Much controversy has surrounded Sunday night headliners of previous years at Glastonbury. Beyonce, Jay-Z and Mumford & Sons, all with chart-topping singles, were unable to escape the purist skeptics. The huge amount of media attention afforded to this slot is a testament to its importance, not only to the thousands of mud-caked festival goers but also to the festival’s organisers. Love it or hate it, the Sunday night slot is what defines the year’s festival, and Kasabian did little to disappoint.
With their first Glastonbury appearance back in 2005, and a Pyramid performance in 2009, the group looked totally at ease stepping onto the stage. The ban plugged a number of tracks from their new album, 48:13, not yet a month old; most notably ‘bumblebeee’ and ‘Eez-eh’, the latter of which will surely become an iconic Kasabian track.
Fans who hadn’t yet familiarized themselves with the album would have been pleased to hear that they have remained entirely faithful to the driving-rock sound of their very first album, only with an air of greater self-confidence that comes with a decade of experience.
Sergio Pizzorno was able to showcase his vocal talent in the middle of the set with an impressive cover of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, followed by lead vocals on the song he penned himself, ‘Take Aim’. Perhaps the most surprising addition to the band for the evening was not the return of former guitarist Christopher Karloff, but comedian Noel Fielding, whose comic, if slightly incredulous appearance as Vlad the Impaler added a touch of humour to proceedings.
However, the most memorable moments of this headline set were those of the tracks from their two earliest albums. ‘Empire’ was anthemic and during ‘Club Foot’the ground at Worthy farm quite literally shook. All in all, Kasabian did a slick and professional job, giving Michael Eavis plenty of reasons to invite the group back to the biggest headline slots in the festival calendar.