Glastonbury 2003, Worthy Farm, Somerset

High-voltage rockers add to festival's electric atmosphere
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The Independent Culture

The rain clouds have gone, the skies have turned to blue, the sun is out and Dick Valentine of Electric Six is enjoying a love-in with the seething crowd in front of Glastonbury's Other Stage.

"Gay bar, gay bar!'' screams Valentine. "I want to take you to a gay bar!''

It's an invitation the Glastonbury crowd doesn't want to turn down, waving back to the lead singer of the Detroit rock band as he poses and gesticulates from the platform.

Earlier, Valentine had courted the festival-goers with an invitation to shake a leg. "I know this is the Other Stage but right now this is going to be the Dance Tent,'' he said.

The singer's own footwork was not so clever, particularly when he landed on his backside while attempting a drop kick during one of his more energetic routines.

As he abandoned the dance theme, Valentine dropped to the stage floor and, bizarrely, did 30 press-ups before warning of a "fire in the disco'' in a great performance of the band's anthem "Danger! High Voltage".

Quaking bass lines and storming guitars (including one solo impressively played from round the back of the head) contributed to a sound that veered violently from punk to disco to garage rock.

It was impossible to take anything that Valentine said seriously. Having followed his press-ups with a few sit-ups he then gave "shout outs'' to all the drug users in the audience. "Who's on marijuana? he bellowed. Let's hear it for my people on cocaine!''

Detroit, as Valentine pointed out, is home not only to a new wave of rock outfits led by the White Stripes but also to "white rappers ... lots of 'em''.

The band then paid a dubious "MC Sucker DJ'' tribute to white hip-hoppers including Eminem and House of Pain. Suitably, the madness was brought to a rapturous conclusion with a triumphant cover of Queen's "Radio Ga Ga".

Across Worthy Farm, the Danish duo Junior Senior's infectious dance music was too much for the capacity of the New Bands Tent, which could not cope with the crowds that swarmed to see them.

In the morning, the Suffolk rockers the Darkness had their audience laughing with their self-deprecating humour as they clowned around on the Pyramid Stage. Kicking off the proceedings at 10.15am, their lead singer, Justin Hawkins, asked the crowd: "Do you believe in rock before breakfast?''

The Seventies-inspired band then gave a passable cover of "Street Spirit", which they introduced as a song by "The Radioheads''.

By early afternoon, the daisy-age rappers De La Soul had brought their positive rhymes to the main arena and Glastonbury 2003 was truly up and running.