T in the Park – Sunday
Kirstin Innes gives her verdict on some of Sunday's highlights at T
As some cruel fates (work) kept me apart from my beloved Karen O on Friday, I was determined to fill up my one day of T-time with as many strange and wonderful womenfolk as possible. First up, VV Brown (●●●) (clothing report: loose black draping, skinny black trousers, trademark quiff, like a sleek bat in couture), who seemed absolutely, genuinely delighted to be there, and worked the crowd up into a serviceable, easy Sunday groove, finishing off with some rootsy reggae riffing on current single ‘Shark in the Water’. She left us with our arms in the air, beaming and promising to buy her album.
Regina Spektor (●●●●) (clothing report: sparkly vintage tunic, also black) and her grand piano were a bit of a strange fit in the King Tut’s tent. The texture of her voice needs big, open stages to soar off; she suited the expanse and drama of the mountain-flanked main stage at Connect (RIP). That’s not to say that her indoor set didn’t have its high points: interestingly, the older, stranger songs like ‘Blue Lips’ and ‘Us’, the ones where she throws her vocal chords around warped staccato noises, seemed to get a better response from the clearly Spektor-fluent crowd than her current, more mainstream stuff. Preachy, recent snore-fest ‘Laughing With’ raised barely a cheer, with neither crowd nor performer very interested, but once that was out of the way the set got gorgeous, Regina coming out from behind the piano to flex her voice towards the end, finally leading us all in a frenetic hoedown. Yes, a hoedown.
My glam gal luck ran out at Little Boots (●● for first three songs), although you certainly couldn’t fault her enthusiasm. She crept onstage covered in a black cloak, beckoning like all three Wyrd Sisters distilled into one pocket-sized electro poppet while the smoke machine and eerie samples worked overtime, before throwing off the cloak to reveal some very expensive looking peachy sequins (that was your clothing report, by the way). The music just didn’t live up to the spectacle, though. She really did give it her all, but either due to dodgy sound engineering or the fact that live electronica is difficult to pull off and she’s just not worked out how to convey her sound live yet, we stood through three slightly tinny-sounding pop songs with indistinguishable vocals, then headed off in search of proper sonic adventure, passing by Elbow knocking out a brilliant rhythm around ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ as we went. Our quarry was TV on the Radio (●●●●●), though (clothing report: lots of plaid shirts, large glasses and one spectacular afro beard), who, after a strange, slow, almost post-rock sounding start that lost them a fairly significant part of the thrill-seeking crowd, built up a beautiful, hour long aural soundscape. I’m only familiar with their latest album, as I suspect many people in the crowd were, but as it’s still current, you’d expect them to be promoting it fairly heavily. I only recognised two songs, though, not that it mattered. They created a continuous, layered piece of art to lose yourself in; it reminded me of how I felt discovering drum & bass when out clubbing in my late teens, not that there was anything remotely drum and bass-y about their bold, brass-laced set. Wonderful, wonderful stuff, and despite Passion Pit (●●●● cr: lots of skinny jeans and beards)’s frenetic, sweat-drenched on stage hyperactivity and the Pet Shop Boys’ (●●●● cr: Neil all in black leather with peaked cap, Chris the same but mirrored silver) typically magnificent, overblown and politically-charged stage show, TV on the Radio were my absolute highlight.
Having been a gigantic fan for more than half of my life, I would have loved to have given that place to Blur, especially as we waited hours for them to come on (Graham Cox was taken to hospital, apparently) and they then announced that this was their last gig (ever?), but I was knocked on the head by a reinforced plastic beer bottle that someone had decided to share with the crowd and had to be dragged out with concussion, so all I remember is that the gospel choir did come on to do a reprise of 'Tender'. I really, really hope that bottle-chucker was a big, big fan too.