It wasn't really like being there, but being telepresent at Glastonbury Festival last weekend was certainly cheaper, dryer and less demanding, and I did it every whichway.
Firstly, via BBC iPlayer. Our household's only region-block-defeating solution is currently a Chrome extension called MediaHint that only works on my computer, rather than the telly, but which gave me access to the BBC's astonishing internet coverage: live streams from multiple stages as well as the BBC 2 and Three programming, as well as catch-up highlights.
So I got to watch The Arcade Fire, MIA and a bit of Skrillex (which actually looked like a right old bundle of fun) on Saturday morning. But the really special time was James Blake closing the Park Stage on Monday morning our time. It was gentle, supple, pulsing and it made me smile to see a few thousand knackered fans swaying around with their eyes closed and goofy smiles on their faces. There are worse ways to enter the working week.
Happily, the whole set is now available on Vimeo:
I also, er, got my auntie to send me a few things on VHS. But there was a way of catching the vibe that didn't require any jiggery-pokery: the BBC's YouTube channel, which features songs from dozens of performances. The advtange there was that I could watch it on home theatre-equipped television via my Apple TV (the same applies to Vimeo). As I have noted many times before, I would pay a reasonable price to have full access to live concerts and festivals via Apple TV or any similar gadget.
Here are a few YouTube highlights ...
A right old singalong with MGMT's 'Kids' at the John Peel Stage. They seem to have come to terms with their probably unrepeatable hit:
An even bigger singalong for Dolly Parton's 'Joelene'. I'm not really sure how much of what we're hearing is her live vocal, but who cares?
The smart, rugged and funny Australian Courtney Barnett, who I'd go and see like a shot if she happened to play here:
The Daptone Super Soul Revue, whose set was, according to my friend Jen Ferguson (and she knows her stuff!) a total joy on the day: (Update: Part One of Jen's blog review -- it's amazing how so many of her highlights were away from the big stages: brass bands, a New York-style gay disco.)
Connan Mockasin! Kooky Kiwi pride!
Goldfrapp was a revelation:
And 'Reflektor', from the constant circus that was Arcade's Fire's set:
There's lots more, including Yoko Ono, De La Soul, Lily Allen and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, in a 40-song YouTube playlist I made.
Over at Audioculture, there's Alan Perrott's great article on the Screaming Meemees. They burned briefly but so brightly as teen sensations: I was in Christchurch at the time, but I remember being really excited when 'See Me Go' -- such a great teen-boy anthem -- went to number one in the charts, and equally so when the Screaming Blamatics Tour blew through.
It's particularly special because Alan captured the memories of the band's irrepressible guitarist, Michael O'Neill, before the severe stroke that Michael suffered recently. I hope the recovery is going as well as it can do for Michael and his family.
Here is Michael O'Neill, playing at the Auckland Town Hall, back then:
Flying Nun Records is using what it describes "as a little bit like crowd-funding and a bit like good old fashioned pre-orders" to get Robert Scott's forthcoming (July 18) album The Green House pressed to vinyl. You can choose from seven different pre-order options, including hand-drawn and painted artwork and a bonus album. This is great. And here's a taster from the album -- with Tiny Ruins on backing vocals!
Peter McLennan brings good news: not only is Marbecks Records defying what looked for a while like the end of its long run, it's expanding again.
My friend Paul Shannon directed me to Pitchfork's 10 Essential Sun Ra Tracks (which include a feature-length movie), this being the 100th anniversary of the great man's birth. I saw Sun Ra with the Arkestra two nights running in London many years ago, and I still struggle to articulate more about it than just what I felt: that I was in the presence of something pure and musical.
Although Sun Ra and some important colleagues such as John Gilmore no longer dwell at this planetary address, the Sun Ra Arkestra continue to play and tour. Indeed, they played Glastonbury 2014. Here's a clip:
Here's something nice. Radiohead's 'Reckoner', remixed with a little extra drum by Leftside Wobble:
At TheAudience, Martyn Pepperell has profiled Samuel Truth ("government name: Troy Samuela") , who has this deep, sweet production on the site at the moment:
Paddy Fred has remixed 'Shallows' by his Wellington friends Groeni. Quite nice:
And, to conclude, a couple of dates for your calendar next week ...
First, a Public Address Great Blend in Auckland next Thursday, featuring a discussion with Adam Holt (Universal Music), Fergus Barrowman (Victoria Universty Press) and Roseanne Liang (Flat 3) and a performance by the clever and groovy High Hoops. You need to click through on that link and RSVP pronto if you want to come along.
And the rarest of treats: Peter Jefferies playing the King's Arms on Saturday the 12th. He's joined by Shayne Carter, who will, I presume be playing some of his new music. We have something good coming up on Public Address for this next week.
The Hard News Music Post is sponsored by: