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The Cure Glastonbury

The Cure presided over the Pyramid Stage for the first time since 1995, unleashing a perfect set that will be remembered as the bookend to a legendary career.

It’s a poignant setting for a band that first headlined back in 1986. In their ascendency, the Crawley group seemed fated to become post-punky upstarts or funereal doomsayers. That they emerged as emperors of goth and pop, and now stand as great British eccentrics, is testament to their remarkable vision. Their show on Sunday night illustrates the breadth of feeling that can be experienced in a single human life.

True to type, Robert Smith wanders on-stage at showtime head to toe in black, with panda eyes and crispy seaweed hair. He has appeared before the lights even dim, as if lost on his way back to the cemetery. Fans nudge friends as they spot his ambling figure, preparing to start the show. We laugh before we cry.

It also looks like The Cure’s headline set on the Sunday night at Worthy Farm was a big contributor in the spike of interest in the six-string, with website searches for Schecter Guitars – the kind used by the band’s Robert Smith and Simon Gallup – rising by 55% after their set. “But 49 years later it’s amazing to see that people continue to be inspired by their musical heroes and it makes us proud that we’re able to give them everything they need to emulate their favourite musicians.” .

“It’s probably not the first time or the last that I’m going to burst into tears at the end of a show this summer,” he told us about the set down at Worthy Farm, Robert Smith said of the event.

“It was a long weekend and it probably got to me. For the first 20 minutes I was very, very unsure. In some respects, for the first half hour we didn’t really offer much concession to the ‘casual’ listener. Everyone was a little concerned about that. They were going, ‘Oh, maybe we should load the front end of the set with songs that people know a little bit more’, and I was going ‘No, we’ll build towards the end with this big release in the encore’.”

He continued: “I never get nervous, but for about 20 minutes I was like, ‘Ooh, maybe I haven’t read this one right’. Then by the end it was a slight release because the encore was absolutely fantastic. It was just a huge sing-along, but we’re not really that band.”.

Starting with “Plainsong”, the opening section is a transcendent mush largely composed of Disintegration tracks, full of waterfall reverb and basslines that breach an alternate dimension. If Smith once sounded wounded, time has lent him the sinister air of an avenging spirit, ready to reap vengeance through the medium of clingy boyfriend bangers.

It all sounds exquisite. The pitfalls of ageing rock bands never really applied to The Cure, their music a timeless wash and their frontman sounding, even at a sprightly 21, as if he were hovering by death’s door. But at this epic scale, backdropped by a setting Glastonbury sun, they sound otherworldly. The horizon swallows the last sunlight under the Armageddon squall of “Burn”, and it seems inconsequential whether it ever comes up again.

To my right, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien goes wild in the sort of trilby and overcoat combo usually favoured by 19th-century occultists. Moments of magic come in waves: the deferred ecstasy of “Just Like Heaven’s “run away with you” chorus, the way “A Forest” conjures a gorgeous dread you could sleep inside, before “Shake Dog Shake” shatters its reverie with diabolical thunder. But it’s in the finale – after Smith has taken “two minutes to put my pop head back on” – that all the pieces click.

“I’ve been here over the weekend,” he says on his return. “It’s just hot and f***ing excellent. It’s just weird to be part of it. What we do on stage is difficult to translate into this. Hang on. It isn’t. The next half-hour is Glastonbury.” If he had his bearings, he might accurately have said: the next half hour is Glastonbury history.

In a climax that sweeps from “Lullaby” to “Friday I’m in Love”, “Close to Me” to “Why Can’t I Be You”, Smith lets loose: vogues and scats during “Close to Me”, hobbles around and scrunches his face. It’s a strange and mesmerising spectacle that reminds us, before we head back to reality, that the world’s greatest glories will always belong to the weirdos.  The Cure at Glastonbury 2019

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The Cure bring their melancholic, majestic melodies back to Roskilde Festival Black clothing, sooty eyeliner, blood-smear lipstick and a cobwebbed forest of hair have always made Robert Smith a stand-out front figure. And once you have heard him and the rest of The Cure give sound to their sometimes mournful, sometimes ecstatic, always dead-on-catchy songs, you find a true signature there as well.

Robert Smith and co. have been around in various line-ups for 40+ years now, and they have a hit-after-hit catalogue of songs for a massive live show.  Today, The Cure have sold about 30 million records worldwide, and they have released no less than three best-of compilations. This says a lot about the popularity surrounding a band that started playing post-punk in the London suburb of Crawley before moving onwards to an infectious mix of haunting melancholy and off-kilter pop. Through the years they have produced more than 30 critical singles, including ear worms like “The Lovecats”, “Close To Me”, “Just Like Heaven”, “Lullaby” and “Friday I’m in Love”. Among their 13 studio albums they have created dark masterpieces that remain on various ‘best ever’ lists, including Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers.

The Cure has always put on marvellous shows that resonate with thousands of Roskilde-goers. And once they start playing they don’t stop anytime soon. Their setlists are always immense.

Seeing the Cure live is much more than a celebration of their legacy. You sense that you’re witnessing that rare feat of a decades-old band perhaps entering their prime rather than their twilight years. On their 1982 track “Pornography” Robert Smith sings: “I must fight this sickness, find a cure”. A vivid image on how The Cure’s music is soul-cleansing, cathartic stuff.

Setlist:

00:00:00 – Intro 00:01:40 – Shake Dog Shake 00:06:20 – From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea 00:14:20 – Just One Kiss 00:18:40 – Lovesong 00:22:26 – Last Dance 00:27:31 – Pictures of You 00:35:04 – High 00:38:44 – A Night Like This 00:43:04 – Burn 00:49:29 – Fascination Street 00:54:29 – Never Enough 00:57:34 – Push 01:02:16 – Inbetween Days 01:05:13 – Just Like Heaven 01:09:12 – Play for Today 01:13:16 – A Forest 01:21:26 – Primary 01:25:35 – Want 01:30:47 – 39 01:38:09 – One Hundred Years [encore] 01:50:12 – Lullaby 01:55:03 – The Caterpillar 01:58:59 – The Walk 02:02:32 – Friday I’m in Love 02:06:27 – Close to Me 02:10:00 – Why Can’t I Be You? 02:13:49 – Boys Don’t Cry

FUTURE YARD
ANNA CALVI , BILL RYDER-JONES, NILUFER YANYA    STELLA DONNELLY    PIXX, SZUN WAVES  AUDIOBOOKS  ,QUEEN ZEE ,SQUID + MUCH MORE

Birkenhead plays host to the inaugural FUTURE YARD FESTIVAL this August bank holiday: a two-day celebration of the best national, international and local contemporary new music set across some of Birkenhead’s iconic spaces. Catch headliners ANNA CALVI and BILL RYDER-JONES across the multi-venue festival, plus loads more.

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2Q Festival Lincoln tickets

L’ÉPÉE (EMMANUELLE SEIGNER, ANTON NEWCOMBE, THE LIMIÑANAS) •FAT WHITE FAMILY •  ICEAGE • THE WARLOCKS • NIGHT BEATS • BLACK MIDI • MYSTIC BRAVES • LE VILLEJUIF UNDERGROUND • THE PSYCHOTIC MONKS • FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS • NEW CANDYS • TVAMNew additions FRUSTRATION •  KING KHAN’S LOUDER THAN DEATH • MATTIEL • VANISHING TWIN • DERYA YILDIRIM & GRUP ŞIMŞEK • FRANCE • JUMAÏ and MIËT have been announced, topping off the confirmations already released:

Two Day Passes are on sale now, Single Day Tickets are coming soon.

The city of Angers, and the Le Quai theatre are an incredible setting and we can’t wait to go back. Join us for year 7 in France!