T In The Park, held annually in Balado, Scotland, is the UK's second biggest music festival, behind Glastonbury. It has been running for 13 years and is now a major part of Scottish culture, benefiting tourism to the tune of millions of pounds.This years festival attracted almost 150 acts spread over several stages, both indoor and outdoor. The headliners for 2006, The Who and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, could both easily claim to be the biggest bands in the world. However, its not about the bands, it is about the 150,000 revilers who travel every year to have a brilliant time......Day1 : Saturday 8th July
And a brilliant time I had. After setting up camp on Friday night, I awoke early on Saturday with anticipation and excitement to get in to the actual arena and see some quality live music. Managed to get in just after midday to catch Australian rockers Wolfmother
assault the crowd around the NME stage with their brand of Sabbath/Zeppelin rock'n roll. The keyboard player attacked his instrument as if it had just insulted his mother, while the afro-haired guitarist and drummer did their best to stop the sound from being lost in the wind. Wolfmother are unashamed RAWK!!! and they are all the better for it. They played an excellent set and as the rain clouds gathered, the vocalist stated that they "were brewing up a storm!!!".
A quick visit to one of the 34 bars dotted around the mammoth arena, and then on to catch Nightmares On Wax
in the Slam Tent. After Wolfmother's thundering set, N.O.W's chilled out reggae, dub and electronica became pretty tedious after a while. However, special mention must be given to the two female vocalists who had great voices.
Back to the bar (well, I am Scottish, you know!) and then on to see Hope Of The States
in the indoor King Tut' stage. This six
-piece from England have long being known as a very promising rock band, but have so far failed to deliver. On the basis of this performance, they might just be ready to rule. Possibly spurned on by the tragic events of losing a member to suicide, this band bleeds passion. All the members (with exception of the drummer) perform standing in a line across the stage, showing how together the band are. It's hard to pinpoint the bands sound but with two guitarists, a bassist, a violinist and keyboard player, they create one unholy racket. Loose references of their sound include Mogwai, Idlewild and possibly a bit of Radiohead. I expect big things from these guys.
The Slam Tent had a pretty decent line-up this year, so I returned to catch the up and coming James Holden's
set. There's not much to say about the music, except it was loud, the beats were crunchy and the visuals were superb.
Walking past the main stage, after Holden's set, I decided to stop and watch a bit of Placebo's
gig, for what must be the fifth time I have seen them without actually wanting to. They always seem to support bands I like or play at festivals I attend. I must admit, although not a fan, I don't mind them and was surprised at how low they were placed on the bill. They played most of their hits, "Nancy Boy", "Every Me, Every You" etc, and for a three piece on a gigantic stage sounded pretty decent.
Back to the slam tent to catch the tail end of Modeselektor's
DJ set. The tent was absolutely packed and people were enjoying his abrasive style of electronica.
After this, had a quick rest, some food and washed them down with two swift pints of cider and into the NME stage to catch Ben Harper
play. I have always liked his albums and think he is a supremely talented musician. He didn't disappoint here, displaying an eclectic set and polished performance. Massive in North America, maybe its time he caught on here too.
Last band of the night, and the whole reason I shelled out £160 for a ticket, Sigur Ros
. By this point, the rain was lashing down upon the 75,000 revilers, and many decided to ditch the Red Hot Chilli Peppers headlining performance at the main stage, for the comfort and dryness of Sigur Ros inside, on the NME stage.
One of my all time favourite bands and they deserve to be huge. Could not wait to see them in a festival atmosphere and they did not disappoint. My only (minor) gripe was that at only 5 songs long, the set
was far too short. Appearing behind a transparent curtain, "Glossoli" started with beautiful spectral guitars and soft pounding rhythms. And then there is that voice, enough to send several shivers down your spine. This soon receded into old favourite "Hafssol", which has been reworked into a kind of ceildah type song, and was absolutely stunning. "Ny Batteri" followed and again that voice echoed all around the packed arena , I wouldn't be surprised if people were in tears. Current fans favourite, "Saegolpor" was absolute dynamite too, and the chorus was one of the loudest things I've every heard, sounding like a crescendo of 1000 guitars. TheIcelandic collective (there must have been ten of them on stage) finished their set with a face-shattering rendition of Untitled *8 from their ( ) album. This has been the set closer on the two previous occasions I witnessed this spectacle previously, but this one was easily the best. Simply stunning.Sunday 9th July
A night of heavy rain ensued, meaning I woke up absolutely drenched and my tent flooded with water. Not the best start to a Sunday, I can assure you. However, the strains of BBC Radio DJ(and John Peel replacement) Rob Da Bank
could be heard and drew me towards the arena. If you have the internet, please listen to this guys shows. He certainly knows his stuff.
After some excellent tunes spun by Rob, including some Nathan Fake
, I quickly ran over to the Pet Sounds Arena to catch Glasgow's latest favourites, My Latest Novel
. Putting in a strong performance, the 5 members swapped instruments effortlessly and reminded me of a poppier Belle & Sebastian.
Next up, a friend insisted that he wanted to catch Morning Runner's
performance. I wish I hadn't went, because the band played an uninspired set that was indie-by-numbers. All the obvious reference points were there, Coldplay etc etc, and it was easily the worst performance I seen all weekend. Boring, boring, boring.
The sour taste in my mouth was soon gone as I walked into the Pet Sound Arena, as the The Animal Collective
emreged from the stage to perform their warped psych-pop. They were one of the highlights of the weekend, especially when their set overran and next act Jose Gonzalez and his fans were left bewildered, as to what was going on. The look on their faces was priceless. A 15 minute version of "Purple Bottle" wrapped things up, as Jose fans waited impatiently.
As for indie darling Jose Gonzalez
, I didn't enjoy him much the last time I seen him, so playing exactly the same set wasn't going to inspire me to enjoy this performance. Although, he did a nice rendition of Massive Attack's "Teardrop".
Before going to see Zero 7 in the Pet Sounds Arena, I managed to get a part of The Editors
set on the main stage , which was quite good in a FranzFerdinand/Joy Division type way.
Inexplicably, Zero 7 never turned up for their time slot, and it was left to Death Cab For Cutie
to play an extra long set. Not really my cup of tea, but very good at what they do.
So it was headliner time again. The choices were Richard Ashcroft (NME stage), Primal Scream (King Tut's Tent), Felix Da Housecat (Slam Tent), Death Cab (Pet Sounds) or The Who (Main Stage).
I decided on The Who
, thinking who, in their right mind, would pass up the chance to see a legendary band. But after 4 songs, I quickly realised that this band were pretty much not what they used to be. All the trademarks were there (windmills included), but quite frankly Roger Daltry looked like your maths teacher, while Pete Townsend looked ridiculous. Their sound was tinny and empty sounding.
Quickly, realising this wouldn't do, I ran to the King Tut's stage to see Primal Scream
. Turning out to be one
of the best rash decisions I've ever made, one of Glasgow's finest bands blew me away. They were everything a rock band should be, passionate, exciting, original, fresh and raw. Frontman Bobby Gillespie prowled the stage every inch like the ro
ck star, he is the heir to Iggy Pop's throne. A bone-splintering version on "Kowalski" was followed by an ear-splitting "Swastika Eyes". This was changed to "America Eyes" as an obvious swipe at George Bush. Finishing of with hits "Country Girl" and "Rocks" the Scream were an excellent end to the weekend. Miss this band at your peril!.
Woke up on the Monday morning, cold, wet, hungover and financially drained. What a weekend!!!.
Labels: Animal Collective, Hope Of The States, Primal Scream, Rob Da Bank, Sigur Ros, T In The Park