T in the Park 2010: Black Keys, Frightened Rabbit and Eminem
T in the Park blog
Saturday 10th July
For the obsessive music fan, it’s one of the eternal frustrations of festivals that sometimes the bands you love don’t get the attention they deserve. This was very much the case with Broken Social Scene, who took to the stage at an eye-wateringly early 2pm for an uplifting set of ‘forgiveness rock’. They’re wasted on an early slot like this, as no-one seems to have quite built up the energy to dance yet, but at least there do seem to be a lot of new converts in the audience.
It’s a similar scenario with Four Tet - obviously someone has to play the Slam Tent at three in the afternoon, but unless you’re one of the significant minority already in their substance-aided happy place, it’s a little hard to get into his sound at this time of day.
After a brief soujourn in Healthy T - the posh food bit, where the food is on the whole cheaper than outside - it’s off for Frightened Rabbit’s set at King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent. Playing T is always a bit special for Scottish bands, but every year there’s that one group who are just on the cusp of making it really big, returning to Scotland for the first time in a while after putting in the miles on the touring circuit, whose set marks the biggest moment of their careers so far. Frightened Rabbit are just that band this time, visibly made-up by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd and playing a triumphant set that finishes on a big ol’ singalong of ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ - the occasion may be joyous, but this is still Scots miser-indie par excellence and a song about messed-up sexual encounters and rotting jealousy does nothing to dampen the mood.
We catch the end of a raw and rocking set from the Black Keys, playing to a disappointingly sparse crowd on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, before trekking back through the mud, which is now producing an oddly spongy sensation underfoot, to see an infectiously bouncy set from We Are Scientists in Tut’s Tent. Our zig-zagging route then takes us through a huge crowd of expectant Stereophonics fans to the T Break stage for Sparrow and the Workshop who have a great indie sound with country-tinged vocals, but seem somewhat subdued on stage - perhaps as a result of the relative emptiness of the tent.
Laura Marling is clear-voiced and engaging as ever in the Futures tent, letting us into the slightly dubious ‘secret’ that she in fact thinks of the Highlands when singing the song ‘Goodbye England’. Then it’s over to the main stage for a distinct change of mood.
Slim Shady’s still got it, and he too seems to know that flattery is the way to 50,000 people’s hearts: in ‘Stan’ he changes the words to ‘remember when we met in Scotland’, and there’s a 4-second delay before everyone roars with delight. He’s churning out the hits tonight, although, bless him, he does seem to think he’s playing somewhere called Edin Berg.
The best thing about this experience may well be watching our immediate neighbours in the crowd, who fall into one of two camps: on the one hand there’s those who go for it full throttle, Weegie gangstas and Stirling hos embracing the crotch-grabbing posturing of it all; then there’s the ones who aren’t quite sure if it’s acceptable to dance to Eminem in the same way one dances to Belle and Sebastian, every now and then looking a bit sheepish to catch themselves throwning a gang sign. (For next time, those people might find this a good place to start brushing up on their flocabulary.) At 37, the global megastar still looks like a skinny white boy hiding in a hoodie, but he’s well in charge of this show -- finishing with the high drama of ‘Lose Yourself’ and revelling in the glory of conducting several final flourishes before leaving the Balado crowd in darkness to party away the (finally dry) night.