T in the Park 2005 - day 1

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T In The Park
9th and 10th July
Day One
And so it begins! T In The Park, the Scottish festival, is treated by everyone who attends this annual festival of everything drunk and loud as the best festival in Britain and therefore the world. I for one will not argue with these highly intoxicated beings. Big Geoff Ellis does organise one hell of a Festival, who knows, maybe in a few years T in the Park might eclipse Mother Glastonbury as the best festival in the world. It is beginning to look possible.
You might ask yourself, what makes T In The Park so special? Well really the only answer that can be given is the T crowd. Like no other, they are up for a good time! I don’t know if there is maybe something in the watered-down piss you can buy at the bar or something else, but like no other festival crowd I have experienced, they actually dance and sing. Something if you go to Reading, sadly lacks. The bands seem to love this factor of the festival, which is why it has grown so rapidly over the years. Although it is not really an impossible task to get the crowd loving you if you are a band - we are suckers for patriotism – one shout of “ We prefer Scotland to England” or “Scottish Crowds are the best” and we are licking the home soil off their feet.
My first day at this ‘potentially’ world-best festival, started with the hottest bus journey in history of bus journeys, which I hope will hopefully only have the pleasure of experiencing once in my lifetime. Oh yes, T is going to be a scorcher this weekend. Sorry let me rephrase that; T is going to be as hot as HELL this weekend.
I arrived on the nick of time, to get my passes for the weekend and catch the end of Alabama 3 playing that infamous Sopranos theme tune. However, there was no Mafia on show to appreciate this anthem of thugness, although there were some neds. Don Boydie was rallying his troops to head up to the slam tent. I followed the young team up to the tent, before cleverly changing my direction towards the T-Break Stage to catch The Ronelles. The 4-piece band from Glasgow, are a incredibly predictable band, they play some predictable Stones-esc blues, with some obligatory “yeahs” put in for added assurance that they play 60’s rock n roll maan! They are in all honesty, a decent band. However, the music scene just now is full of bands like this and it makes it all seem just a tad bit too repetitive. “Don’t Leave Me Hanging” was the best track, but I somehow have the feeling we will have forgotten about The Ronelles by this time next year.
The same cannot be said about the next act over at the NME stage. This band should in all fairness, become huge over the next year. They have the charisma, the stage presence and more importantly some knee-bendingly good pop songs. They of course, are Maximo Park.
“ Move away from the Portaloos”, warns singer Paul Smith in his Eccentric Geordie accent, before launching into “Apply Some Pressure” – a warning not taken heed of by the state of the toilets at the end of the day. Maybe it was because the mass sing-a-long that followed, to the song was so mind-numbingly great the helpful bowel advice was quickly forgotten. Maximo Park, sound like a cross between 80’s edgy art-chic rock and Byker grove. Although, where the kid’s soap had granny loving Ant and Dec, Maximo Park are fronted by a slightly more mysterious character, his dancing is static and edgy – not that far off Ian Curtis actually. Best song of their set had to be “Graffiti” off debut album “A Certain Trigger”, it was snappy geordie-rock at its best, it put a stamp of approval that ensured this band are going to be around for a long time. “We always love coming to Scotland” announces Paul Smith before walking off stage, the curse (where a band feel they have to praise Scotland) of the bands begins– but then the crowd loves them even more for it.
The Sun at this point was getting hotter and hotter, why even my ice cream had melted before reaching my chafing lips and don’t get me started on how warm my beer was. So, it was perfect timing to begin the ‘Summer of Ska’ as The Ordinary Boys took to the increasingly busy NME stage.
I have or rather had been a bit of a fan of the band, but after the new album and this performance, my loyalty to the band is starting to fade. Songs from the debut album “Over The Counter Culture”, go down well, but then they are well written songs. The only exception from the very poor new album “Brassbound” is ‘Boys will be Boys’, which does induce some Ska dancing out of me and about 5000 others, but sadly the rest doesn’t raise at least one ska’ing leg.
I leave The Ordinary Boys playing the excellent sounding “Sea-side” to head up to the X-tent for some much needed shelter from the sweltering hot burning ball of fire in the sky – and also to catch Aberfeldy.
Sadly, shade from the scorching sun, was the only good thing about being in that tent to watch the band. The sound in the tent was below abysmal, with the thumping beats from the close by Slam tent drowning out a normally great band. Even ‘Love Is An Arrow’ and ‘Helipolis By Night’ failed to receive any reaction from the glum looking crowd – who nattered amongst themselves for the majority of the set. Only nostalgia woke the crowd from there depressed-looking stupor, when singer ‘Riley Briggs’ mentioned ‘weirs way’ before launching into the not- so-ironic “Tom Weir” which did actually go down well in the audience. Three cheers to Tom Weir for saving Aberfeldy from the abyss of the X-Tent.
Last year saw the reunited Pixies headline the Main Stage, this year it’s The Las' turn – apart from they are playing on the NME stage in the afternoon, but they are every bit as good, if not better. If only the crowd would stay past the early-played-crowd-pleasing-uber-great-fuck-off-superhit that was “There She Goes”, as they do actually have some other great pop songs that should have merited the same success as the ‘one-hit’.
However, the only fault I could think of in their performance, was the lack of communication with the crowd. Personally, I think Lee Mayers didn’t even realise he had a crowd in front of him, being recluse for so long has damaging effects my dear readers.
At least we didn’t have that problem back up at the T-Break stage, in fact the complete opposite of being a recluse is Sluts of Trust, because boy do they know how to put on a performance. For being a band of only two – a drummer and a guitarist – ‘SofT’ do make one hell of a noise, with soaring muse-esc guitars and a thumping bass from the drums. They are a spectacle for the eyes and ears with the singer battling hard with his axe to unleash the notes within and climbing the amp stacks to release the sound from his guitar and let it rip through the roof of the tent and beyond. For a small band on a small stage in front of a small crowd, Sluts Of Trust give a big performance.
The same could be said about the next band my ears fall in love with. Magic Numbers are the fattest band in the history or rock music, they even look like the bastard children of Demis Roussos – and surely that can’t be good can it? Well thankfully they don’t have the same err, musical talents as old Demis. As in fact, Magic Numbers are amazing.
Their West Coast America ballads were perfect for this sun-drenched crowd, who lapped up every single second of this performance. “ Man thanks for this” blushed lead singer ‘Romeo’ after the crowds five minute, yes that’s five minute rapturous applause for the band after hit single ‘Forever Lost’. Why even the crowd cheered during bass solos – either magic numbers indeed have magic powers or everyone had sun stroke, I would go for the first.
To keep up my momentum of seeing momentous bands, I head up to the Main Stage for the first time in the day (and last time) to see one of the hottest acts of the weekend, The Killers.
Although not headlining the main stage, in fact they aren’t even second on the bill of the main stage, The Killers drew in a headlining crowd, and man do they deserve it. They put in a storming set and had the whole crowd singing in unison “I got soul but I’m not a soldier”. However, Brandon has become a soldier now, a soldier to the people of T.
To continue with the 80’s theme, I head off down the hill towards the NME stage to finish my hectic day with New Order. Some might think I am mad missing, from what I have heard as “one of the best bands of the weekend” – Foo Fighters – to instead watch the “God-like geniuses”, but in my view you must be mad to miss these rocking pensioners. Ok, Hooky might need a Stanna stairlift and lessons from Thora Hird to get down to the crowd. But, he is still at the top of his game when it come to playing the bass and slagging off bands, calling Foo Fighters “ American Bastards, for stealing our power” after a powercut called halt to the gig for five minutes during the brilliant “True Faith”.
Brandon Flowers of ‘The Killers’ joined his heroes for a rendition of ‘Crystal’, but the highlight was the tear-jerkingly-dancable “Love will tear us Apart”, which was dedicated to Ian Curtis who died twenty-five years ago.
The running theme throughout the day of showing your love of Scotland ended on a high with ‘Barney’ pushing it over the patriotic scale by announcing that “Everything is better in Scotland” after commenting on how this is the first dry festival they have been at. The curse ( if you can call it that) is evident in every band I saw today, but then who can blame them, the crowds here do love you more if you in turn love them, at least more than anyone English. It does work. So, has the last few beats of the fantastic ‘Blue Monday’ come to a close I head off back to my now cooler bus, to get some much needed sleep for the day ahead tomorrow. What, Travis are playing tomorrow? Well best dig out my Saltire, looks set to be a day full of Patriotism. Good Night. Words: Jamie Crossan. Pix: Julie Broadfoot