T in the Park 2010: The Proclaimers, Sunshine Underground and General Fiasco
T in the Park blog
Saturday 10th Jul
It’s been almost a decade since I last set foot within the hallowed T in the Park grounds, so, eager to see how – or even if – things had changed since my halcyon days of teenage revelry, I find myself on the 10.30 bus with very much a school trip spirit in the air. It's an hour, more or less, to get from the bright lights of the city to the brighter lights of Balado, but the two situations couldn’t be further apart. It’s clear to see on arrival which happy campers had let the summer-esque weather we’ve been having lull them into a false sense of security, but there’s still a wide range of attire, from hotpants to duffel coats, wellies aplenty and the infamous yellow T in the Park ponchos. Yes, it’s raining, not badly, but that annoying drizzle which, although not torrential, leaves you far more soaked than you imagine you are. But really, what do we expect?
After the first of hopefully many Tennents to really get the party started, and a wander to see who’s on, we stumble across prodigal Bow-based rapper Chipmunk (●), or Chip Diddy Chip as I’m told he likes to be called. This is pretty much hands-in-the-air rap which is largely intelligible, but the teens down the front seem to enjoy it, getting into the swing of things when he plays ‘Diamond Rings’ and at least the man (Teenager? Boy?) who is ‘lyrically Mayfair on Monopoly’ (his words, not mine) has a good, tight band.
Choosing the ducking and diving method of navigating the many bands on offer, it’s time for something completely different, General Fiasco (●●●) are pop rock from Ireland, genuinely good, with an indie mood and songs that reek of future anthemic classics. Growling guitars, shouty vocals and a clap-along vibe, what more could you ask for at noon on a Saturday? A quick peek in at Diana Vickers, ex-X Factor hippie chick reveals nothing but an odd red catsuit and a young girl’s attempt to be Janis Joplin of the 21st century. Time to move on.
A stop to refuel and succumb to the poncho (so it’s not the most fashionable thing in the world, but it keeps you dry, okay?) then to the T Break stage where Kitty and the Lion (●●●) are warming up. The place is packed and once they begin it’s clear why they already have such a strong fanbase. A charming frontwoman is always a winner, but when backed by a thumping double bass and cracking mandolin riffs, the noise that radiates from the small stage is a sublime attack on the ears. With catchy lyrics and a general quirky overall presence, they may be incredibly similar to Pearl and the Puppets, but that is no bad thing. Their MySpace page says they have a single out to download; I know I’d buy it and I’ll be keeping a close, hopeful eye on these guys.
The drizzle seems to be dying down a bit, so it’s time to brave the outdoors again and it’s a good thing too as Sunshine Underground (●●●) grace the Radio 1 stage. I don’t know what it is about the band, perhaps it’s the stunning vocals paired with a masculine, bass heavy rhythm section, but they really are bringing out the bromances left, right and centre. Or maybe that’s just the alcohol. ‘Borders’ is sublime, written for this sort of thing and performed magnificently. I think I may have found one of my new favourite bands.
As we head back to King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent, it seems as thought Broken Social Scene are bringing the skank to T in the P, with a ska pop number that has everyone up and dancing. However, they soon show a less bouncy side with ‘Forced to Love’ and the multi-membered band go a bit synth pop with blistering guitar-based middle-8s. They truly go out on a high with an instrumental number (I really wish I could remember its name) which is chock-a-block with dance-along hooks and infectious energy. Good call, guys.
There’s a river of revellers heading towards the main stage; a sea of golden headed poncho wearers, all intent on a gig that’s bound to bring the feel good factor through the rain. The Proclaimers (●●●●) could have done this with their eyes closed, after all, what could be more guaranteed to make one feel patriotic than a combination of a dreich T in the Park and Scotland’s prodigal sons. However, the premiere bespectacled geek-chic band of bros take to the stage for a bit of a shaky start. Something isn’t right – it’s too quiet, a mic needs turned up, and Craig/Charlie’s voice is croaky, almost impossible to hear over the karaoke that’s going on all around. But, only second song in, ‘Letter from America’, and everything is alright. There’s something very cool about the boys, with their 50s style beats and rollicking harmonica and they tick all the boxes. However, it’s ‘Sunshine on Leith’ that really kicks off the festival for me. With every man, woman and child singing along, the air is crackling with energy and even the rain has cooled off. By the time ‘500 Miles (I’m Gonna Be)’ comes round, the crowd has gone a bit mad and I’ve never felt so Scottish. T in the Park has officially begun.