So, Glastonbury kicked off for Beat Happening with Be Your Own Pet on the Other Stage. Except that it didn’t; a last minute lineup change means that we’re watching The Rascals, whose heady mix of surf guitars and rockabilly beats is okay, but not the punch-in-the-face punk attack we would have preferred to get the day off to a start.
Getting about the festival site is a hard slog for me and the other 140,000 mud-caked victims of last night’s downpour, and I lose count of the number of times I lose my shoe in a soup of mud. Probably my fault for dressing the same way that I would to go to a pub – Wellingtons are required quite urgently.
Vampire Weekend are a massive hit, as expected, with the Glastonbury crowd, with singer Ezra Koenig stirring up some crowd interaction during ‘Blake’s Got a New Face’. ‘This can be our Zen moment – I feel like we’re connected’, he tells the audience, who are suitably up for a party despite the mid-set return of the Glasto showers.
Over to the John Peel Stage next, and we catch the last couple of songs from the Ting Tings’ set. Okay, I know they’re basically just Daphne & Celeste with instruments that they can play, but I’ve got a soft spot for them, and so does the packed crowd that stretches far beyond the shelter of the tent. Of course, they save the big hit single for last, and 15,000 people are singing along with every word of ‘That’s Not My Name’ as the set comes to a climax.
One pint of a guiness and a crap burger that costs five pounds later (the vendor tells me that Amy Winehouse and Jeremy Clarkson have both bought burgers there earlier in the day, but then again, he also mistook me for Mika), and we catch The Kills back in the Peel stage. They’re on good form, with VV and Hotel (now known as Jamie Hince) prowling the stage like two tigers in some sort of courtship ritual. I wonder if Kate Moss is watching. Oh yeah, there she is. And she’s being chased by paparazzi.
The band that we’ve really been looking forward to all day are MGMT; we’ve had a feeling that they’re going to be the perfect festival band, and they turn out to be pretty much that. The Peel Stage’s sound system doesn’t quite do justice to their luscious musical arrangements, but as soon as they launch into opening number ‘Weekend Wars’, it’s clear that their anthemic psych-folk is still the ideal festival soiundtrack, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the Pyramid stage next year. Whilst delivering a gig that wows the packed out tent, they even find time to jump off the stage and have a wrestle in the mud in front of the crowd. Multi-tasking at its finest.
The final stop of the night for Beat Haappening is over at the new Park Stage. We were expecting Dizzee Rascal, but out of the blue, Franz Ferdinand are playing a surprise show. It’s kind of like being promised a Porsche and being given a Ferrari, so I’m not disappointed, but slightly bemused. They deliver a typical set of frenetic indie disco gems, and unsurprisingly, the biggest cheer of the show is reserved for ‘Take Me Out’. After leaving the Park Stage, I see a man do a Klinsmann dive through a puddle of mud. He’s going t regret that when he wakes up.
Panic at the Disco! play on the Other Stage. I have no time for this, and return to my bottle of industrial strength farmhouse cider for the rest of the evening. The vedict on day one: Good, but could do better. Tomorrow awaits.