Gallery & review: T in the Park – Balado, near Kinross, Fri 12–Sun 14 Jul 2013
Twentieth TITP features Mumford and his sons, Kraftwerk, Chvrches, Snoop, Roman Nose and some blazing heat
Twenty years in, even the sunny weather had been booked for this celebration edition of T in the Park. The site basked in a good feeling under the hot sun, and across the weekend the more anthemic artists went down well in front of big crowds. In particular, a bunch of Scottish old-stagers were deployed to liven up proceedings and get the singalongs going further down the bill, including festival openers The Proclaimers, Texas, The View, the reformed Fratellis and Deacon Blue. The latter bunch seemed nervous, with Ricky Ross saying he felt like he was 'at a teenager's birthday party’, but an emotional communal version of 'Dignity' was one of the weekend's less likely but utterly fitting highs.
Speaking of the olden days, who knew Kraftwerk would not only appear here but actually go down a treat with their full 3D audio-visual show? Four guys (Ralf Hutter is the only original member left) perched behind fluorescent-lit podia, they merged into the high contrast animated background and no doubt blew some addled minds given the hour. A full greatest hits set, (including ‘The Robots’, 'Trans Europe Express', 'Tour de France Etape 1', 'Neon Lights', 'Radioactivity' and ‘Autobahn’ among lots more) were some of T's finest and most diverse moments of those twenty years, although it seemed that a crowd which thinned as they went on all had the same thought – we'd better see Mumford and Sons just to give them their due. Despite having just done the same thing at Glastonbury the unit-shifting rustic aristos were odd headliners, though. They’ve got two lovely big anthems in ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Lover of the Light’, and a bunch of pleasant, soft-focus folk-rockers which belong in a concert hall. The crowd clapped politely, pleased but hardly transported somewhere special.
A similar clash occurred on Saturday, with the mighty My Bloody Valentine headlining the Transmissions Stage and sending tremors through the ankles of anyone who came near, while Beady Eye held court on the Radio 1 Stage. We couldn't be bothered walking all that way, so you'll have to guess what Liam and co sounded like. Instead, we had a date with Rihanna at the climax of one of the most pop T days on living memory, with Paloma Faith, The Script and cartoon gangsta and (these days) pimped Bob Marley reincarnation Snoop Dogg mooching through his greatest hits with an actual blunt-smoking cartoon dog onstage.
It didn’t take long for Rihanna to win the day before a T crowd probably more used to seeing trad guitar-throttlers rule the roost here (case in point: Sunday’s headliners The Killers, who unlike the Mumfords at least have a mighty array of big hits with nonsensical lyrics which everyone likes to sing along with). Much like Beyonce’s appearance on this stage two years ago – but for nearly the whole ninety minutes instead of three mesmerising, epochal songs – Rihanna looked and sounded like the future in action, strutting in a tigerprint silk dress emblazoned with the year of her birth (‘88’) and fusing in her lyrics a seductive blend of attitude and doubt. At once she rang true and belonged to another world.
Elsewhere it was pleasing to note that some of the biggest future pop-stars-in-waiting were from these very parts. There was Chvrches of course, with one of those late afternoon tented shows that will go down as a ‘where were you…?’ moment when they graduate to the main stage, and some reserved but majestic synth-pop from Axwell’s new best buddies Discopolis. An honourable mention is also due to electro-meets-live drumming cataclysm Roman Nose, three guys in double denim and wrestler’s masks who look like they’re channelling the comic version of Batman’s nemesis Bane. Once seen never forgotten, especially by a mind affected by this damn heat.
The following photos are courtesy of Duncan Bryceland.