr to NME beforehand. Off the back of supporting The Stone Roses at Finsbury Park last month, the Smiths axeman plays a similar set today. New tracks 'Upstarts' and 'The Messenger' rubbish the idea that Morrissey was the seminal Manchester band's only songwriter, whilst 'Generate! Generate!' displays what an accomplished guitarist he is. The biggest cheers, understandably, come from Smiths classics 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' and 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before' before the colossal riff of 'How Soon Is Now' sparks massive moment in the crowd. "Enjoy the Rolling Stones" Marr teases before 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'. He departs safe in the knowledge that he has warmed the Worthy Farm faithful up good and proper.
Highlight: 'Bigmouth Strikes Again'

7. Alt-J

When? Friday
Where? Other Stage
The triangle-obsessed Mercury Prize winners can count themselves unlucky they aren't playing the Pyramid Stage but it doesn't really matter. The evening slot lends itself well to their brand of math-inspired atmospheric genre-transcending tunes. The band have become accomplished performers, a far cry from the hit-and-miss nature of their festival sets last summer, with 'Breezeblocks' sounding as powerful as on record and the haunting 'Matilda' proving a highlight of the entire day. The crowd may not be the most active, but that is possibly due to the awe-inspiring nature of the band's musicianship. A truly spectacular year, and with album number two in the pipeline, you would not bet against them performing high up on the bill on the most famous triangle-shaped stage in music next year.
Highlight: 'Matilda'

6. Swim Deep

When? Saturday
Where? William's Green
"I bet a kid at school I'd play here" says native Brummie and Swim Deep leader Austin Williams during the band's set on the John Peel Stage on Friday. "If you are watching, you owe me a wagon wheel and a half". Williams will be delighted that his band haven't played Glastonbury once - but twice. Their set at William's Green the following day is the slightly more impressive with the band seemingly more at ease in a more intimate environment. New tracks 'Stray' and 'Make My Sun Shine' off forthcoming debut LP Where The Heaven Are We are displayed before the band show their versatile chops with the Nirvana-influenced 'The Sea', The Charlatans-esque 'She Changes The Weather' and the lo-fi beast 'King City'. The set highlight, other than the band's hilariously sporadic attire, is a cover of Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. Boys can have fun, too. Plenty of it.
Highlight: 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' 

5. Haim

When? Saturday
Where? The Park 
With diabetes threatening to end bassist Este's involvement in Glastonbury during their Pyramid Stage slot the day before, Haim are delighted to play a second slot on The Park on Saturday. The sisters power through tracks off their unnamed forthcoming debut LP, but the biggest cheers are reserved for the already anthemic 'Don't Save Me' and 'Forever'. The trio jam regularly and display their affection for the crowd on multiple occasions. The heat hampens the crowd on occasion, and the crowd thins as sweating punters make their way to buy £2 bottles of water at a nearby tent. No matter, though. Haim are truly deserving of their title as BBC's Sound of 2013 winners. Now they just need the album to cement it.
Highlight: 'Forever'

4. Tame Impala

When? Friday
Where? Other Stage
"We played here a couple of years ago and it was nothing like this" enthuses Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker on the Other Stage on Friday afternoon. It's no surprise that the Perth boys attracted such a hefty crowd. Lonerism was the standout record of last year, effortlessly dripping in effervescence and a true sensual sensibility. 'Elephant', as expected, is colossal and thumping before the woozy nature of 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards'. Disappointingly, tracks off the band's debut Innerspeaker are omitted. Thankfully, 'Alter Ego' is included and shows the quality the musicians' possess. Bassist Nick Allbrook may have left to concentrate on Pond, but the future is bright for Tame Impala. What a time to be Australian.
Highlight: 'Alter Ego'

3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

When? Sunday
Where? Pyramid Stage
Despite a considerably thinner crowd than Vampire Weekend minutes before, Nick Cave is on top form with his Bad Seeds as they tear through 'We Know Who U R' and the brilliant, sprawling 'Jubilee Street'. Cave is a born performer and he regularly dives into the crowd (at one stage falling). Truly captivating, the set was gloriously celebratory in a year which Cave released his finest ever record Push The Sky Away. 'Red Right Hand' attracted the biggest cheers, and despite a group near me asking "who is this guy?" when the Australian took to the stage, by the end of the set they are in no doubt. They have just witnessed a performer on the top of his game. Simply divine.
Highlight: 'Jubilee Street'

2. Arctic Monkeys

When? Friday
Where? Pyramid Stage
Embracing their inner performer, Arctic Monkeys delivered a sensational Friday night headline slot. After an underwhelming performance in 2007, Alex Turner is on top form tonight as he channels his inner Elvis ("We're gunna play all night long, everybody! Does that sound good?") in a sparkly silver suit as the Sheffield band underline why they are the finest British band of the 00s. 'Do I Wanna Know?', their latest single, starts things off in a sultry sexy way before the band shift tempo and image from their ever-expanding depth of versatile tunes - the raucous cheekiness of 'Dancing Shoes' and 'Fake Tales of San Francisco' give way to the stoner-rock of 'Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair'. A gorgeous, strings-led rendition of 'Mardy Bum' is truly delightful before long-time confidant Miles Kane joins the band for routine set closer '505'. Touching moments included (Turner led the crowd in singing happy birthday to his mum Penny), this may prove to be the definitive gig of the Monkeys' career. 
Highlight: 'Mardy Bum'

1. The Rolling Stones

 

When? Saturday
Where? Pyramid Stage
"They finally got around to asking us!" Mick Jagger told a delighted 100,000-strong crowd in front of the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night. Jagger himself was on top form, prancing around the stage as if he was a performer in the early stages of his career rather than its twilight. Charlie Watts, unfortunately, looked like he would have rather been at home with a cup of cocoa but that was made up by Keef's guitar wizardry. In truth, the band needn't have even played a note. The job was done as soon as they stepped on stage. In case you were wondering, though, they totally nailed it. The atmosphere during 'Sympathy for the Devil' - with stage fireworks and fire-breathing giant birds incorporated - was truly phenomenal. A seminal performance and one which, after 43 years, may be the finest headline set of Glastonbury's glorious and illustrious past.
Highlight: 'Sympathy for the Devil'

By James Rodger @jamesdrodger

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