"Dexys feel like the greatest secret at Glasto 2024 and the perfect band for the festival." Kevin Rowland et al might have just stolen the show at Glastonbury

Dexys roll back the years with a classy and career-affirming set

Dexy's on stage
(Image: © Getty Images)

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If there was any justice in the world at all, legendary Dexys frontman Kevin Rowland would be walking on during the coveted legends slot on The Pyramid Stage this weekend, as opposed appearing in front of the meagre (but appreciative) crowd that greet him on the far smaller Park Stage this afternoon.

Dexys were once one of Britain’s biggest bands, with a string of hits, multiple number ones and critical adoration from all corners of this country. That was a long time ago, though, and their status has clearly dropped. Much of this may have been down to the notoriously enigmatic Rowland, a man who has changed his bandmates more than he does his socks and has a habit of making moves that seem to deliberately diminish his commercial standing at every turn.

But today Rowland, looking healthy and happy and sounding note-perfect, buries all of his previous demons in a mere 45 minutes, with a set of old and new songs that, in the case of the former, sound as effortlessly unique and memorable as they did back in the early 80s.

The post-punk, neo soul, folk of Tell Me When My Light Turns Green, Geno, Jackie Wilson Says (complete with that iconic photo of darts legend Jockey Wilson), Until I Believe in My Soul and, of course, Come on Eileen all sound every inch the classic UK standards that they deserve to be considered. Even Rowland’s tongue in cheek dad jokes are peppered with a few serious moments, as he barks “Free Palestine, and fuck NATO… they’re behind this!” And opens up about his previous self destructive tendencies with a level of honesty most artists would balk at. Seeing the man back to his rabble-rousing, crowd-pleasing best is quite a sight.

Dexys simultaneously feel like the greatest secret at this year's Glasto and yet the perfect band for the festival. A stunning, beautiful and glorious return from one of our finest artists.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.