One of the highlights of Saturday so far is Cate Le Bon, performing with her three-piece band on the Garden Stage. The vast majority of the set is taken from last year’s excellent Mug Museum, and that album’s brittle, angular cuts like “I Can’t Help You” are the most exciting of the show.
“Sisters” in particular is a frenzy of aggressive guitar playing from Cate, mangling storms of harsh treble from her black Telecaster as H Hawkline provides the song’s organ riff (though it was strangely inaudible in the mix today). Moving further away from her subdued, folky beginnings, there’s even a thrashing motorik jam partway through the set.
Perfume Genius guests on vocals for Mug Museum’s duet, “I Think I Knew”, before the droning “Cuckoo Through The Walls” casts off those Nico comparisons while sounding very Velvets indeed. Still, Le Bon is steadily developing a sound very much her own, mixing, yet divorced from, folk, garage, pop and psychedelia.
Sam Lee draws a huge and devoted crowd to the Uncut Tipi Tent just after, performing his hand-collected traditional folk songs with a five-piece band. As anyone who has heard Sam will already know, however, this is no ordinary trad-folk set.
There’s no guitar or accordion; instead, Lee is accompanied by violin, cello, trumpet, assorted global percussion, Jew’s harp, a Japanese koto, and his own very lithe dancing, to the delight of the crowd.
“George Collins”, a Hampshire tale concerning a sexually transmitted disease, is surprisingly the best-received song of the set, greeted by whoops from the excitable audience, who Lee dubs “wild but obedient… You’re a very English crowd, you know!”
At the time of writing, this very modern folk hero is still being mobbed by fans at the side of the stage.
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