Review: Sunday at T in the Park 2016
Stand out sets from LCD Soundsystem, Slaves, John Grant and Major Lazer
It seems dull to start a review talking about infrastructure and logistics but the major teething problems at the new site last year became such a big news story it's worth addressing. Entry to the site was far quicker and slicker, the bus drop offs and pick ups ran smoothly and the new layout helped alleviate most of the bottle necks. However the new placement of the King Tut's tent in its own cul de sac round the back of the fest was misjudged especially when slogging through the muddy terrain. And the weather was not kind to Strathallan. By Sunday a thick gloopy sludge covers the arena.
Ian Broudie's The Lightening Seeds have been around even longer than T, seasoned vets used to battling the elements. In direct contrast to the gloomy weather 'Pure' is a gorgeous slice of parping pop brilliance that would bring a smile to even the soggiest festival goers face. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are similarly upbeat with their bad boy boogie and grizzled gospel stompers.
Slaves have perfected their shouty rabble rousing. A two man blitzkrieg of drums, riffs and screaming slogans. A snarling mash up of The Sex Pistols and The Streets their set teeters the edge of chaos as 'The Hunter' and 'Hey' hurtle across the Perthshire countryside. Isaac Holman favours a standing stripped to the waist drumming style, branding themselves the 'best band in the world'. And with their big, brash, bolshie performance it's hard to argue.
John Grant mixes throbbing electro with hugely personal tunes played out on a grand scale. He's effortlessly charismatic with his hip-shaking frugging across the stage. An offbeat crooner over acid squelches and funk grooves switching to apocalyptic ballad 'Queen of Denmark' and a rousing singalong of 'GMF'. Simply gorgeous.
Echoing a recent trend, dance beats take over Strathallan as the sun sets. Faithless provide the dinner party friendly house anthems followed by big room dubstep, EDM and dancehall of Major Lazer who throw literally everything at the audience. Not ashamed to resort to the cheapest tricks to get hands in the air, essentially a pimped out DJ set from Diplo and Jillionaire blasting out squawking beats backed by a quartet of twerking dancers, pyro, smoke and hype man Walshy Fire. Slick, ridiculously entertaining crowd pleasing nonsense.
The unlikeliest comeback of 2016 continues: Craig David's TS5 features the Southampton soulster singing over the top of a DJ set of R&B, hip hop and pop from TLC to Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Justin Bieber. It's a bizarre karaoke megamix that almost works but you can't deny David has an amazing voice.
It's a surprisingly small crowd gathered for James Murphy's return as LCD Soundsytem. A furiously intelligent take on dance music. The band are so tight and Murphy's passion and commitment is palpable, his cowbell solo on 'Daft Punk is Playing at My House' is punk funk perfection.
It's easy to forget headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers were once considered one of the most dangerous and shocking bands on the planet. Except for a juddering 'Nobody Weird Like Me' (powered by Flea's thundering bass) and a sublime 'Under The Bridge' it's a low key performance continuing their drift into MOR rock balladry.