Review: Friday at TRNSMT 2017 (4 stars)

Review: Friday at TRNSMT 2017

Rag 'n' Bone Man / credit: Ryan Johnston

The new Scottish festival kicks off with Rag 'n' Bone Man, Belle & Sebastian and Radiohead

It's after midnight at Glasgow Green. Radiohead are long gone, but the final refrain of 'Karma Police' rings out across the darkness of the park, sung by tens of thousands of people who had waited nine years to see them in their city. It's an extraordinary thing to witness. Then again, Radiohead are no ordinary band.

But first up, there's an undercard which sees acts spread out across three stages. Opening up King Tuts is Wuh Oh, the electronic project of Peter Ferguson. It's a blissed out 30 minutes from the Glasgow-based producer, who dances merrily through the duration of his set. His creative sampling recalls The Go Team! and The Avalanches, and while the influence of Hudson Mohawke looms large, Wuh Oh is a pure pop artist, and the hooks are never far away. The excellent shuffle of the house piano-centred 'Stay Tuned' is a highlight of the whole day.

The Vegan Leather are on confident form, shouting out their hometown of Paisley and successfully getting a few hundred people to sit down during the final build up of closing track 'This House'. At the command of Marie Collins, everyone stands up at once, limbs akimbo. Collins and frontman Gianluca Bernacchi have chemistry and stage presence that money can't buy. Their next task is to capture the energy of an excellent live show on record.

'Do you guys wanna do some singing this Friday afternoon?' asks Jonathan Higgs of Everything Everything, as the Manchester group launch into standout track 'Regret', its 60s-style beat and booming backing vocals is the band at their best: intelligent, catchy and experimental. The only band of the day to commit wholeheartedly to a uniform, they soar on the fist-pumping 'Kemosabe' and while the quality of Higgs' vocal wildly fluctuates, they're not dull, which is the one word that springs to mind for Rag 'n' Bone Man, who is next up. He possesses a voice sent from the gods, and a collection of songs which are instantly forgettable. Spirits are lifted by London Grammar. Hannah Reid's stunning vocal is the obvious calling card, and the group are captivating in places – 'Strong' and 'Wasting My Young Years' are given the reverence they deserve – even if they rarely venture out behind their minimalist shell.

Belle & Sebastian beckon out the glorious weather with 'Another Sunny Day', and deliver a crowd-pleaser of a set that spans a quite incredible career. A highlight is the classic 'Judy and the Dream of Horses', which Stuart Murdoch tells the crowd was composed during a wander through Glasgow Green, and the infectious 'I'm a Cuckoo' hasn't lost any of its charm. They finish their triumphant set with the rousing 'I Didn't See It Coming', which Sarah Martin leads. An unexpected closer, its effect is utterly disarming.

To say there's anticipation around Radiohead's set is an understatement but expectations are met, and exceeded if anything. They open with OK Computer's 'Let Down' and 'Lucky', and play songs from all but one of their albums – so no 'Creep'. The band introduce extra drums early on for the propulsive 'There There', which builds to an exhilarating, cacophony of a climax, but the standout moments early on are the quiet ones, the tender jazz-tinted dream sequence that is 'Pyramid Song' and a rare outing for the gorgeous 'Reckoner'.

The band wisely save 'Daydreaming' (a set opener for most of the tour) for the darker skies of the first encore, which gives an ethereal light show optimum impact – the gasps are audible. A government baiting 'No Surprises' gets one of the biggest cheers of the night, and is followed by 'Lotus Flower', 'Paranoid Android' and a rendition of 'Fake Plastic Trees' that brings a tear to the eyes of some.

A second encore, brings 'Nude', a surprise rendition of the title track from The Bends, and then that rendition of 'Karma Police'. Unforgettable stuff from one of the best bands of a generation.

We sent three of our music critics along to TRNSMT to check out Scotland's newest city music festival. Once you've read Sunday's review, check out what we thought of Saturday and Sunday.

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