Review - T in the Park 2011
All the rain, mud and rock action from Scotland's biggest music festival
Ke$ha ●●● proves trashy entertainment with a set that refuses to take itself seriously. A party up glam stomp though a series of electro pop hits that while low on art is high on glitter and cheap thrills (and inexplicably includes a six-foot penis running about on stage).
Bizarrely House of Pain ●● open with an instrumental funk jam of ‘Apache’, probably not what most people were expecting and it’s not until the juggernaut of ‘Jump Around’s horns blare out across Balado that they really register on an indifferent crowd.
More hip hop but from the opposite end of the spectrum as Odd Future ●● limp on stage (Tyler the Creator sporting a leg cast) but the sound is a mess, the beats and rhymes competing for dominance leading to a muddy shambolic show that ends in a hail of bottle and other detritus aimed at the stage (gamely thrown back by the OFWGKTA collective).
A quick detour to Twilight Singers ●●● on the Red Bull Stage proves the diversity of T’s line-up with solid dark rock from Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli and co.
Slash ●●●● fights the elements but as Myles Kennedy (on vocals) launches into Guns N’ Roses classics ‘Nightrain’, ‘Rocket Queen’, ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’ the crowd are transported to a place ‘Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty’, despite the torrential rain. A small circle pit even breaks out during Velvet Revolver track ‘Slither’. There’s also the very simple joy of watching a master guitarist at work as Slash wrings copious solos from his axe.
Crystal Castles ●●● may have lost some of their shock value over the years but their electro punk is still a thrilling proposition as Alice Glass hurtles around (and off) the stage.
Beyonce ●●● is instantly crowned as T’s reigning pop royalty, bringing pure US glam and glitz to a soggy field in Scotland. It’s an unbeatable opening salvo of ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘Single Ladies’ but does degenerate into too much balladry and warbling, but you can’t deny the vocal prowess of gorgeous closer ‘Halo’.
A set at T is like a homecoming for Primal Scream ●●●● especially as they dust down their essential album Screamadelica, every song a classic, the likes of ‘Movin' on Up’ or a monumental ‘Loaded’ are like old friends sweeping the King Tut’s tent up in their euphoric embrace. Band and crowd grinning and gurning throughout.
Half the audience probably come across Gossip Girl Taylor Momsen’s Pretty Reckless ●● in the King Tut’s Tent while sheltering form the biblical downpour outside but she comes across as little more than a Courtney Love copyist. On the main stage Blondie ●●● on the other hand prove how many great songs they have in their back catalogue and shows how girl fronted punk rock should be done, even if their set feels a little bit damp and defeated to match the weather.
Despite the driving rain it’s a near perfect set from Weezer ●●●●●. Rivers Cuomo instantly connecting with the crowd, it’s fun, frivolous but also proves how great they are as musicians. Their own hits (‘Beverly Hills’ and ‘Hash Pipe’) perfectly blended with inspired covers of Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and a note perfect rendition of Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’, before it all comes to a crashing close with ‘Buddy Holly’ as every member of the band mount the drum kit to hammer home their final moments in a clatter of beats and cymbals.
The Vaccines ●●● certainly aren’t the future of rock’n’roll as they’ve been proclaimed but play a sturdy if wholly derivative set that draws on The Strokes, White Lies and The Ramones.
My Chemical Romance ●●●● bounce though a set that proves they are far more than the emo miserablists their detractors would have you believe. ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ is an obvious centre piece that bristles with pop punk muscle.
Like old friends Pulp ●●●● slink back into your memory reigniting the good times like they’re never been away. ‘Do You Remember the First Time’ is an obvious but welcome opener, Jarvis Cocker’s quips (the News of the World being the focus of his ire) and crazy leg dancing as integral to the show as much loved, much missed tracks of the calibre of ‘Sorted for Es and Wizz’, ‘Disco 2000’, ‘This is Hardcore’ and a truly sublime closer ‘Common People’.
Foo Fighters ●●●● have honed themselves into perfect festival headliners over the years. Dave Grohl powering through a set high in bombast, thrills and hit after hit after hit. Perhaps it’s a risk to open with two new tracks but ‘Burning Bridge’ and ‘Rope’ already fit in seamlessly, an unrelenting pummelling of precision rock bombs. Perhaps they’re too nice at times, the Radio 1 friendly face of rock (only ‘White Limo’ really unleashes the fury) but it’s impossible to deny their crowd-pleasing rifforama of ‘Best of You’, ‘My Hero’, ‘All My Life’ or ‘Monkey Wrench’. They don’t even take time off to leave the stage before their encore as Grohl explains it means they can cram in just one more song. The Foos make festival sized rock and it fits T like a glove.