The best sets at UK festivals in 2018, from Childish Gambino to Idles

There might have been no Glastonbury this year, but that didn’t mean festival season here in the UK was a disappointment. From first-time events, super small weekenders, and sprawling biggies, this summer was one full of brilliant, diverse, and unmissable thrills, no matter what you’re into. Here’s the eight best acts NME caught at UK festivals this summer.

1
Tame Impala

Tame Impala

Where:Citadel, London
What we said: “Tame Impala’s performance at Citadel was a euphoric success, and the festival slot they have long deserved.”

2
The xx

The xx at Parklife 2018

Where: All Points East, London
What we said: “Who knew that a mixture of sparse Joy Division guitar lines, spectral ambient electronic textures and Everything But The Girl could touch so many souls, but there’s something about the shimmering emotion and poignant quietude of songs like ‘Sunset’ and the gorgeous ‘Say Something Loving’ that makes them capable of bewitching vast fields of damp-eyed booze-hounds.”

3
Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino

Where: Lovebox, London
What we said: “Nothing but respect for my President Donald – especially if he can go from motivational speaking to a scintillating performance of ‘Riot’, which descends into a combustible freak-out as Glover ends up lying down on the stage, panting and completely lost in the moment.”

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4
The Killers

Killers

Where: Isle Of Wight Festival, Isle Of Wight
What we said: “The Killers are still worthy of headlining festivals after 15 years […] Sure enough, most of their set is that bit more entertaining than it needed to be, from the moment a confetti canon goes off at the very start of the show.”

5
Vampire Weekend

Where:End Of The Road, Wiltshire
What we said: “The beloved band’s first show in the UK since 2014 was a colourful greatest hits set, stuffed with the likes of ‘A-Punk’, ‘Oxford Comma’ and ‘Walcott’, their cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’ an indication of its jubilant nature.”

6
MIA

MIA

Where:Bestival, Dorset
What we said: “M.I.A. emits a revolutionary aura and, with her in charge, it feels like everything in Britain might just turn out okay.”

7
Idles

Idles

Where: End Of The Road, Wiltshire
What we said: “Jaw-dropping […] their Sunday set coursed with purpose, as singer Joe Talbot turned down the audience interaction to tear through breakneck songs about immigration, masculinity and the NHS.”

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8
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs All Points East

Where: All Points East, London
What we said: “Yeah Yeah Yeahs have long been front-runners for the title of best live band in the world, and their APE return pretty much seals the deal. Storming hell-for-studded-leather into ‘Y Control’ with Karen Owhipping the monitors with her mike lead like a dervish dominatrix of PA equipment, they throw themselves into a tight and tumultuous hour without an ounce of flab in sight.”

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