The secret sets at William’s Green on a Glastonbury Thursday are the first opportunity of the weekend for the rumour mill to spin wildly out of control. This year, the bands have been announced hours ahead of the performances, but that doesn’t stop some very erroneous gossip from flying about the farm. Some people, apparently, believe Lady Gaga is about to step out on stage at 7:30pm on the first day of the festival.
They might be disappointed but those who have paid attention to their Twitter feeds won’t be. The tent – sizeable but still small enough to feel like you’re seeing something special – is packed for The Big Moon as they make their return to festival fields ahead of their upcoming new album. They’re a great choice for getting things going early on – the kind of band that stroll on stage and make you wish you were up there too.
Their 30-minute window to get people’s festival off to a good start is fine fun, with an energy the four-piece built their reputation on when they first emerged. Singer Juliette Jackson leads the set dressed in a handmade tutu, white vest, and white oval-shaped sunglasses, looking like Kurt Cobain on the way to perform in a ballet recital.
There’s also more than a tinge of romanticism to their performance, from hopelessly devoted opener ‘Sucker’ to the mid-set shout-out to a pair of friends enjoying their honeymoon down in Somerset. It’s there in the new songs they play too, a triplet of tracks that serve as a very exciting first taste of the follow-up to 2017’s ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’. The first, ‘Your Light’, is steady, emotional indie-rock on which Jackson promises, “I’ll remember your life” but later offers up a reason for maybe why things didn’t work out as she explains: “I didn’t wanna lose myself.”
‘It’s Easy Then’, arriving after a surging ‘Formidable’, lopes on Celia Archer’s gently hopping bassline. She, Jackson, and guitarist Soph Nathan unite on a velvety chorus that bemoans someone throwing a spanner in the works. The finest fresh cut is saved until last, though. ‘Don’t Think’ is a dark disco track with a rhythm section that snaps and bends like a slowed down ‘Heart Of Glass’. Cries of “No one looks at you like that” pierce through the bouncy elasticity, twisting its confident strut into something bittersweet.
‘Cupid’ gives the group one last chance to shoot their shot. It’s cheeky and irreverent, lines like “Yeah, baby, take my wallet, my round/See my Johnny artfully tucked out” delivered with an implied wink. The Big Moon might not be challenging Lady Gaga’s crown but, tonight, four stars are re-born.