T in the Park - Saturday

Friendly Fires

Having utterly failed to 'tweet' from T in the Park, Brendan Miles is given a second chance to voice his thoughts on some of the best acts to grace Scotland's biggest music festival

OK. So I’ve finally thrust myself headfirst into the wonderful world of technology and have my phone ready to tweet to the List Twitter account about everything good at T in the Park. Took me three hours to get the application set up properly this morning and my first tweet comes from the bus on the way there... which is also my last one of the day. My phone gives up the ghost as soon as I walk into the media area and refuses to even make or receive phone calls. The future is neither bright nor a primary colour. Grrr.

Anyway, that aside I’m slightly happier now I’ve got a drink in my hand and fancy seeing someone soon to forget my technology woes. Calvin Harris (●●●) on the main stage it is then. A surprisingly big crowd for only the second act which I later find out is partly thanks to the Horrors no-show due to illness. Calvin’s up for it, though, and blasts his way through his cyber-disco set. Apparently he’s fond of both “the 80’s” and playing to the Scottish crowd - he frequently refers to his Dumfries background and changes the words to his anthem ‘The Girls’ to scream “I love those Scottish girls!”. We also find out his drummers knackered his back coughing in a cold shower back stage. Probably one of stranger accidents to happen this weekend. Actually this is T in the Park. It’s probably one of the less strange ones.

Off to get another drink then – the sun’s shining and I wouldn’t want to get dehydrated now would I? Wander in to Iglu and Hartley (●●●●) straight after. Heard very little about them before this but I listened to ‘In this city’ on Spotify the night before and they sounded like good festival fun. They blast onstage looking like an 80s rock super-group. Lead singer from The Darkness, Guitarist from Spinal Tap. Sam Martin, the second vocalist dons purple lycra leggings with an over-sized bright yellow T-shirt. I think I’m going to like this lot. And sure enough I do. Bursting with energy they gather a decent sized crowd very quickly pulling in people from left right and centre to form a bouncing, pogoing mass of fun and frenzy. Go and see this band play live. If you have even an ounce of fun in your body you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

The next band on our essential, albeit by now slightly smudged, running order was Friendly Fires (●●●●). Coming in to Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’ is a sure fire way to ingratiate yourself to any Scottish crowd and so it proved with the audience responding to the memorable opener ‘Lovesick’. The crowd is by far the largest King Tut’s had seen all day and we are even treated to an impromptu appearance from the Foals’ Jack Bevan for ‘On Board’. Throughout the set Ed Macfarlane thrashes his skinny, angular body around like his very life depends on it and the crowd respond in kind with smiles, sweat, dancing and the odd pint glass over-enthusiastically hurled in their general direction.

The set highlight, however, has to be the penultimate track ‘Paris’ with its irresistible hooks and by the time they’re finished I’m convinced that I too will end up living there as the lyrics suggest. Leaving the stage to screams and shouts of approval they’ll be back to T in the Park again but next time expect them on a bigger stage if this performance is anything to go by.

We leave as soon as they finish and make a beeline for the Slam Tent where Laurent Garnier(●●●) is playing a live set. Timing it perfectly we bounce into the start of ‘Crispy Bacon’ which sends the Slam tent faithful crazy. We’re then treated to some of his more recent drum and bass work before the brass section gets its full workout to ‘The man with the red face’. That saxophonist player has some lungs. I would imagine they’re in a slightly better state than mine after chain smoking my way through the day so far.

Green Velvet’s (●●) up next and the man I’ve most wanted to see since he practically blew the roof off the Slam tent (and every other venue I’ve ever seen him play live) a few years ago. Curtis Jones’ blend of post-Chicago house and driving, infectious sonic techno assaults is quite simply the perfect festival fodder. Or so it should have been. Sadly he over-indulges himself greatly in the first half-hour with a set that builds without ever really going anywhere. He also isn’t half as good a singer as he obviously now believes he is. I wonder how many other people like me wish back for the days of his hedonistic past? The soundtrack to his life was certainly better back then. I slope back to the media tent disappointed to drink far too many shots far too quickly and then it’s out to see The Killers (●●●).

Standing up on the natural hill to the left hand side of the main stage, the wind has picked up a bit and the sound is swirling around so we meander down into the centre to hear the opening for ‘Human’. The crowd starts singing along in unison. Well except for one man who’s standing with his back to the stage stark, bollock naked shouting at the T in the Park faithful to 'Come on!'. The crowd duly obliges and shower him with empty Irn-Bru bottles and some not so empty cans of cider judging by the sound as one cracks off his skull. He seems oblivious though and so are we, lost again in the treat that is ‘Somebody told me’. The usual Joy Division cover ‘Shadowplay’ is present and all accounted for but it’s not until ‘Mr Brightside’ that the crowd really erupts to the sounds of the Vegas band. The audience then put on their best T in the Park voices to launch into the classic refrain 'I've got soul but I'm not a soldier' during ‘All the things I’ve done’. Finishing their encore with ‘When you were young’ The Killers depart to great applause and so do we - to experience the madness that is the T in the Park bus home. Loud, exuberant and full of fun the travellers pretty much sum up the day in full.

T in the Park

From relatively humble beginnings, T in the Park has become the acknowledged behemoth of the Scottish festival scene and one of the UK's largest events. In 2015 the festival moved from its longstanding Balado location to the new grounds of Strathallan Castle in Perthshire. Bands appearing in 2016 include The Stone Roses…