30 must-see guitarists at Glastonbury 2013
25th Jun 2013 | 15:25
Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys
The Monkeys man has evolved. Once the cherubic face of Britain’s binge-drinking teenagers, nowadays he’s a slicked-back rock god, spitting out mysterious lyrics and irresistible riffs like a man possessed. Alex Turner would steal your girlfriend, and he’s so bloody good you might just let him.
Arctic Monkeys – RU Mine
Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones
After years of rumour and counter-rumour, 2013 is finally the year the Stones play Glastonbury, and we can’t bloody wait. Expect the whole festival to bow down in front of the Pyramid as the Human Riff does what he does best.
The Rolling Stones – Jumpin' Jack Flash
Nile Rodgers, Chic
Having conquered the world with Daft Punk, one-man funk machine Nile Rodgers is back to the day job at Pilton Farm, where he shall be wielding his white Strat with laser-like precision. Is it possible to dance to disco in wellies? This is where you’ll find out...
Nile Rodgers and Chic – Good Times
He’s young, he’s a bit grumpy, but by God can Nottingham’s finest play the guitar. With a pocket stuffed with skiffle-y crowd pleasers and a number one album to prove his popular appeal, Jake Bugg will no doubt draw a sizable crowd. Mass singalongs and surprisingly excellent guitar solos are the order of the day here…
Jake Bugg – Taste It
Sam Fryer, Palma Violets
Young Samuel Fryer may not be the most polished of guitarists, and Palma Violets are far from the best band on this list, but if you’re in the mood for some highly spirited Libertines-esque racket, then you’d best make your way down to the Park Stage. Drunken hollering has never sounded so fun, and Fryer knows how to make a Tele howl.
Palma Violets – Best Of Friends
The late-blooming star of Searching For Sugar Man will be bringing his distinctive guitar work to the super-trendy Park stage, a tiny arena that we’re predicting he’ll pack out. A must for anyone who’s seen the Academy Award winning film of his story, and simply great music for anyone who hasn’t.
Rodriguez – I Wonder
Some people are born to play Glastonbury, and Devendra Banhart is perhaps the ultimate example. Sun-inflected grooves, psychedelic freak-outs and peace and love vibes make his the perfect accompaniment to a festival Sunday afternoon.
Devendra Banhart – Carmensita
Kevin Parker, Tame Impala
We suspect that Tame Impala are actually the result of a secret experiment hatched many years ago around the Stone Circle to create the ultimate Glastonbury band. Kevin Parker’s feather-light melodies and measured guitar playing could well be the highlight of many a frazzled festivalgoer’s weekend.
Tame Impala – Elephant
There’s never a bad time for a Johnny Marr jangle-storm, and his solo set – sure to be punctuated with Smiths classics – is a must see for any aspiring guitar-wrangler. Sure to make his six-string sing in ways that you never even knew were possible.
Johnny Marr – Generate! Generate!
Josh McClorey, The Strypes
Sickeningly young and impossibly talented, The Strypes are the new kids on the block with a hefty reputation. The Irish blues merchants are pretty much guaranteed to blow up the John Peel Stage, and McClorey’s fretwork will light the fuse. As good a guitarist as any on the bill, and considerably better than most.
The Strypes – Blue Collar Jane
Gemma Thompson, Savages
Brewing up a scratchy, jittery post-punk storm, Gemma Thompson is serious about her noise - and it shows. The ideal antidote to hippy nonsense, Savages will bring a much-needed hint of the dark side to Pilton’s green and pleasant fields.
Savages – City’s Full
Nicholaus Arson, The Hives
The Hives are the best festival band in the world. A bold claim, but watch them and prove us wrong. When he’s not grinding taut garage-rock riffs out of his Tele, Nicholaus Arson is a rock and roll showman of the first degree. Even if you didn’t like them to begin with, you will leave loving The Hives.
The Hives – Main Offender
Gary Clark Jr
There’s always room in any festival for a tasty mess of funky blues played with heart by a man with magic fingers. He’s on one of the smaller stages, but Gary Clark Jr will be more than work the journey away from the bigger arenas.
Gary Clark Jr – Bright Lights
The archetypal dreadlocked hippy that spawned a thousand guitar-tapping imitators, Newton Faulkner is like the acoustic-wielding Glasto campfire guitarist who made it big. Any man who looks like the living embodiment of the festival and has interesting ideas on what the guitar can achieve is well worth a look.
Newton Faulkner – Write It On Your Skin
Look, if you're going to be 'THAT' guy (or girl) and take your acoustic guitar to a festival then you may as well learn how to play something other than the first four chords of Wonderwall. Head along to the Toad Hall area (the evolution of the much-loved Tadpoles stage) on Saturday for an acoustic guitar masterclass. Advice: ask to borrow their plectrums and then refuse to return them.
Oasis - Wonderwall guitar lesson
Nalle Colt, Vintage Trouble
With their unique brand of high octane rock and soul straight out of LA, Vintage Trouble aren’t one of the bigger names on the line-up but we’re quietly confident they’ll have picked up plenty of fans by the time the weekend is out. The perfect post-Stones party band.
Vintage Trouble – Blues Hand Me Down
J. Mascis, Dinosaur Jr.
The Massachusetts alt rock guitar hero hits up The Park Stage on Friday night as the festival starts to hit its peak. 'Jazzmaster J.', as we've decided he's known colloquially, was ranked 86 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest guitarists of all time, which is impressive when you consider that list is ranking everyone on earth, ever. Expect ear-splittingly loud fuzz tones and luscious silver locks aplenty.
Dinosaur Jr. - Out There
JJ Grey/Andrew Trube, JJ Grey And Mofro
JJ Grey's vocals may be the justified star of the show for this soulful Jacksonville blues rock collective, but the frontman's no slouch when it comes to plucking out soulful lead lines on his SG. Equally, backing band Mofro aren't just there to pretty-up the stage - guitarist Andrew Trube is a fine song-serving electric/slide player. Perfect, if you need a dose of shiny blues bombast.
JJ Grey & Mofro - Lochloosa
Wayne Kramer, Solo project (formerly of MC5)
'Brother Wayne Kramer', as he's famously dubbed by MC5 frontman Rob Tyner on the proto-punk's glorious debut Kick Out The Jams, is a unique guitarist. Alongside Fred 'Sonic' Smith he helped craft an explosive sound that decades later came to be recognised as the roots of punk rock. His influence was still felt through the '90s on the likes of Rage Against The Machine.
MC5 - Ramblin' Rose
Open Mic, You (and possibly your mate)
If you're feeling suitably inspired/cocky/off-your-nuts perhaps you should consider getting on stage yourself this year. The Bandstand is holding various open mic slots over the course of the festival meaning you can leave saying you 'played Glastonbury' this summer. Importantly, The Bandstand is located near to the Cider Bus, which is convenient if you're the type of performer that hasn't yet mastered the two-drink rule.
The Wirral's mod squirrel (also one half of Alex Turner's Last Shadow Puppets project) crashed into the top ten earlier this month with his second album, the glam-influenced Don't Forget Who You Are. He co-wrote with Paul Weller and Andy Partridge and the tunes rate about an 8.0 on 'Radar's northern swag-o-meter. More importantly, his live shows are great: frantic, sartorially astounding and with erratic bursts of guitar solos. His band are totally ace, too.
Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are
We understand that a Malian songwriter may not be your highest priority, but instead of spending your Saturday morning hanging with the 'gap yaah' crew in the ultra-phone-brand-corporate-dubstep chill tent, we recommend you check out Rokia Traoré. She's an unusual guitarist, an amazing vocalist and comes with a band of virtuosos that play all manner of West African stringed instruments and guitar predecessors.
Rokia Traoré - Kouma
Austin Williams/Tom Higgins, Swim Deep
If - IF - the festival gods deign to deliver sunshine unto Glastonbury's lusty glades, then we can't think of a better band to soundtrack the resulting flower child vibes than Birmingham's Swim Deep. Guitarists Austin and Tom have an eerie knack for achingly 90s chorus-laden chiming guitar tones and super baggy swinging rhythms, while early hits Honey and The Sea have 'festival anthem' written all over their messy little faces.
Swim Deep - Honey
Danielle Haim, Haim
The world has officially gone nuts for Fleetwood Mac - again. Haim are the more up-to-date version, but with a whole range of folk, RnB and classic rock influences thrown in for good measure. They write bonafide, capital CH, choons - Falling, Don't Save Me and Forever have all entered the national consciousness - and there's not even been an album yet. We caught them live in May and were delighted to discover that Danielle (who's previously played with Jenny Lewis and Julian Casablancas) can tear out a mean solo.
Haim - Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Since breaking through with his brand of hobo rock in the late 00s, Seasick Steve has become something of a ubiquitous festival spirit. Basically, if Steve is not grating his hands on his various 'customised' (i.e. knackered) guitars and pounding The Mississippi Drum Machine at your festival of choice, well, then you're probably attending the second best event taking place that day in your region.
Seasick Steve - Dog House Music
Eoin Loveless, Drenge
Yes, Keef is going to give us the Stannah Stairlift Strut on Saturday night, but even the most blinkered rock fan has to admit that someday the riff kings of old must drift back into the cosmic dust from whence they came. When that times comes, the world will be in need of riffs - big, f***-off, dirty ones - and Eoin Loveless of Peak District two-piece Drenge has them in abundance. We're not saying Drenge are the new Rolling Stones, but they do have awesomely fuzzy guitars - and they could well roll in stoned.
Drenge - Dogmeat
Yannis Philippakis, Foals
Foal's Yannis Philippakis is not exactly a guitar hero in the traditional 'strutting peacock in flame-patterned lycra' guise, but the Oxford math rocker has inspired thousands of kids to puzzle over polyrhythms in the hope of musical fulfilment. Sexual idolatry apparently comes a close second in the motivation stakes these days. Back on task: Foals festival shows are spectacular - all lasers and jerking dance moves - and the rousing Spanish Sahara is a killer jam.
Foals - Inhaler
Johnny Lloyd, Dan White, Tribes
Tribes are as intimately entwined with their London (specifically, Camden) home as red buses, bad steakhouses and one-legged pigeons, but they know how to work a festival crowd (see video). New album Wish To Scream was recorded at Sound City Studios and features some great slide guitar and solo work from guitarists Johnny and Dan. Both of them are massively influenced by The 'Stones, which is probably why they're only doing one set, on the Friday: Saturday is non-negotiably Keef day.
Tribes - Corner Of An English Field
Vincent Neff, Django Django
Mathy electronic indie types Django Django were surprise purveyors of the finest riff of 2012 in the form of Default - you know, the one that goes 'dn dn d-ner-ner-ner dn d-ner-ner-ner dn etc.' Unfortunately, there was no festival last year, so we were denied the massive sing-along we so craved. Their appearance in 2013 will allow us to correct this historic blunder. We've supplied the words above - feel to print them out and take them with you.
Django Django - Default
The Devon singer/songwriter and acoustic savant has had the kind of year that dreams - and also breakdowns due to nervous exhaustion - are made of: 500,000 albums shifted, two Brit Awards and huge sold-out shows. At the heart of it all, Ben Howard mainly wants to get on with playing the guitar, which with his skewed take on acoustic masters like John Martyn, he fortunately does very well.
Ben Howard - Old Pine