T In The Park – Friday
- Chris Cope
- 13 July 2009
Chris Cope reviews the acts making a big splash at the first night of T.
Brain melting prog-rock isn’t always the best way to ease the hangovers from the night before, and naturally it seemed like The Mars Volta (●●●) and their noodling found it a little difficult to energise the somewhat prostrate crowd. That’s not to say the band were mutually lethargic, with singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala shimmying under his afro with real pizazz. Unfortunately, though, for a festival set it lacked some of their greater hits, but the musicianship on the stage was mesmerising.
For a band formed in 1996, playing on the Futures stage seemed a bit of a misnomer, but anal retentiveness aside Glasgow’s Camera Obscura (●●●) managed to pull in a sizeable crowd and impressed with their laid-back twee sound. On a bill of superstars from around the globe, it’s always nice to see one of our own whip up a bit of interest at the festival, and with Tracyanne Campbell’s smooth singing whisping over the top of the swaying music there was a really amazing atmosphere in the cosy tent.
Over on the Radio One/NME stage, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (●●●●) had the unenviable task of competing with Scotland’s favourite sons Franz Ferdinand for the crowd’s attention, but come the end of their set the folks at the second stage were pretty certain they had made the right choice. Karen O was in typically flamboyant form and the band's stripped down, rudimentary set-up coped with the demands of the open-air festival stage admirably. And with a cameo of the East Kilbride pipe band during ‘Skeletons’ and two massive eye balloons being lobbed into the crowd, this New York trio laid down a precedent for the rest of the bands on the T In The Park bill on how to put on a fine show.
Kings Of Leon’s headlining set (●●●●) seemingly transcended normality, with the massive crowd stretching back to somewhere near Glasgow. The tens of thousands sang along to every word and every syllable, with frontman Caleb Followill’s voice suffocating under the Balado roar. This was especially true in ‘Sex Is On Fire’, with the chorus culminating in perhaps the largest mass uttering of the word ‘sex’ that has ever been.
With Kings of Leon soaking up most of the crowd over at the main stage, Crystal Castles (●●●) had the job of satisfying those less enthused about guitars and rock music, but they did so with aplomb. A severe danger for those of epileptic nature, their show was punctuated by eye-shattering strobe lighting, but looking beyond the theatrics, there was pretty impressive electronic bombast on show.