"This feels like the beginning of something very special." Kneecap's lairy, explosive pre-noon set starts Glastonbury's Saturday bill with a bang

Kneecap, Ireland's most provocative rap group, kick off Saturday at Glastonbury in rude and raucous fashion

Kneecap, Glastonbury
(Image: © Luke Brennan/Redferns)

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Considering that they largely communicate in Gaeilge (Irish), only released their debut album Fine Art a fortnight ago, and that it’s 11:30 in the morning when they take the stage, the fact that the crowd in attendance for Kneecap's Glastonbury debut spills far outside of The Woodsies tent is incredibly impressive.

“Fucking hell! What are you all doing here? Go to bed!” shouts Mo Chara (Liam Óg Ó Hannaidh), one of the groups two MC’s, alongside Móglaí Bap (Naoise Ó Cairealláin). In a year where a lot of the big draws are fairly mainstream, family-friendly and cuddly, Kneecap bring a sense of legitimate danger and aggression to Glastonbury, The fast-rising West Belfast trio are, unquestionably, the lairiest band you’ll see at this year's festival, slagging off everyone from the British royal family to shite sniffer dogs (on the self-explanatory Your Sniffer Dogs Are Shite, from their first mixtape, 2018's 3CAG) in their bouncy, boom-bapping electro hip-hop.

In less-capable hands, their staunchly aggressive political rhetoric could be po-faced, but Kneecap somehow manage to be hilarious company, even with the  truly terrifying, balaclava-wearing DJ Próvaí (JJ Ó Dochartaigh) in their ranks. At one point they start a circle pit by pointing out one bloke's daft hat and demanding that he starts it, then mug off the “OAP’s moping at the back”.

By the time they finish with a storming run through the brilliantly instantaneous H.O.O.D - an early single, not included on Fine Art, but a key track in their upcoming biopic - Belfast's beastly boys have the packed tent eating [bricfeasta] out of their hands. This feels like the beginning of something very special.

Good luck to whoever has the job of keeping them sober for their 1:30am set on the Shangri-La stage...

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.