Due to my sporty new car unaccountably deciding that one of its less important features (the ability to open the doors) was not necessary, we arrived somewhat later to the Glastonbudget site than anticipated and therefore sprinted down to the Main Stage to the opening strains of ‘Suffragette City’ by the tremendous tribute act Absolute Bowie. Regardless of the rushing, this was a fantastic way to start off the UK’s greatest tribute festival. Dancing away to jumpy guitar riff of ‘Jean Genie’ and singing along to ‘Starman’, I was surrounded by a sea of happy faces at this fabulously fun festival. With the band continuing to play as vocalist Halloween Jack ch…ch…ch…changes costume, it is clear that these musicians have worked tirelessly on faithfully recreated the sound of the Spiders, so much so that they have been personally endorsed by Woody Woodmansey, the Spiders from Mars drummer, himself. Halloween Jack returns to the stage in a white slik tunic and hot pants, miming in a swan like fashion whilst singing ‘Moonage Daydream.’
Mick Ransom rocks out during the guitar solo echoing the rock and roll stylings of Ronson until through the smoke we see the thin white duke era faithfully recaptured as Halloween Jack takes requests from the crowd and his silver satin suit sparkles under the spotlight. The crowd then breaks out into an all-out Bowie ball as they sing ‘Life on Mars’ with Halloween Jack high-kicking his way across the stage, a frenzied frolic through ‘Rebel, Rebel’ and a great deal of dancing quite predictably during ‘Let’s Dance.’ As the soaring strains of the chorus to ‘Heroes’ echo around the Glastonbudget site, the crowd reaction makes clear that Absolute Bowie are absolutely bloody brilliant. If the site had a street we would sure as hell be dancing in it!
Showaddywaddy kept the party going on the Main Stage with a healthy dash of rock and roll. With the crowd bopping away to ‘C’mon Everybody’, ‘Dancing Party’ and ‘A Night at Daddy Gees’; one thought is prevalent…Glastonbudget is all about the fun factor. In their multi-coloured jackets, the band then lead us through a dance routine to ‘Sweet Little Rock and Roller’ followed by the bouncing beats of ‘When.’ A singalong rendition of ‘Heartbeat’ is followed by ‘Runaround Sue’ which has couples twirling and twisting throughout the crowd. ‘Angel Eyes’ is dedicated to the ladies and the groovy beats of ‘You’ve Got What It Takes’ lead to a fantastic finale featuring ‘Three Steps to Heaven’ and ‘Under the Moon of Love.’ Showaddywaddy have gone down a storm and have the crowd with their fists in the air singing along to ‘Hey Rock and Roll.’
The Sweet then grace the stage to glam up Glastonbudget. ‘Hellraiser’ sees sign of the horn hands going up around the crowd. ‘Back in the New York Groove’ is then cleverly spliced with Alicia Keys ‘Empire State of Mind’ as Pete quips ‘even some of you young ones knew that one.’ The party atmosphere continues with ‘The Sixteens’ an anecdotal glam rock classic with cool falsetto harmonies and a danceable beat. Lincoln then struts to the front of the stage and launches into ‘Wig Wam Bam’ and out come the slick dance moves that I learnt at Haven holiday camp…oh yes…I am channelling the twelve year old Tanya with gusto and so are the crowd around me. ‘Little Willy’ has the field waving their arms in the air and jumping around in a glam rock star fashion; The Sweet are definitely a band that get the crowd rocking. The crowd start chanting ‘we want Sweet’ and it is easy to see why as the driving drums and staccato vocals of ‘Teenage Rampage’ fill the air and then the audience is clapping along to ‘Love is like Oxygen’, a glam spacey anthem with celestial synth sounds with Lincoln strutting across the stage to an epic instrumental space war sonance where guitars are wielded like weapons. The crowd then becomes manic during the belter that is ‘Blockbuster.’ The four string headless hohner takes a real hammering as dark slowly descends upon the festival crowd. ‘Fox on the Run’ gets an enthusiastic singing along from the crowd and ‘Action’ has joyous air guitar playing and rock star posing all around the audience. Strobe lighting then storms the stage and the crowd energetically encourage one another into excesses of exertion during ‘Ballroom Blitz.’ The Sweet definitely spiced up the crowd and left them hungry for more.
Over at the Big Top, the peerless Pearl Jammer played a radically rocking set that was enthusiastically enjoyed by a moshing crowd. With enough hits and album tracks to satisfy hard core fans of Pearl Jam and those less familiar with the band’s back catalogue, Pearl Jammer certainly know how to work the crowd and recreate the atmosphere of American grunge.
What better way to continue to tear it up throughout the night than TRextasy. Looking very glam in a sparkling gold top and swathed in a purple feather bower, vocalist Danielz launches straight into ‘Twentieth Century Boy’ and the crowds begin to boogie. The bouncy ‘New York City’ has an exuberant crowd jostling around for a dancing spot and then swaying arm-in-arm during the delightful ‘Debora.’ Its flip side ‘One Inch Rock’ is popular with the audience and Danielz and the band are doing a fantastic job recreating the Bolan years. A sensationally sparkly backdrop adds a vista of visuals as the crowd chants along to ‘Metal Guru’ and the field then becomes a gorgeous glam disco as multi-coloured lights penetrate the night sky and the band perform ‘Ride a White Swan’; which becomes a little surreal when someone dressed as ‘The Mask’ invades the stage. Still unsure as to whether this was part of the act; the crowd watch Neil Cross spin wildly with his guitar and launch into ‘Metal Guru’ with the festival fans singing along. ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ is expertly executed and has the audience clapping along with the pace set at rocketing as ‘Telegram Sam’ transports the crowd back to the golden days of glam. The set has songs for real fans as well such as B side ‘Summer’ and then a frantic finale that included ‘I Love to Boogie’, ‘Get It On’ and a brilliant version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ dedicated to musical maverick John Peel. TRextasy are a tribute band so talented that they turn back time – put on your dancing platforms and go to watch them!