T In The Park
9th and 10th July
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Words: Jamie Crossan. Pix: Julie Broadfoot