A heavy weight of responsibility lay on Pearl Jam here on Sunday, not only because they closed a vintage edition of the festival in its 35th year. These grunge veterans had shunned the circuit since 2000, when several of their fans died in a crush at Roskilde, Denmark. That explained the haunted look in frontman Eddie Vedder's eyes and it was only with a wild, cathartic jam to extend a sprightly "Even Flow" that the band found their groove.
Pearl Jam have discovered new focus on their current, eponymous album, as they have looked up from their usual navel-gazing to notice the state of play. "World Wide Suicide" was strident and straight forward, though this was mainly a greatest hits set that referred heavily to their classic debut album, Ten. They showed their ability to entertain best in a long encore that peaked with a mammoth take on The Who's "Teenage Wasteland".
It summed up perfectly this year's motto, "Make Love Not Riots", something the organisers had worked hard to promote with flushing loos and a secondary crush barrier. It came in especially handy on the final day when even thrash warhorses Slayer knew their place. "This is a song about organised religion," Tom Araya announced. "If anyone even cares."
Side stages took care of more contemporary tastes, with entry impossible to the tents graced by pop pin-ups The Kooks and Goldie Lookin' Chain. Dropped by their record company, the hip-hop spoofsters GLC bounced back with a set fizzing with jokes. There must be a place for rappers who, in response to TLC's "No Scrubs", can dedicate a number to anyone who has failed a driving test.
Two grime artists met the challenge laid down by Dizzee Rascal's powerful Friday night set. With a tight rhythm section, Lady Sovereign was more dancehall Ian Dury than grime MC, while Lethal B and DJ Statik charmed the crowd not only with a version of indie group The Rakes' "22 Grand Job", but also the rapper's own pirate radio hits.
More traditional fare came from Tapes N Tapes, who strengthened their usual David Byrne whine with a steely performance. Most charming, though, were London newcomers Larrikin Love. Their ram-shackle set of folksy jangle was full of verve and crowned when someone's mum came on to play the spoons. One of many bands to look out for next year.Reuse content