The Manics are in strangely subdued mood, while Feeder's set is all about catharsis...
Kissing goodnight to Glastonbury 2003 on the Pyramid Stage is techno elfin Moby. Like the [a]Manic Street Preachers[/a] before him, his is a curious mix of the anarchic festival spirit of old and its new increasingly corporate direction. With 1991’s Top 10 hit ‘Go’, there flickers the shadow of the one-time credinle electro DJ, but for the most part this is the safe and sanitised road of recent albums ‘Play’ and ’18’. Still, he is undoubtedly a master of his craft and knows exactly the right crowd-pleasing buttons to push. The Pyramid Stage is illuminated with a Jean Michel Jarre light show that showers lasers into the night sky, while singer Diane Charlemagne is put through her gospel paces and Moby slags off his president. Unfortunately, though, an encore of Radiohead‘s ‘Creep’ only reminds us of last night’s finale, and how good a band really can be when they decide to push boundaries.
It’s largely a greatest hits show from the recently absent [a][/a]. With one-time motor-mouth Nicky Wire noticeably mute, it is a set that pays tribute to their annihilating punk past, without actually getting themselves dirty. Songs from ‘The Holy Bible’ and ‘Generation Terrorists’ have rarely sounded so easy-on-the-ear, while the unveiling of an unreleased song written for the ‘Judge Dredd’ movie soundtrack proves an interesting chapter in their revolutionary handbook. Indeed, the only new track to be aired – working title, ‘Everything Will Be’ – sees chillout maestro Andy Cato of [a][/a] join them on trombone.
Another band coming to grips with their past demons are Feeder. Opening with ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ from this year’s ‘Comfort In Sound’ album – the first without drummer Jon Lee – the humidity breaks and the first signs of the ensuing downpour and storm show themselves. It’s a cathartic moment; their darker moments temporarily forgotten, they delve into their pop classics like a band with only the future to lose.
In a dapper pink and white gingham suit and signature sunglasses, [a][/a] is perhaps the closest we’ll get to Sly Stone in this lifetime. It may sound like an exaggeration, but as far as NME.COM is concerned, hers was the most riotous official party of the weekend. “This song is called is called ‘Sexual Revolution’,” she purrs. “If you take your clothes off, I’ll take mine off.” And she does. Three times.