June, Saturday 29th, 2019. Glastonbury had returned after a miserable fallow year without it. Me and my old friend Sam are slow roasting in our mate’s Dad’s car, outside the festival. It’s our third day of trying to get into the festival after optimistically thinking we would have been on the musical side of the fence by Thursday. Each morning we listened to our fate via phone call from the inside. Jel’s phone call Saturday morning was specifically a low point. It was getting ever so dangerously close to Sunday.
Sam is a real Robert Smith fanboy. The Cure’s set was Sunday night. The last of the live music, the closing Pyramid Stage set. It was a perfect goal to set ourselves. Make it inside the festival before the start of The Cure’s performance, and it would surely all be worthwhile. It was feeling less and less likely by the day. Hitchhiking to the nearest town to drink away our sorrows and try to laugh off our festival failure, was becoming a little tedious by the third day. I don’t think me and Sam had said a word to one another for a good hour when Worthy FM, the festivals official radio station, decided to project some Cure through the car’s speakers. The song was exactly what we both needed, it completely and utterly changed the mood. We laid back on our slanted seats and let the song resurrect us back towards optimism.
Eventually, we got a phone call that wasn’t an ultimately miserable one. It was the one we had been waiting for and it was our moment to get in, at just gone 4am on the Sunday morning. Perfect. Reinvigorated by our multiple dreamy nights sleeps in the Volkswagen, we had never been so ready to see The Cure. Some seriously special performances, memorably by Fat White Family and Roy Ayers throughout the day were wonderful, but just a warm up for a band we had waited so longingly to see.
Ironically the opening choice of Plainsong felt nothing but plain, only brilliant. Smith’s voice was astonishingly untouched. I completely understand that to fans lucky enough to have grown up with The Cure, it didn’t sound quite the same, but for me, it was so soothing to hear. Pictures Of You live was one of the greatest, topped off by Boys Don’t Cry, the icing on the overdue cake. A Glasto memory never to be forgotten.
This was my first time at this pretty special venue. But I couldn’t help but think it was a temporary music venue with other events better suited to it. The gig not being sold out made it super easy to get drinks which is always a Godsend when you don’t plan on missing half the set for a mediocre piss tasting pint.
Mac Demarco himself was pretty fucking cool. He’s got this real no fucks given attitude, where others might be concerned with giving off a vibe of being a total weirdo he quite really does embrace the weird. Two screens either side of the stage stalking the band were constantly smothered with clips of obscenely muscly bodybuilders, which made no sense whatsoever, but somehow aligned with the rest of the weirdness. I found it quite amusing. Another guy who I knew nothing about was on stage pre encore, acting almost like a hype man. His chanting of ‘I want you to scream till you split your spleen!’ was an unusually aggressive way in terms of the music of getting people going. The music itself was absolutely great. Yet again we missed the first few songs by turning up too late – which turned out to be scorchers too. Nobody a particularly gutting one to miss. Softened by the superb Chamber of Reflection finale and epic and not so soft take on Metallica’s Enter Sandman. Mac DeMarco and his band finishing on a fantastic rocky high, still with cuts of Rocky Balboa looking men rolling behind.
I want you to scream ‘til you split your spleen
Weird hype man
However, the reason we bought these tickets anyway is because we were so gutted about missing him at Glastonbury. Failing to get tickets this year meant that we spent majority of it in a stinking hot car, waiting for an opportunity to try and break in to the mother of all festivals. Checking out the lineup for each day was a fantastic sucker punch to our situation. When coming to terms that we were missing Mac’s set on the Saturday, we booked tickets for this gig there and then. A more fitting way to deal with the heartache, rather than plan B – strolling straight into the festival confidently adamant that we were Kurt Vile (me with my long brown hair) and Mac (Sam with his short scruffy hair) picking up a couple of guitars on the way in to look the part. However, this made it all the more sweet actually seeing him eventually, and on Sam’s Birthday too. I truly hope the seven Birthday shots he was bought in the pub pre gig weren’t too much of a burden on his eventual muscly Mac experience.