The thing is, I don't particularly like Kasabian.
When they arrived in 2004, they were just one part of the post-Strokes/Libs, pre-landfill stampede. Franz, Bloc Party, Razorlight, Maximo Park and some chimps called the Arctic Monkeys were all dropping big-selling debut albums, and every skinny-tied indie aspirant worth his Red Stripe was making smug noises about how we were all bearing witness to a golden age.
Tunes like 'Club Foot' and 'Reason Is Treason' were stompy and could probably be considered bangers, if you liked loud, garish indie-rock without a huge amount of heart. In comparison to 'Take Me Out', 'Apply Some Pressure' and anything that came out of Alex Turner's mouth, they paled in comparison.
They followed it up with identikit second album Empire, before the genuinely-good West Ryder Pauper Asylum. With this they changed the game and looked back to the 60s and 70s for influence, rather than peering into the bowels of a Liam Gallagher sci-fi wet dream. Then there was Velociraptor! and new release, 48:13; each prefaced by predictably hyperbolic change-the-game statements, while never actually doing so.
Then they were announced to headline Glastonbury, playing the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday night. There were derisory howls aplenty, which I kinda get. Before Mumford last year, the last three headliners were Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and Blur. So while Kasabian have sold shitload of records and their announcement pleased the man on the street, they're not exactly pulse-quickeners. They've also been on the circuit for a long time; if at any point in the last decade you've been to a commercial music festival, chances are you've seen them or bumped them for Hot Chip in the dance tent.
Over the last few days I've seen two major music websites- Noisey and Drownedinsound- publish Glastonbury guides, wherein they've implored the reader not to go watch them. Again, I can see why. Kasabian are not a band you'd associate with either site, and Meighan jumping about on the world's most sacred stage is anathema to everything they are about. But here's the thing. The other thing.
Kasabian are fucking brilliant live.
I saw them support Oasis at Wembley in 2009, at one of the Gallaghers' last ever shows. They were main support, and I really wasn't that bothered. I could have rolled up minutes before 'Rock And Roll Star' and been plenty pleased. But my mate Chris was a fan so made sure we got there, and as we walked onto the pitch they were strutting onto the stage.
For the next hour they absolutely smashed it.It probably helped that it was a support set so hit- heavy, and that it was in support of West Ryder.... Tunes like 'Fire' and 'Fast Fuse' had the audience bouncing, and in 'L.S.F' the sort of preposterous, sing-a-long closer to unite any crowd.
After they had finished, they'd been so good we were all saying that Oasis might not be able to top them (but then 'Rock And Roll Star' kicked, putting that to bed.)
Whatever way you view the Glastonbury headline choices, it's an entertainment business and the two up front bring it. I actually find Tom's posturing quite endearing- it doesn't look entirely natural. He seems a sweet-hearted boy, looks like he's trying to copy his cooler older brothers. He doesn't quite have the rockstar schtick downpat either; there's too much Ginsters belly. Similarly, the glasses often a bit too Bono to be slick.He'd never start Pretty Green. All positives.
In a live situation, the songs I've mentioned are huge, whatever you're into. Then there's 'Underdog', 'Vlad The Impaler', 'Cutt Off'... It's not music to change the world, but put yourself in the middle of another 100,000 stinking folk and you've got something approaching vintage, Sunday night, one-last-charge mayhem. And yes, you might find amidst of a laddier crowd than you'd get down Corsica or Bush Hall. But you're big now. You can deal with it. They won't bite.
Not everyone will agree and with certain people they'll be on a hiding to nothing. But there's plenty for them on the Other Stage, West Holts or Park. For those at the Pyramid Stage and ready for the final stand, you're in very good hands.
David is the music editor of Sabotage Times and the owner of a fucking crackin' beard. Follow him on Twitter, @gobshout.