Compared to the number of people packed in to see The Lumineers and Foals on the Other Stage earlier today, headliners Portishead had a much smaller crowd - after all, they're up against Arctic Monkeys on the Pyramid Stage, and Geoff Barrow and co are hardly feelgood fodder for festivals.

Compared to the number of people packed in to see The Lumineers and Foals on the Other Stage earlier today, headliners Portishead had a much smaller crowd – after all, they’re up against Arctic Monkeys on the Pyramid Stage, and Geoff Barrow and co are hardly feelgood fodder for festivals.



Despite Beth Gibbons’ often heartbreaking lyrics, though, and the band’s increasing Krautier influences, it seems Portishead have more than enough anthems for Glastonbury. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people dancing wildly to such an apocalyptic song as “Cowboys”… or “We Carry On”… or “Glory Box”.

Their set was a perfect tightrope between the ‘hits’, like “Sour Times”, and deeper cuts, such as Third closer, “Threads”; and unlike many other festival shows, the sound was clear and powerful, Adrian Utley’s Jazzmaster especially cutting through the murky synths and bass.

The highlight might have been “Machine Gun” – containing some of Beth’s most ravished, wracked vocals – if only for the CND video during its second half, which juxtaposed images of anti-Trident demos and atomic explosions with a shot of David Cameron complete with glowing red eyes. The cheer that met the latter was almost as loud as the one for “Roads”.

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Portishead played:

Silence

Mysterons

The Rip

Sour Times

Magic Doors

Wandering Star

Machine Gun

Over

Glory Box

Chase The Tear

Cowboys

Threads

Roads

We Carry On

Tom Pinnock

Photo: Eva Vermandel

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