This is the first year Rave Child’s been to T in the Park in a media capacity and although the festival has its critics being granted access to cover it in its 20th year is a huge honour, it is after all the biggest event on the Scottish music calendar.
The line up, as ever, is jammed full of names everyone would recognise as young and old flock to Balado for a weekend of riotous squalor and uplifting moments; yes T in the Park isn’t going to please everyone with their choices of acts, but as always its an eclectic mix of everything from massive dance acts to chart topping divas to the latest indie sensation to local talent, there’s always something to satisfy every set of ears over the seven stages.
Rave Child this year had the wonderful experience of getting to travel back and forth with the Pulse FM crew and would like to thank them for their welcoming and all in all fun company all weekend.
Friday is the only day we don’t manage to catch the start of proceedings, but after a missed turn off taking us into Perth and a couple of Sat Nav mix ups we end up parked up comfortably, wristbands acquired, past the sniffer dogs and into the festival in time catch the second half of Kendrick Lamar in the blistering sunshine of the Main Stage.
The Compton born rapper has everyone on his side right now with great press coming from mainstream and underground media alike, however despite his latest album, last year’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, topping a few album of the year polls, and not just in the hip hop world, he’s not been catapulted into the mainstream public’s eyes as much he maybe deserves.
A slot on the Main Stage following festival openers and T in the Park sing-a-long darlings The Proclaimers (and somewhat ideal openers given today’s conditions, ‘Sunshine on Balado’ anyone?) seems a bit odd, but Kendrick delivers a perfect set of chart teasing hip-hop to a small, for Main Stage standards, but dedicated crowd who sing back on mass to choruses of latest single ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and his only UK charting track to date, the brilliant sneery ‘Swimming Pool (Drank)’.
The latter finishes his set and is the ideal starter to the drunken furore of a festival atmosphere and the beginning of weekend with plenty of hip-hop talent.
This aptly continues over at T-Break as Scottish hip-hop’s shining stars Hector Bizerk bring a snarling Glasgow accent to genre quite unfamiliar with it.
Scottish hip-hop is something that’s often dismissed and admittedly the Scottish accents doesn’t run as smoothly as a Californian one, but still there’s plenty of talent out there, and Hector may be the best of the bunch as Louie spits Scottish relevant lyrics over Audrey’s hard hitting beats at T’s Scottish showcase tent.
A gap in proceedings prompts a chance to familiarise myself with this year’s layout and it’s surprisingly easy to navigate, 20 years of experience have paid off; Healthy T has been a life saver at previous T experiences and continues that trend, delivering delicious food at no more expensive than the vans dishing out chips and frozen burgers.
The wander round the site, brings the massive trek down the sauna like conditions of the Slam Tent, a familiarisation with location for the Tut’s Tent, the location for tonight’s main attraction – Kraftwerk, and a passing glance at latest big things Jake Bugg and Emeli Sande.
Parisian based electronic indie artists Phoenix provide the next set of entertainment at the Tut’s Tent and deliver a surprisingly familiar set for a band that I hadn’t recently paid a massive amount of attention to, but it would appear that five albums down the line the French four-piece have built up a solid collection of recognisable tracks.
‘1901’ and ‘Lisztomainia’, from 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, are just two tracks that deliver everything that is needed at a festival, a sing-along and a wee dance, setting us up nice and coherently for the spectacle that is Kraftwerk.
Totally ignoring festival headliners Mumford & Sons and Calvin Harris is the order of the day for pretty much everyone who comes over the Tut’s Tent tonight, surprisingly the tent doesn’t fill but there is no doubt that for most this is the highlight and the true privilege of the 20th T in the Park.
The German forefathers of electronic music don’t let down either, as they spark initial excitement with the handing out 3D glasses, admitted difficult to fit over a pair of regular glasses, for an engrossing visual show behind the four members of this visionary band, before delivering a perfect festival ‘hits’ set.
From opener the iconic ‘Robots’ to 1975’s call to prominence ‘Autobahn’, complete with Sat Nav like visuals, to surprisingly their only UK number one ‘The Model’ the four elderly gentlemen stood behind matching keyboard stands in matching body suits deliver track after track of electronic bliss.
The tracks keep on coming as you sit glued to the visuals and hooked in to the retro futuristic but relevant and visionary music; it’s a safe statement that music today would be so different if it were not for Kraftwerk.
‘Numbers’ takes us through some Matrix esque backdrop and throws us back into a sci-fi world of days gone by as does so many songs in this set, while ‘Trans-Europe Express’, ‘Computerworld’, ‘Tour de France’ et al provide yet more musical milestones past.
This is a day many won’t forget easily and for the many that didn’t manage to get tickets for the TATE shows down in London this is a more than ample alternative that provides the perfect end to day one that could potentially could see the rest of the festival paled in comparison.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Vito Andreoni (Phoenix)