Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers – Aviemore (Saturday)

So, the journey starts and after managing to rally through the torrential rain and glide the car through five to 20 inches of mud to the camping field, it’s time to get dirty.

Waking up on the Saturday morning after a masterful live set by Ben Howard – he’s even better live than on record – never failing to lean on a more experimental side live, the scene is perfect, the sun is out, and the first band starts.

 

The optimist would say it’s going be a great day (who cares about the weather… right?!!), the people of Scotland know what to expect and the sense of irony is never lost with attire consisting of shorts and t-shirts and a pair of wellies.

WHITE are clearly enjoying climbing the ladders and playing any gig or festival they can get their hands on.

The Bowie-esque sounds and 80s influenced pop conjure up a dark energetic performance; it’s a great wake-up call.

Honeyblood

Next up, Honeyblood are seriously up against it as the buzz in the crowd is drowned out by the torrential rain.

Shelter seems to be a preferential option for the mildly inquisitive early birds; not quite a meeting of the birds and the bees, Honeyblood are skilful and precise, but never quite reach the climax in their stronger songs (the lack of bass really seems to hurt their musical scope on the big stage).

Credit to the band however, as they are true professionals working hard to give the audience their money’s worth.

Jack-Garratt-(Aviemore-Stopover)-Derek-Robertson-005

Jack Garratt follows, and the crowd burst forth; perhaps curiosity decides to combat the rain, perhaps it is the lure of a one-man band and what looks like an oddly positioned afternoon DJ set, perhaps his first single has gathered some momentum from the regular Radio 1 spins, or perhaps, just perhaps, crowds can still appreciate gifted artistry.

With decisive beats offset with candidly sincere lyricism, Garratt is all funk without lacking the soul.

The crowd appreciate Jack, but the appreciation is mutual, Garratt’s fisty cuffs to fire the crowd up as well as the sun gods – who manage to show face – all work in harmony with the mood.

Funky and stuffed with soul, Garrett gains rapturous applause; just watch him rise (already tweeting that his latest single is A-list on Radio 1).

Lianne La Havas

Sweet and striking, Lianne La Havas proves that charm and perfect pitch can be wrapped up in the same package.

Already possessing a steady fan base, it is evident that La Havas works hard at her craft and the crowd are in awe of this soulful multi-instrumentalist.

The rain pays another visit during the set but “WELCOME TO SCOTLAND” from a cheeky crowd member keeps the atmosphere light.

The crowd stick around, regardless to witness the multifaceted set, which ranges from classy soul, experimental yet commercially adept jazz to sultry rock, without the proverbial sore thumb sticking out; unstoppable; Lianne La Havas is in it for the long haul.

The Maccabees have quietly been building on their fan base throughout the years now with an unassuming humbleness that is exuded on stage.

With their new album, Marks To Prove It, being released just a couple of days before, the boys are on top form today, bashfully announcing titles from their new record before mesmerising the crowd with a great physical performance.

The crowd totally buy into the new and the old; highlights include an impromptu appearance by Marcus Mumford, who performs guitar duties on ‘Pelican’, and Felix White’s charming manoeuvre’s on stage – nodding and gesticulating whilst throwing a couple of winks out towards the crowd.

Cheesy, maybe, but one thing is for sure, the band are clearly having fun up north playing in such a beautiful location.

Primal Scream 3

Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie takes to the stage next; arms cloaked in animal print and his legs wearing their strut, he seems to exude the physicality of somebody at least half his age; this is a party, quite literally.

One could quite easily forget the number of hits that Gillespie and his cohorts have under their belt; with such a myriad of albums – each with a sense of their own identity due to the current cultural zeitgeist at the time of release – we get a no holds barred rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza for the first couple of tunes.

Which, subsequently move to the more psychedelic and pop-tastic sounding sing-a-longs from Screamadelica.

Finally it seems Gillespie and co. have given it all, and the thumping dance beats and pounding bass of ‘Swastika Eyes’ perforates the eardrums of unsuspecting victims in the crowd (who, by this point, would be none the wiser as to who was one stage).

Mumford and Sons are surely sent musical waves of trepidation with the prospect of coming on after the best performance of the day as Gillespie and co. deliver a rock ‘n’ roll party extravaganza (why were Primal Scream not one of the major acts at T in the Park?!!).

Mumford and Sons make ubiquitous appearances on stage throughout the day, ensuring that the whole event is sound; this is their event and credit to them.

With their set time coming in at two hours, it’s testament to the reciprocity that is deserved between themselves and the crowd.

It’s a nice sentiment and when the hits are played, they were played with an exquisite passion, the quartet – along with their live musicians – are obviously having a great time with a fantastic catalogue of hits.

With songs like ‘The Cave’, ‘Lover’s Eyes’, ‘Winter Winds’, ‘Timshel’, ‘Lover of the Light’, ‘Awake My Soul’, ‘I Will Wait’, ‘Little Lion Man’, ‘Below My Feet’ and ‘Ghosts That We Knew’, the set is an eclectic fusion of the moody and the upbeat, leaving left no one complaining.

A satisfying result for Mumford I’m sure, having proclaimed during the set, “from this point on we are not going to care about how we sound, and you are not going to care… we are just going to have fun!”

And if that wasn’t enough to whet the appetite of the hardcore festival punters, Simian Mobile Disco finish off the night with a rip roaring set – hitting the brown note a good couple of times going by the colour of the punters; fantastic.

More Photos

Words/Photos: Derek and Jayjay Robertson

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