Festivals

Glastonbury Day 2: Pixies and Metallica

Glastonbury Day 2: Pixies and Metallica

Scowling down from the Other Stage, the Pixies are not looking for our love.

Bronzed, bald and bearlike, Black Francis bears a disturbing resemblance to Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour nowadays. The latest in the band’s Spinal Tap-style line of replacement bass guitarists, Paz Lenchantin shows Glastonbury she has the skills, but inevitably lacks Kim Deal’s innate mischief and instantly seductive voice. A handful of prosaic garage-punk bone-shakers from the new comeback album “Indie Cindy” also disappoint.

All the same, Pixies have alt-rock artillery to spare. Dystopian bubblegum sci-fi surf-punk classics like “Gouge Away”, “Caribou” and “Wave of Mutilation” retain their forceful, angular, modernist bite. A decade into their reformation, the indie trailblazers who once served as midwives to Nirvana, Radiohead and many others still sound as bracingly alien as ever.

Meanwhile, over on the Pyramid Stage, Metallica begin by curtailing their usual Sergio Leone spaghetti western intro with a specially shot mini-film about fox-hunting that climaxes with the grinning thrash overlords machine-gunning the hunters. This is a sledgehammer satirical comment on the mild controversy over Glastonbury booking a heavy-rock headliner, with naysayers particularly incensed by singer James Hetfield’s love of hunting for bloodsport. All these high-minded critics must be vegetarians, we can only assume.

In reality, of course, Metallica fit the broad audience demographic of a mainstream mega-festival like Glastonbury just as comfortably as Bruce Springsteen or Beyonce. These elder statesmen are pushing against an open door, but their ingratiating underdog act is revealing at least. Behind their devil-horned bombast, they really want West Country hippies and indie kids to love them. Hetfield even makes a vaguely worded speech about saving the planet and staying true to your moral integrity, which could apply equally to a Greenpeace recruitment drive as to a Scientology convention. Metallica cover all bases.

Charm offensive over, Hetfield locks into Nietzschean rock-gladiator mode while Lars Ulrich rockets out of his seat, pinballing all over the drum kit like Keith Moon’s hyperactive Danish cousin. A famously well-oiled touring machine, Metallica crank out their speed-riffing, fist-pumping anthems with pulverising power, all accompanied by IMAX-level visuals. Sure, this is slick shtick with a blockbuster budget, but it works just fine as festival spectacle.

Whatever their critics feared, Metallica do not rip off Glastonbury’s head and drink its still-warm blood. Instead, they curl up at our feet and beg us to tickle their warm furry tummies. Once the sonically extreme fringe of the heavy rock underground, thrash metal is mainstream family entertainment nowadays. But there is a reason for that. And the reason is Metallica.
Stephen Dalton

Glastonbury Day 1: Blondie, New Build, East India Youth

Glastonbury Day 1: Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Band of Skulls and Haim

Glastonbury Day 1: Courtney Barnett and Lily Allen

Glastonbury Day 1: Elbow

Glastonbury Day 1: Arcade Fire

Glastonbury Day 2: Midlake

Glastonbury Day 2: Kelis and Fat White Family

Glastonbury Day 2: Robert Plant and Lana Del Ray

Glastonbury Day 2: Jack White

Glastonbury Day 3: Toumani & Sidiki

Glastonbury Day 3: Dolly Parton

Glastonbury Day 3: Yoko Ono, The Wailers, assorted hippies

Glastonbury Day 3: The Black Keys

Glastonbury Day 3: Massive Attack

Visit our dedicated features section, with plenty of our best long pieces archived there. You can find it here.

Uncut is now available as a digital edition! Download here on your iPad/iPhone and here on your Kindle Fire or Nook.


Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 28th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


There's a song on this new Purling Hiss album, playing again now, that sounds more or less like "Debaser" played by Dinosaur Jr. Along with the intensely spirited debut by Mary Timony's Ex-Hex and a comp of the pre-...