Glastonbury Festival 2014 Review - Saturday

Saturday starts with an hour reading in my tent before a trip to the facilities and coffee. As I'm heading towards William's Green to see Dark Bells the heavens open. Really, really open. I take shelter in the nearby Yeo Valley yogurt stand and have one with some muesli, it tastes good and serves as an unexpected but good diversion. A brief rest-bite in the rainfall gives me chance to make the rest of the journey to see the trio mid-set. I see three and a half tracks of throbbing bass lines and intoxicating psyche rhythms which play to a sizable early audience (no doubt partly with thanks to the continuing rain).

Afterward it's not too far to the Acoustic Stage, trying my best to dodge the increasingly sludgy conditions underfoot and Hero Fisher is playing as I arrive, there's not an acoustic in sight however with the quartet louder and rockier than I anticipated, Hero has a superb voice, bluesy, vibrant and the set is a perfect combination of energy and emotion.

It's midday and I've already seen two bands. I read, thanks to Twitter (mobile reception was great throughout the festival site), that Little Dragon are doing a 'secret' show in the BBC introducing tent so I hop-foot it across from one end of the festival to the other. The tent is a new one to me, bigger and in a slightly different location than I remember it.

Introduced by Lauren Laverne the band play a quartet of songs that are simultaneously broadcast on BBC Six Music, there's a large crowd of people who were seemingly in the know too. It's enjoyable with skittering percussion and a dancey electronic heartbeat propelling the attention holding lead vocal. However, it doesn't quite lift me off my feet.

Afterwards there is time to pop out and get a top-up of the water bottle and some lunch (it seems that Mexican is the choice of the weekend, seemingly every other stall has burrito's) before heading back to the same tent for Annie Eve.

This is more my 'thing', dripping with a similar, shimmering folk-noir sound to Daughter both beautiful and desolate, full of emotional weight and stunning vocals. The luscious layers of instrumentation added by her band make for a rich, enchanting half hour and the swelling audience size the perfect indication of how well it was received.

It is clash o'clock next, a toss-up between a band I've seen numerous times before in Warpaint and Kelis, I head outside and to the Pyramid for Kelis whom I'd never seen before, it was the right decision. I'm treated to what was arguably my highlight of the day.

"Milkshake" aside I cannot pretend to have known too much about Kelis or her music before this set but I can remember stepping into a shop in Brighton during the Great Escape and being impressed by a song that turned out to be from the latest Kelis record and this hour is similar to the memories from that.

Oozing with pure Motown vibes with Kelis' truly exquisite voice backed by glorious horns and harmonies. It's "Milkshake" that gets the crowd the most animated of course and there is another track I recall on hearing it live, "Millionaire" but these versions are not their pop originals, they are drenched in soul and the version of "Feeling Good" that book-ends the set is a complete knock out. The sun is out in force which also helps of course.

It's a long wait next at the same stage as a huge crowd descends to see Lana Del Rey, I'm interested to hear her, the first show since the release of album two. Somewhat surprisingly the set leans almost entirely from the debut (and The Paradise Edition) with the title-track "Ultraviolence" and "West Coast" the only tracks I recall from the new album. The screaming kids aside I remember enjoying the theatre of Lana's performance at Hammersmith Apollo last year but I don't think she handles the crowd well this time. The show is unfortunately nothing more than flat.

The allure and the atmosphere of that earlier performance seems lost on such a big stage and it ends up being somebody singing good songs well into a microphone with seemingly half interest in being there (despite Lana's repeated claim to be happy to be here). The crowd feel it too and only become involved with "Born to Die" about a half dozen songs in, they return to their slumber until "Video Games" near the end, thankfully "National Anthem" ends the show on a high point but it is an ultimate disappointment set to visuals that seem completely at odds with the ethos of the festival.

The dark clouds that form towards the end of the set give a better appraisal than I and by the time I am back at William's Green for Smoke Fairies any hope that the mud slurry would be baked in Summer sun is lost, there is torrential rain for a good half hour. Thankfully I'm in a tent and happy again.

Smoke Fairies are an altogether different animal these days, their earlier days of gorgeous harmonies and intricate guitar patterns are still apparent deep down but their sound is darker and more expressive with an electronic heart to tracks taken from their recent self-titled album. The odd sound gremlin aside, this set is as polished as any all weekend, dressed it bright white entirely inappropriate for the conditions it is a rocking version of "Hotel Room" that ends the set on its highest moment. I would have easily lapped up twice the set-length.

Back on the Other Stage next for Manic Street Preachers. I fall into the same criteria as much of the crowd, this is armed with an infinite knowledge of early Manic's material but next to none of their output of the last ten years.

Kicking off with "Motorcycle Emptiness" is the perfect way to vanquish any fears of listening to unknown tracks for an hour, The Holy Bible, 20 this year, forms the backbone of the set and resonates deep. Classics like "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough", "If You Tolerate This..." and the final sing-along of "A Design For Life" are amongst the highlights but the tracks from new album Futurology are received well and are full of promise.

I'm surprised we don't get to see Nina Persson who played the festival earlier in the day but perhaps it is because the band are joined by another Nina, Voss for a rather strange Kraftwerk-esque pro Euro-anthem. It's strangely enjoyable. It certainly raises a few smiles.

Clashes mean I'm late at the Park and Anna Calvi has already played half of her set. It's also strangely quiet (from the four times I went there this year, it seems the Park is the overlooked area).

Looking straight at the stage you wouldn't guess, Anna plays with aplomb and it is enthralling. Her virtuoso guitar playing and powerful vocal acrobatics have been longed talked about but I wasn't expecting so much rhythm and percussion. There's a girl playing all sorts of instruments I couldn't possibly name and I am compelled to stare at what she is doing. I wish I was here sooner.

I'm straight up the hill for Australian singer-songwriter / alt-folk should-soon-be star Courtney Barnett at the Crows Nest. It's a solo set that enraptures those in attendance, amusing anecdotes and repeated conversations with the crowd break up the music but no one cares, the audience is all having too much of a good time.

The songs are lyrically brilliant, if not of your usual subject matters, full of satire about buying houses and poor transport systems and those who arrive on the off chance will be making a note of an artist to check out once they return home.

I wasn't quite decided where to go next, I certainly wasn't heading off to Metallica. I decided (and correctly as it turns out) to give Bryan Ferry a chance, I've a soft spot for a handful of his tracks and some Roxy Music material too.

I begin by propping up the Brothers Bar and watch as Ferry (69 but looking almost twenty years younger than) swoon his way through a brilliantly smooth blues version of "Slave to Love". The set remains suave and sophisticated throughout, "Avalon" sees Ferry on top form crooning around his beautifully polished and tight band, the drums stand-out amongst the paired backing dancers whose moves (aided by the second Brothers cider) I stark to mimic. By the time he's gone through "Virginia Plain", "More Than This" and "Love is the Drug" the audience are putty in his hands.

Afterwards, a short side-step at the bar aside it's an early night and before I know it, the end of the weekend is almost with us.