It’s tomorrow! I hope you are now very educated about what to expect from my Summer Series. But if you need a little bit more persuading to come along, this should do it! The wonderful Emily & the Woods!
Emily first appeared on my blog way back in September 2010 as New Treat #25! Back then she had a number of rough recordings on myspace recorded with Laura Marling which were starting to spark a bit of attention. Over the past two years she has blossomed as an artist playing live shows at Glastonbury festival and clocking up an incredible 1 million views on her ‘Steal his Heart’ video. Yet she still remains her lovely down to earth self, gigging constantly and continuing to perfect her live shows.
I am forever in love with her voice and am very very happy to have her playing in the garden of the Gallery Cafe tomorrow evening!
Emily plays alongside Eliza Shaddad, Henry Skewes and Brooke Sharkey.
Glastonbury Festival is my favorite place on earth. There is no where else which condenses an amazing atmosphere, great music, and a positive spirit quite as well as that place. As Jarvis Cocker said ‘Glastonbury is more than just a festival, its a feeling’, and he couldn’t be more spot on. This year of Glastonbury was my forth year, for me each year gets better, and that was defintely the case this time. Despite the terrible weather of the first few days, we got through and I think everyone their would agree, we had a blast!
I started writing a Glastonbury review, but found I had far too much to say and too many bands to write about! So I have decided to simmer it down and just write about my 10 favorite performances of the weekend. So here goes…
Undoubtedly my favorite performance of the weekend was Coldplay. I had never seen them before, but am a big fan of their first two albums, so they were a must see for me. However they managed to far exceed my expectations. Everything about the performance was perfect, an abundance of hits, a fantastic performance from the band and the most incredible atmosphere. I have never been in a crowd quite like it, and I think it is obvious how much everyone is loving it from watching the footage back. Hearing the sing-a-long and seeing every single persons arms in the air for ‘In My Place’, ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Fix You’ among many others, created a moment I will never forget. A proper Glastonbury performance.
Pulp were the secret, or not-so-secret, special guests in the Park on Saturday. Jarvis and co completely stormed the farm showing they would have been more than capable of headlining the bash (maybe in 2013 they will?). They rolled through hits, ending, of course with ‘Common People’. Jarvis’ rather hilarious banter filled in between the songs, and he expressed his love for the festival which transformed Pulp’s career when they headlined in 1995.
I went to see Beyonce partly for curiosity, partly because there was nothing else I really wanted to see, and partly because I knew I would probably never get the opportunity to see her again. And I am so glad I went as I thought she was amazing! There had been some controversy surrounding her performance, does pop belong in Pilton? But I didn’t really see the issue since Lady Gaga, Scissor Sisters and Black Eyed Peas have also been given major slots in the last few years. As Jay-Z did back in 2008, she completely ruled the farm, bringing her big tunes, diva moves and flawless voice to the festival. She too, like so many performers this year, expressed her love for the festival, and said she was living her dream by playing at the farm. Aww!
Back in 1971 Melanie wowed a crowd of hippies with her stunning voice and flower child songs. And in 2011, I think she did exactly the same. The Spirit of ’71 stage was a new addition to this years festival, hosting many acts who played the original festival as well as other oldies. I also saw the Crazy World of Arthur Brown there, but Melanie stole the show. Her voice is still so radiant, but its her songs and love of life and humanity which came across the best. ‘Look What They’ve done to my Song’ was a highlight and she said that if there was to be a film made of her life, that song would be the soundtrack. If only more artists nowadays had that kind of sensibility.
5. Mumford and Sons
In 2009 I saw Mumford and Sons play the Greenpeace stage, on a bill which also included Laura Marling and King Charles. I would guess the capacity was under 300. Two years later, the same band play the Other Stage in front of one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. And they have only released one album. That’s incredible. But from watching their performance its clear to see why. They have so much raw energy, and really brought the folk hoedown to Glastonbury. I predict future headliners for sure.
6. Laura Marling
And following on from the Mumford comment, Laura Marling played the Pyramid Stage. There were concerns that the stage would swamp her but I knew her voice would manage to fill the space and it did. She put on a wonderful show, all songs with a band unlike normally when she plays a solo set in the middle, but the addition of lots of new songs made up for it. ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’, out September 12th, is going to be very special.
I love this band at the moment! So great live and such a fantastic way to start my weekend. They played at 12pm on Friday and attracted a surprisingly large crowd for so early in the day.Being billed so early didn’t stop them from producing the same wild energetic show they normally do. So great!
8. Fleet Foxes
Last time I saw Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury I was rather disappointed. They played the Pyramid Stage but their sound just didn’t fill the space and many punters were left bored. I was disappointed to see that they had been placed on the Other Stage, another whopper, but this year it was a totally different story. They were wonderful, playing a mixture of new songs from ‘Helplessness Blues’ and tracks from the debut. Robin also managed to sneak in ‘Blue Spotted Tail’, my favorite from the new album, so I was very pleased about that!
9. Summer Camp
Since last summer I have seen Summer Camp countless numbers of times in different situations and atmospheres. This was by far my favorite, perhaps since the first time I ever saw them. They played the Crow’s Nest, a tiny tent at the top of the Park with a semi-secret but absolutely excellent line-up and a stunning view of the entire site. Summer Camp played an acoustic set which worked wonderfully in the setting and their pop songs translated brilliantly to the audience. An album should be out soon and I am very much looking forward to it!
Summer Camp- I Want You
10. Emily and the Woods
Emily was one of the finalists of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition which I helped to judge. Treetop Flyers were the eventual winners, and well deserved, but this lady also turned a lot of heads through the competition and the audience in her set in the acoustic tent was surprisingly numerous. I’m hoping that through her sweet attire and stunning set, she managed to gain many more fans on the day too. Get her newest EP ‘Eye to Eye’, its wonderful!
Emily and the Woods- Eye to Eye
Also worth a mention: Sea of Bees and Sweet Baboo in the Crow’s Nest, the Crows Nest in general and Caitlin Rose at the Park. The tipi field, Shangri La, and the wonderful events at the Stone Circle.
Thank you to Michael and Emily Eavis for such a wonderful festival! See you in 2013!
I recon everyone is fully aware that there are a few new Bon Iver tracks doing their internet rounds which has made everyone VERY excited. Including myself. He has also announced a UK tour for later this year. I love the new stuff but it just doesn’t beat ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’. But then again, what does?
Cloud Control are my new favourite band. Incredible live! This is an acoustic version of Gold Canary. Their album comes out on May 23rd in the UK. Grrrrreat.
The new Emily and the Woods EP ‘Eye to Eye’ came through the post a few days ago and its fair to say I’ve fallen in love. I highly recommend that you go and buy it right about NOW from here. One of the songs from it is ‘Steal his Heart’ which is the super sweet video below.
Sarah Jarosz is apparently a new favourite of Mumford and Sons. She looks like Regina Spector, but her music is of a much different vain. Its very country, and also a little Americana and a little pop too. Very catchy stuff. You can grab a free download of ‘Annabelle Lee’ here. And have a listen to this gorgeous acoustic session.
I went to see the stunning Anna Calvi yesterday. She blew me away, as she usually does. An incredible guitarist, singer and performer. She is going to be around for a good while I recon. Supporting Anna was Grouplove. They were also really great. An incredible amount of energy on stage, looked like they were having A LOT of fun. They’re playing lots of festivals this summer, including Glastonbury, so definitely catch them if you can. This is Colours.
I love Mechanical Bride and both this song and video are stunning. Looking forward to hearing what the album will sound like.
And I am going to leave you with something which pretty much blew me away the first time I heard it. Charles Bradley has spent most of his life living on the streets and struggling to make a living as a musician. Now, aged 63, he is releasing his debut album. His live performances are completely on another level to other performers these days. Watch this and see.
For the past few months I have been involved in judging a competition run by Glastonbury Festival, if your not up to date on what its about you can click the icon to the right which says Judge.
The finals happened last night in Pilton and I was lucky enough to go along and see the final 8 bands, chosen by bloggers and judges out of around 7,500. I have to say, all of the final 8 were stunning, really great high quality performances and they all received a slot at the festival in the end. Treetop Flyers picked up the topped prize and will get a slot on a main stage (which could be the Pyramid, Other, John Peel, Acoustic or Avalon- I think thats them!). And they truly were a well deserved winner! They mix country, folk, and rock to make a sound resembling Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Fleet Foxes or Midlake. I think they could be a big hit at the festival with performances from Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes already confirmed, this year could be dominated by a rootsy sound. Their performance was so great, they started with ‘Is It All Worth It?’, a quieter number than their other songs, featuring some beautiful harmonies and instantly proving them to be incredibly capable musicians, particularly the lead guitarist who shone throughout the set. The songwriting is very strong in all the songs, which was definitely one of the things that made them stand out in the competition.
Out of the other finalists, my two personal favourites were Emily and the Woods who was my New Treat back in September. Her set was stunning, her voice flawless and her quirky performance really shining through. She started with a little acapella number, leaving the room in awe of her rich bluesy voice and setting the scene for the rest of her set. Louise and the Pins were really great too, also my New Treat not long ago. Their songs with a full band are wonderful, something truly unique to the music scene at the moment, reminds me a lot of Johnny Cash. Their quieter songs are gorgeous too, Christopher and I being a highlight.
The other bands in the competition were My Tiger My Timing, My First Tooth, Tristam, Twin Brother, and J Treole, and all were great and truly deserved that slot at the festival they all received. Overall its been great being involved in the competition and last night has made me even more excited for this years festival!
Have a listen to ‘Mountain Song’ by Treetop Flyers and watch the Bandstand Busking video of my personal favourite ‘Is It All Worth It?’
If you keep up with this blog you will know that I have been judging the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. You can click on the Glastonbury Logo on the right for more information. I selected three bands from a list of 160 and they were put on the Long list of the competition along with the top 3 from all the other bloggers which took part. The long list has now been released and I was delighted to find out that there were some really brilliant bands selected and lots and lots I’ve never heard of. You can have a look at the whole list here.
My top choice was the fantastic Graffiti6 who descibe themselves as mixing hiphop and folk to create something funky. Its brilliant summery pop and I wish them lots of luck getting through the next round. My second choice was Brother and Bones and my third was Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters, both really great bands! This is Graffiti6..
They also give really great live performances which is one of the reasons I chose them as my number 1, check out some of their other YouTube live videos.
My favourite of the other choices was Emily and the Woods who was my New Treat a few months ago on this blog. Her music is beautiful bluesy pop and I hope she gets further in the competition, really great live too.
Another great band chose were Treetop Flyers who I think would work really well at Glastonbury, especially on a nice relaxed stage like The Park or Avalon.
Laura Hocking was also chosen, her music is really gorgeous and sweet. She has just started playing with a band so I hope that means some more great things are to come.
I’m sure there are lots lots more great bands so I’ll get back to you on that when I’ve listened to them. In other news, the Glastonbury line-up is shaping up very nicely! Mumford & Sons were announed a week or so ago along with Elbow, Anna Calvi, Warpaint, Fleet Foxes, Janelle Monae and more. Shaping up to be a great year!
One of my favourite website For Folk’s Sake has made a radio show. There is some lovely stuff on there, including a stunning version of O Little Town of Bethlehem by Emily and the Woods. Click here to have a listen. Enjoy
Stokes, William first caught my attention on the Communion record. Their song ‘Zion’ which features Marcus Mumford is one of the standout tracks from the compilation, and so as soon as I moved to London I made it a priority to go and see them. The evening at The Troubadour consisted of 6 bands, although I only caught 4, and one of them happened to be the wonderful Emily and the Woods who I posted as a New Treat a few weeks ago. She sounds identical to on record, her voice is as strong and as beautiful and her songs are delicately sweet, I have a lot of hope for this girl.
After Emily and the Woods was a band called Robinson who I had never previously heard. His music is very engaging, elements of country, pop and gypsy folk combined to create some very catchy songs. His lyrics are very simple, speaking of dreams and the like, and he was accompanied by some wonderful musicians, the violinist in particular added a wonderful touch. Another highlight of the set was the clarinet duo which was stunning.
I’d also never heard of the next act, a great great shame as I am now a definite fan. Roo Panes is an incredible talent and he reminded me a lot of Johnny Flynn. Witty lyrics, beautiful arrangements and melodies to treat the ear. His set was lovely. He was accompanies by William Stokes on mandolin and also a viola which added a lovely touch. I might put him as a New Treat at some point, he’s now been spotted by Communion and he is definitely one to watch.
Stokes, William next. He is another incredible talent and one to watch. I could compare him to a lot of bands, Mumford & Sons definitely, also Arcade Fire, Fanfarlo etc., however he also brings breath of fresh air to the folk scene. ‘New-Folk’ can often be tagged as serious and a bit intense, this young man brings a playful aspect to it, it felt like a party on stage and that the audience were such a massive part of the band as well. A band for the people for sure, for the next generation of folkies.
The Troubadour is like a underground cave. It’s boiling hot and its pretty hard to see the bands if your not on the front row or if you don’t stand on the chairs. However, it was a wonderful venue, the audience were very lively and it felt like there was a wonderful community spirit in the room, a little like with Communion gigs. It’s good to see that despite the success of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling, folk music still remains intimate and you can find some incredible talent in tiny rooms.
Emily and the Woods is the project of Londoner Emily Woods and her sweet songs, bluesy voice and new take on alt-folk have certainly charmed me and now hopefully you too. She fits nicely into the London folk scene of the moment, but her music has a slightly jazzy-bluesy feeling at times, accented by her voice and the bass and drum parts on her EP tracks. Her songs are gentle but spirited and the overall effect is rather beautiful. Many of her demo tracks on her myspace also include Laura Marling playing a host of instruments including banjo and pasta percussion. Her debut EP is out now and you can listen to all the tracks from it and also click a link to purchase it on her myspace page here. She has quite a few gigs coming up around London including a gig tomorrow at the Undersolo in Camden (unfortunately I don’t move to London until Sunday ). I hope their are many more good things to come from this young lady, she’s certainly gained a fan in me.
This is a video of ‘Never Play’ which is one of my favourite of her songs.