Glastonbury festival first night review: Superb Arctic Monkeys put on incredible show

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
4.00

The beauty of the Pilton pop festival is that there’s always something to pull you from the main drag

Arctic Monkeys played a superb set to close the Pyramid stage on the first night of Glastonbury 2013.

Alex Turner and Co rose to the occasion and gave the kind of performance that justified their choice as headliners. Playing on a stage bathed in red and white light, strobes dramatically throwing in to the shadow the fans held aloft on their mates' shoulders, they showed the elder statesmen due to tread the same boards on Saturday that the youth can put on an incredible show too. The bounce around madness that greeted 'I bet that you look good on the dancefloor' was the highlight of the festival so far.

Rain on the Thursday threatened to put a dampener on Glastonbury 2013 before the first acts had even taken to the stage. But thankfully a shower-free start greeted the early birds that made their way to the Pyramid stage for the opening set of this year’s festival yesterday.

Dropped in at the last moment to replace Toumani Diabate, who was forced to withdraw with a bout of malaria, Jupiter & Okwess International played a superb set to start the festival proper. Their hypnotic, infective African beats were the perfect wake up call for the post-breakfast crowd who made the pilgrimage across the slick-mud site.

By the fourth track, proceeded by an empassioned speech in French from lead singer Jupiter – which sadly the majority of the crowd (me included) were unable to decipher – the Kinshasha-based band had won over everyone. The female singer duelled with the guitarist, her hips keeping time with his soaringly scales. And all the time the grey clouds which tried to gatecrash the party slowly seemed to make way for blue skies. They were an inspired choice of opening act, and by the time Okwess International finished their set the Pyramid arena was left with a sea of smiling faces.

The beauty of the Pilton pop festival is that with so many stages competing for your attention there’s always something to entice you away from the main drag. The Spirit of 71 stage threw just such a curveball in the shape of Gringo Ska, a tight five piece, from just down the road in Somerset. Their smiley, happy ska replete with soaring flute jamming alongside sax was the perfect lunchtime fodder. A smiling crowd made up of everyone from first-time festival teenagers to be-rucksacked pensioners gave them a glorious and fitting reception.

By the time man of the moment Jake Bugg took to the Pyramid stage the crowd stretched all the way up the hill to the camping grounds. A mass of humanity punctuated by banners and flags; smiley faces, skull and crossbones and various international flags, the massive crowd was probably the biggest Bugg has played. On the one hand it’s great to see a home grown singer/song writer take to the main stage, but personally his ballads seem to fall a little flat in such a large arena. The crowd’s polite applause seems to agree.

Next up was “Radioactive” singer Rita Ora. Sporting a sassy lipstick-red tasseled dress that left little to the imagination. Her brand of slick pop went down well with the mid-afternoon crowd. Ora’s accomplished performance must surely now have cemented her stature as the main British challenger to Rihanna’s R&B crown.

West Holts hosted the genius that is Tom Tom Club. A pathetically small crowd was there for the start of the set but thankfully it filled out as they rolled out the classics. “Genius Of Love” was an early highlight before “Wordy Rappinghood” set the arena alight. Talking Heads classic “Psycho Killer” was the standout track.

Over at the Pyramid stage Dizzee Rascal served up a perfect dollop of urban beats. Who said Glastonbury is all about guitar acts?

It was a perfect start to this year’s festival – fingers crossed the rain holds off for the rest of the weekend.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink