T in the Park – Sunday
Laura Ennor gives us her pick of the best acts from the final day at Balado.
Bespectacled and be-cardiganed, Findo Gask (●●●●) are the first to take to the BBC Introducing stage on Sunday, as a beaming Vic Galloway looks on like a proud father. They do an admirable job of getting a damp, hungover, and downright crusty crowd going with their guitars, bleeps and yelps. The bleeps keep it sounding fresh and lighthearted, while some chunky guitar and drum sounds get the tired feet tapping and are enough to win over an unfamiliar festival crowd. Throw some rather pleasing three-part harmonies into the mix, and you have a great example of the now rather hackneyed indie-electro-pop genre – what makes these guys stand out is the fact that they are not afraid to write songs that change direction and do something a bit unexpected. And what’s more, it works.
Any doubt that one man, who performs most of his songs sitting down, can fill T’s gigantic main stage is quickly allayed as Seasick Steve (●●●●) and his equally hairy, equally hoary drummer launch into their scuzzy blues racket early on Sunday afternoon. Anyone not familiar with the singer and one-man-band who shot to fame following an appearance on Jools Holland’s Hootenany in 2006 must have trouble working out what was going on, as several thousand achingly hip and carefully coiffed indie kids cheered and scream their approval when a rather old man with a white beard and a bit of a paunch removes his jacket and shirt to reveal a grubby white vest, takes a swig from a bottle of whisky, then slouches up and down the stage in that strange way bluesmen have that slightly resembles a pecking chicken trying to do the moonwalk. When he introduces us to ‘Diddly Bo’, his one string guitar (more accurately described as a piece of flotsam with one string stretched across it, secured at one end to a Green Giant sweetcorn tin) it becomes even more amazing to witness just how much noise these two men can make from their rudimentary instruments. He plays what could be described as his ‘hits’, including ‘Cut My Wings’ and ‘Started Out With Nothing’, but fans and newcomers alike are clearly equally captivated by his storytelling on every song. With the crowd in the palm of his hand, he finishes on ‘Doghouse Blues’, leading an enormous singalong, and running over to greet the crowd again and again before finally leaving them to bask in the satisfaction of having made an old man very happy.
Regina Spektor (●●●●) gets a rapturous response from the crowd in King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent for her set, and the lovably kooky New Yorker is clearly touched by it. With drums and a string section added to her voice and piano, she creates a sound that can really fill this cavernous space, but it seems a shame that she stays seated at her piano for so much of it. When she stands up and picks up a microphone for ‘Hotel Song’ near the end of the set, we get a taste of the great frontwoman she could be. While the piano is a key part of her sound, that voice is undoubtedly her greatest asset and most unique feature. It’s a voice with so much personality (not to mention clarity, resonance and perfect pitch), it would seem fitting for the person behind it to have the chance to shine out at the front of the stage a little more. Nevertheless, the power of her witty, touching and utterly idiosyncratic songs is probably enough to hold the attention of most crowds, even at a festival. Finishing with a glorious, energetic hoedown she calls her ‘country song’, she certainly surprises and engages this crowd to the last moment of the set.
Headlining the first ever BBC Introducing stage are Dananananaykroyd (●●●●), who come across for all the world like a bunch of excited puppies on speed. This band are, above all else, LOUD, but there’s just enough melody in their songs to counterpoint the sheer rawk and the screaming of two singers. Certainly not content to just play to a passive audience, they animate the crowd with exhortations to dance and through the infectiousness of their youthful exuberance. They even instigate a bit of inter-audience bonding, with the ‘Wall of Cuddles’, which today replaces the somewhat more violent ‘Wall of Death’, a feature of some of their more hardcore gigs. These excitable Glasgow boys are clearly so happy to be here, it’s impossible for the audience not to feel the same way – especially if they’re fans of spiky, shouty and original punk-pop.