Which songs will ring out most memorably at this summer’s festivals? Hazel Sheffield marks your card ...
From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Summer 2011
You could argue that festival season started early in 2011. Street parties bathed in spring sunshine popped up to celebrate another British institution, the royal family. Royalty of a different kind hits the festivals when U2 finally headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, and Pulp make their comeback. On the smaller stages, there is enough new talent bubbling up from the grassroots to keep you dancing until autumn—if you know where to look. All songs at iTunes unless otherwise stated:
BEYONCE Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
Inspired by her secret wedding in 2008, the year her man, Jay-Z, brought hip-hop to Glastonbury to stunning effect, “Single Ladies” is a single to wow the welly-wearers.
PULP Do You Remember the First Time?
Perhaps inspired by Blur’s triumphant reunion in 2009, Jarvis Cocker reassembles the band for several festivals beginning with Primavera, in Barcelona, on May 27th. Another chance to celebrate Britpop, which was short-lived (c.1994-96) but long remembered.
U2 Pride (In the Name of Love)
They’ve promised a big-budget performance—“Glastonbury on steroids”—to make up for missing their Pyramid Stage slot last year. Production aside, the spiritual fervour of songs like “Pride” is made for those Glastonbury moments of near-mystical significance.
KATY B Katy on a Mission
The new queen of British clubland is taking the genre now known as UK funky to Glastonbury, Mallorca and Ibiza. One of the few contemporary pop talents to update the canon, Katy B mixes understated style with upbeat tunes that will turn fields into dancefloors. The perfect antidote to the indie bands that are still ubiquitous at festivals.
MAGNETIC MAN I Need Air (feat. Angela Hunte)
The dubstep DJs Skream and Benga have been stretching out the midnight hours at festivals for years. When they combine as Magnetic Man, their powers are doubled. This jittery club hit evokes the euphoria waiting to reward those who can go the distance.
METRONOMY Love Underlined
With their new album “The English Riviera” a shoo-in for the best-of-the-year lists, Metronomy’s energetic live show is not to be missed if you’re at the Melt! festival in Germany. The dark, pulsating “Love Underlined” will come into its own among the towering industrial cranes of the old strip-mining site at Gräfenhainichen, near Leipzig.
ODD FUTURE Sandwitches (www.thefader.com)
This LA hip-hop collective take some stomaching, but they were the toast of the tastemakers at this year’s SXSW. While their records mix urban horror with heavy bass to powerful effect, their live shows are known for ending in complete anarchy. A must.
BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH Atlas Hands
See this young singer-songwriter at a smaller festival—Green Man, Secret Garden Party or Beacons—to appreciate the elegant poetry of his acoustic songs. “Atlas Hands” is the stuff of those quiet, illuminating moments that happen away from the main stage.
ARCADE FIRE Ready to Start
Even early on, these Canadians (pictured) were able to capture the precise moment at which the energy of a crowd turns into more than the sum of its parts. Now they play festivals from Tennessee to Montreux as headliners, armed with three albums of transformative pop.