Glastonbury : Other Stage (Friday afternoon)

The Other Stage kicks off with Har Mar Superstar being bemusing in a good way and The Jeevas being bemusing in a bad way...

It’s fair to say that Tom McRae’s set of doomy folk does something to scare off the punters. After all, songs about dark confessions and, of all things, stormy skies (‘Sau Paulo Rain’) aren’t the best soundtrack for getting off your tits on recently-invented chemicals. But with a voice that could have Thom Yorke wishing that his balls hadn’t dropped and a grand piano and cello backing, things are at least bearable for those of us who’ve stuck around.

[a]Athlete[/a] may be nothing more than [a]Toploader[/a] dressed up in tight jumpers and farting Casio keyboards but NME.COM’s prepared to put our differences aside for today. Perhaps it’s the packed-out field of people pissed up on real ale that’s responsible for the upsurge in “vibes” but the closing time singalong of ‘Westside’ seems as oddly welcome as the blue skies that follow.

As the phrase “Pete who?” signals a mass stampede for any stage with a roof, the remaining audience are left to deal with some good-mannered yawn-rock. If the point of songs like ‘Carlos (Don’t Let It Go To Your Head)’ is to churn out riffs so constipated that they won’t have to visit the shit pits for three full days, then [a][/a] has succeeded. But we can’t help but think that the audience members punching the air are suffering from an unhealthy determination to remain in good spirits rather than possessed by the music.

“We’ll try and play at a frequency that stops the rain,” offers [a]Nada Surf[/a] singer Matthew Caws. You can’t blame him for trying – the very idea of watching an emo band play whilst it pisses it down is about as appealing as a ride on the waltzers after 10 pints of psychedelic pear cider. Luckily, Nada Surf aren’t afraid to get it on with The Tune, and the gorgeous chug of ‘Inside Of Love’ sees them through fine. Whatever frequency they’re playing at, it doesn’t stop the rain but it leaves a warm buzz in our hearts.

[a]Har Mar Superstar[/a] emerges with his Manumission dancers at 11am to a field full of bemused punters. Has there ever been a more inappropriate setting for a mullet-wearing love hound to get down’n’dirty with a set of spunk-funk? It’s all great, of course, the likes of ‘EZ Pass’ sounding like [a]Stevie Wonder[/a] aiming a money shot into Prince‘s eye. But really, can’t we save this sort of thing for a midnight PA in the Herbal Viagara tent?

The Jeevas are the best anti-drugs campaigners of the entire festival. Sure, mainman Crispian Mills may give the impression that he’s emerged unscathed from the My Incense Hell of Kula Shaker, but his music tells a different story. Only a weed-addled wreck would think the sub-[a][/a] pub blues of ‘Silver Apples’ is the antidote to mass early morning hangovers. Just say no, kids.

Tim Jonze