Saturday, 13 July 2013

T in the Park - Day 1

As the Pulse 98.4 FM team walked through into the arena, the dulcet tones of Craig and Charlie Reid could be heard singing 'Sunshine On Leith'.  They got the weather right, the venue however is some 30 miles north in the airfield of Balado, home to T in the Park, Scotland's biggest festival now in it's 20th year.

T in the Park is kind of a big deal in Scotland.  85,000+ festival goers.  Some of the biggest bands.  And a right of passage and highlight of the summer for many.  As you might guess however, here at Scottish Fiction, it's all about the local talent, the bands right on our doorstep rather than flown across the Atlantic for the occasion.  So for the next three days, I'll be covering as much of the Scottish music on display at T, with a few select exceptions of course.  So stick around, read what happened yesterday, and stay up to date with me on Twitter where I'll be tweeting under @scotfiction984 and @pulse984.

First up for me, Honeyblood at the T-Break stage.  The duo, Stina and Shona, who list a long line of influences such as The Breeders, Hole and contemporaries Haim, Deap Valley and Daughter, blistered onto the stage.  With their now quite distinctive guitar and drum combo, they make the most of this set up, grooving away with a 'slacker-pop' vibe while trading on some sweet female vocals.  Highlights include 'Super-rat' and forthcoming single 'Bud', both of which got the crowd, which swelled in numbers during their set hopefully bringing in some curious passer-bys, nodding along to the Honeyblood beat.

Following on from Honeyblood were Hector Bizerk.  Enjoying a somewhat devout following in their hometown of Glasgow, the rap/drums duo (now bolstered with bass and a range of other instruments), wasted no time at all in getting to know the Balado crowd.  Hector Bizerk masks were distributed out amongst the crowd, generating a buzz of excitement.  Frontman Louie announced, 'We are Hector Bizerk.  This is hip-hop' before bursting into 'Burst Love' a verbose assault of lyrical genius.  At the back of the stage during 'Orchastrate', Audrey displays exactly why she is one of Scotland's best drummers, each deep bassy thump of the drum complementing Louie's hard hitting vocals.  Encouraging the enthusiastic crowd to get involved during the chorus of 'Man Up', it's clear that Louie is revelling in this spotlight.  Again, the numbers in the tent grow as the set goes on, and as I mentioned to Louie afterwards, it's great to see that in amongst a bill of US hip-hop artists, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, et. al, that Scottish hip-hop is given an outing too.  Maybe one day it'll be further up a bill on a bigger stage.  The highlight of the set for me is the brilliant 'Bury The Hatchet', beats and rhymes so tight they wouldn't have failed to win over a few more to the Bizerk clan.

"How many chances will you ever get to see Kraftwerk?"  "Calvin Harris?  He wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Kraftwerk!"  Two arguments put forward during a urinal discussion about which of the headliners people should go see.  And I can't argue with the logic.  German electronica Gods Kraftwerk were headlining the King Tut's Stage, the competition being Calvin Harris and Mumford & Sons.  Case closed your honour.  With my 3D glasses at the ready (yes 3D glasses), I, and thousands of others, let out a rapturous roar as four middle aged men walked on stage in their iconic suits to fill the empty spaces at the four synths on stage.  At that point the cold, lifeless machines become one with their human operators, bringing to life the sound and music of Kraftwerk.  What better way to start that with the iconic 'Robots'.  A special mention must go to the visuals, the screen at the back illuminating with music notes, numbers, and Matrix style coding.  During the brilliant 'Autobahn' we drove off on a car journey, and for 'Trans-Europe Express' the freight train was our mode of transport.  All the hits were here; 'It's More Fun To Compute', 'Computerworld', 'Computer Love', 'Numbers', 'Radioactivity', pretty much all staple tracks that have been reference, sampled and loved by electronica bands and fans alike since their inception.  This performance was a musical education for many in the crowd, and a trip down memory lane for some of the older folk in the crowd.  It'll be hard to top this!

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