Monday, 25 July 2011

T In The Park - Review

Here we, here we, here we fucking go!

Let's go, let's go, let go fucking mental!

T in the fucking park!

And all of the rest of it. Aye it's taken me a ridiculous amount of time to get this review up. I have no excuses to offer other than sheer incompetance. Anyhoo, enough of that, let's get down to business!

Last year at T In The Park, I lost my wallet, my ticket, my t-shirts, burst my shorts, got hit in the face with a can of Tennent's and generally lost all my dignity. It kind of put me off going back again. There is some truth in the nedfest beliefs which the top of this post jokingly alludes to. And to be honest, I was pretty much still the same after the announcement of the first lot of acts back in January this year.

However, the closer the weekend drew, the more I felt the itch. Despite last years mishaps, and the blaring obvious drawbacks of the festival, I have some pretty good memories from Balado and with the full announcement of the T-Break stage, the Sunday line up was looking taster than a salmon roll from the Healthy T (more on that later). So I grabbed a day ticket, roped in a friend, booked the bus, and prepared my Jagermeister concoction along with some warm cans of T. My 7th TITP was on!

An early start was essential, as local boys The Phantom Band were opening the NME / Radio 1 Stage at 12:30. Giving the inevitable walk, and the fact I had to pick up tickets at the box office, plus the hour and a half bus journey, we departed Buchanan Bus Station at 10am, which incidently is never too early for a warm can of T. The day started, pretty much as it would continue, bantering away to really friendly people. Spent the majority of the bus journey chatting to a guy, who's name now escapes me, but who shared my enthusiasm for United Fruit's set later in the day. A United Fruit fan on a bus of 50 people, most under 25 and likely to be Bruno Mars fans? That's what I call a result!

So we get there, and the day get's better as I get through what I like to refer to as the chicken run, a.k.a. the entrace to the arena, with my full cargo of 7 tins of Tennents and a 2 litre bottle of Jager and Red Bull (more on this later). A quick dash get's us to the NME / Radio 1 Stage to join the impressive crowd gathered to watch The Phantom Band. The are a dedicated bunch, and I'm sure there's a few hangovers being repressed right now. They are well assured on the stage, confident and giving of the vibe they could easily handle a slot further up the line up. The band deliver both good music and good chat, ending their set with 'The None Of One' which begins with an eerie acoustic mellowness, culminated in a orgy of heavy bass and funky electro keys. "She bared her teeth to the world" indeed!

Wooft! The Phantom Band rocked it. Now to go and have my face melted in an appropriate measure in the T-Break stage. United Fruit took to the stage, displaying their support for the blogging community with bassist Marco proudly sporting a GlasgowPodcart t-shirt (note to self, make some Scottish Fiction merchandise...) And they fucking killed it, playing with such a raw fury and passion it made me not even notice I was standing next to Scottish Radio DJ and all round legend, Vic Galloway until the last song. They deserved a bigger crowd to witness full on, balls out, no holding back rock. Sporadic head banging broke out amongst those lucky enough to be there.

We followed United Fruit, with a well deserved break in the Healthy T area. If you have never experienced Healthy T, then you are missing out big time. It puts paid to the theory that all festival food equals ring sting the next day. There is a fine selection of food on offer, but for the first of my three (yes three, I'm a fatty) meals that day I had a piri piri chicken baguette. Very tasty. On our way back to the T-Break tent, we popped in on New Zealanders The Naked And Famous. They were bang tidy, as I think I heard them describe their own set. Very well. The crowd were digging their indie vibes, and they certainly did sound good from what we heard.

With a bit of time to burn before FOUND, we decided to go for some log flume action, which was timed well as at that moment the heavens opened for the first time, and pished rain everywhere. Kind of makes paying a fiver for the priviledge of getting soaked on a fairground ride seem a bit pointless. Ho hum.

So to dry off, what better way to do so that by checking out art school rockers FOUND, whose album factorycraft is one of my favourites of this year so far. And they delivered with an excellent start to their set plying through the hits. 'You're No Vincent Gallow' came midway through, and single 'Anti-Climb Paint' a bit later. The sound of the synths and guitars combined well in the tent, however the one drawback was the excessive background noise, and many passerbys took shelter from the rain in the tent. Being an optimist myself, I'd like to think at least a few of them were intriguied enough to stay past the rain and hear the remainder of FOUND's set.

Time for some more fairground rides I hear you say? Ok, the dodgems it was, meaning I could legally drink and drive. However my stash of Tennents was dwindling, so a trip to the bar was in order. And for meal number two of the day as well, a lovely delicious Scottish salmon roll. Delish! And whilst sheltering from the rain, I heard possibly the greatest thing ever. A country cover version of Snoop Dogg's 'Gin & Juice'. Beaut!

It's noticable at this point, that alcohol was taking it's effect as my notes from this part onwards are rather incoherent. However, I'll continue as best I can, as there as more acts which deserve it. We plodded back to the now familiar T-Break stage to check out singer/songwriter Rachel Sermani  valiantly with My Chemical Romance and Bruno Mars for attention. Those of course with any degree of sanity avoid the latter and witnessed the former play a beautifully serene set of folk infused songs, which warmed the very cockles of my heart. And this leads to my one biggest bug bear of the day, that the T-Break tent is not sound proofed in the same way King Tut's tent is. The blarring music of the fairground rides outside the tent was like an unwelcome house guest, or an unruly ned barging in on our dainty little intimate affair.

And given that I've no more notes other than my hazy memory, this seems like a good point to address the T accusations. Yes T in the park does have a large proportion of neddish behaviour and patrons. There are reasons for this of course, and the main one in my opinion is the Slam tent. That's not a diss on dance music at all, but it has to be recognised that the crowd it draws is significantly different to those who would enjoy Rachel Sermani's delicate tunes. However, you can either choose to turn your nose up at the whole affair, or choose to find enjoyment in the elements of T which support and exhibit truly great Scottish music. I choose the latter. I then choose to start drinking Jager, meaning I'm probably no better than the buckie swilling morons. Ce la vie.

And so began the inveitable drifting towards the main stages. I had made a deal with my mate, that if he indulged me the morning to see the above acts, we would forgo the T-Break tent for the RAWK of Dave Grohl and friends, meaning Carnivores and Discopolis would need to wait for another time.

But before that, I enjoyed a wonderful returning set form Jarvis himself, with Brit pop legends Pulp playing on the Main Stage. The Jager was getting tanned, and continuing the theme of meeting friendly people, we got chatting to two lovely ladies from Fife, or somewhere like that, during Pulp. Pulp were all I expected, playing the hits, making me dance, and not staying quiet about the crashing of Rupert Murdoch's NOTW saga, which seems like an age ago now. After Pulp, I was convinced by a less than impartial facepaint artist that I would look good as a panda. Fifteen minutes and £5 later, I did indeed look good as a panda.

Onwards then to the Red Bull Tent for indie lovely's Noah And The Whale. This was a very good decisions. We enjoyed great music, with hits like '5 Years Time', 'Tonight's The Kind Of Night' and 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.' causing the packed tent to burst out in both song and dance. We enjoyed good company, with an older couple from Englandshire being our buddies this time, and many people being rather alarmed by my facepaint which I'm told looked more like a badger than a panda. And we enjoyed the rest of the Jager. Memories are now hard to come by.

So the night ended with the Foo Fighters on the Main Stage. I've seen the Foo's live many a time, and obviously they put on a show. And the have the tunes to back it up. Yes, recent offerings have lacked the same punch that classic album 'The Colour And The Shape' did, but when Dave starts bawling "One last thing before I quit..." there's not a drunk man with panda facepaint alive that wouldn't try and start a mosh pit with a 14 year old. The Foo's rocked, and I'm also reliably informed that Discopolis earned rave reviews in the T-Break stage. Good for them, they deserve it.

Bus time home, and to reflect on the day. Overall, it was a very good day musically. A wealth of talent, much of it from our bonnie borders. And socially TITP redeemed itself in my eyes. Yes there are downsides. The toilets are rank, the majority of the big acts booked are pretty pish, plenty of arseholes are about pishing and spewing everywhere. But throughout I experienced a commaradie, a bond which every person in that arena shares only for that day. You can be a snob and ignore that, but you're only losing out. We all go back to our lives afterwards, back to whatever makes us, us. But for that weekend in Balado, it's T IN THE FUCKING PARK!

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