Radio 1 Big Weekend at Glasgow Green, 25/5/14

So we’re right back at it for day two of the big BBC Radio 1 Weekender in Glasgow Green, but with one important alteration – yep, the rain has decided to rear its ugly head – thankfully us Glaswegians are used to this sort of chat in the summer months, so if anything, it should probably come as no surprise.

Could not help but notice there are a lot more security at the front entrance as well today, word has it that quite a few rascals were sneaking in with worker bands on the Saturday, cheeky.

 

On paper today’s line up, certainly main stage at least, looks a little more family and twee friendly, regardless, with world renowned international artists such as Katy Perry and Kasabian on the bill it is hard to fault the scintillating levels of excitement pulsing through the veins of those reveling into Glasgow Green.

Unfortunately due to horrendous time schedules I missed both Kings of Leon and CHVRCHES, but Gorgon City do more than enough to wake me up with their seductively impressive take on funky house music, the London duo promptly cause a mass party in a tent which is being absolutely pelted with hailstones, sweet soulful numbers such as smash hit ‘Ready For Your Love’ chase away any Scottish miserableness beckoning from the clouds.

After a quick dash across the mud, I find Juce nearing the end of their set in the BBC Introducing tent, the rnb soul girl group trudge out some fantastic groove laden numbers, most interesting is that their style of rnb is based around classic beats affiliated with the likes of Salt n’ Pepa and Aaliyah in contrast to the more contemporary and recent artists to brace the genre, put this lot down as one of the best finds this weekend.

Glasgow trio of brothers Baby Strange have had a mental year, having already graced T In the Park last year to now also playing the BBC Introducing stage this year at the Big Weekend, with a packed tent, the band unload with a suave and direct assault of choppy indie riffs, which are both sharp and stylish.

Throwing in a dashing cover of the Peter, Bjorn and John classic ‘Young Folks’ the band finish with the menacing ‘Distance Yourself’, one thing many of the folk in this tent will struggle to do with Baby Strange after such an impressive set.

Today’s line up in the BBC Introducing stage is absolutely stellar, especially the mid afternoon to early evening slots, Royal Blood up the tempo once again with a distinct sound honed for the most part out of loud bass and drums – vocalist Mike Kerr spits and roars into the microphone, causing a chaotic sense of madness, yet for some reason, this is all very dirty and loveable.

‘Little Monster’ and ‘Loose Change’ especially, sound menacing, with a summer full of festivals coming up, we’ll be hearing more from this Brighton duo in 2014.

Now we head off to the main stage for a wee bit of fun with actress and world superstar Rita Ora who appears in a wet suit and her hair dreaded to the high heavens, she is joined by a team of choreographer dancers, with her single ‘I Will Never Let You Down’ the current number one in the UK singles chart, I would be lying to myself if I said I wasn’t curious to how it all sounds live.

Answer is, it all actually sounds pretty fun, while Ora will never pass as the most original dance performer, what she does perform is full of gusto and lots of energy, in a set which also includes a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Magic’ and Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’, there aren’t many dry voices left in the green.

Passing by the refreshment stall I manage to catch the tail end of Klaxons set, not the biggest turn out for the boys, but by the time they churn out set finale and 2007 electro pop master piece ‘It’s Not Over Yet’, they save some face and almost leave triumphant.

Up next on the main stage is one of 2014’s most favourable guilty pleasures The 1975, with a sickly sweet melodic pop sound that does a lot to cunningly gloss over song topics that commonly deal with a very direct approach to themes of adolescence and growing up, the Manchester fast rising pop rockers charm today with a set that is almost as catchy and colourful as vocalist Matthew Healy’s dashing pink floral shirt.

After a bit of a slow start, they close with a deliciously tasty combo of their two biggest hits to date ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Sex’; love them or hate them, there is absolutely no doubt that The 1975 are becoming more and more of a juggernaut as the year treads on.

You Me At Six have always had a soft spot in my heart, I remember catching the band playing tiny bills in the old Barfly seven years ago, back then they sported fringes, were around 17 years old and probably still all VLs – fast forward to 2014 and they have just released an incredibly impressive fourth album in Cavalier Youth, the new tracks such as ‘Lived A Lie’ and ‘Fresh Start Fever’ come out bristling in the cold air today, nostalgia alone though, dictates that ‘Underdog’ steals the sing along of the set.

Our last trip to the BBC Introducing tent this weekend is to catch Little Shoes, Big Voice, one of the bands tipped for big things over the next twelve months, with a formula which comprises of subtle electro touches on an acoustic gleam performed in a male/female dynamic, the end result is one of swooning melodies groomed with vibrant harmonious undertones.

Vocalist Emily Harvey shines best in breakthrough single ‘Nightfall’, there are a few moments where her vocal style is similar to that of Florence Welch and Laura Marling, but without doubt enough originality and X-Factor is compressed to make the London duo really stand out today as the sun starts to go down.

One of today’s most anticipated acts of the day, Paolo Nutini, has just taken to the Main Stage and I just can’t figure out why there is so much adulation and praise for the Paisley lad.

It’s not that he is a bad singer or terrible performer by any stretch, as demonstrated, he has penned the odd tune over the course of his career, however, on today’s evidence, over hyped seems to sum up Nutini with his second rate take on soul.

His irritating drowl on opener ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up)’ particularly makes me want to head to another stage immediately, but curiosity drew me here in the first place, so I give him a few more songs – and to be fair there is brief reprieve to be found in nostalgic anthem ‘Jenny Don’t Be So Hasty’, however, reprieve is short and before long I find myself heading elsewhere.

Elsewhere being the In Music We Trust Stage to catch Kasabian, shouldn’t have bothered, with their outdated and rubbish take on what they perceive to be ‘indie rock’, witnessing a guy leap around an indoor tent with massive RayBan’s on cutting about like an extra in the football hooligan movie Green Street, someone should point these lads to the Gateshead pitches up the road, they would be more at home.

After murdering Fatboy Slim classic ‘Praise You’ they salvage some pride with a stomping rendition of 2004 classic ‘L.S.F’, like Paolo on main stage, it is all too little too late, literally left scratching my head at the hype which surrounds them.

Don’t get me wrong, the crowd that Coldplay amassed the night before for their headline set was nothing to bauk at, but wow, the amount of people surging towards the barrier at main stage to get a good spot for superstar diva Katy Perry tonight is absolutely unreal, over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some special sets and amazing live bands but I’ve never witnessed a stage set up or production like this in all my experiences.

Emerging from a pop up podium dressed in a fantastic glittery silver dress, Perry cuts right into recent smash hit ‘Roar’, over the next hour she will change costume six times, her session guitarists will have flames emanate from the sole of their instruments, cinematic presentations and a genuine stage presence and charm when addressing the crowd which is simply either devoid or beyond so many massive musical artists in 2014.

Crucially, though, it is Perry’s music which holds the main ingredient to success tonight, playing both a melting pot of hits and a few tracks off her latest album Prism she enthralls and excites for the full duration of her time on stage.

Closing with the impressive ‘Firework’, simultaneously fireworks erupt from the stage, confetti cannons go mental and on this night Katy Perry proves that is more than merely a studio recording artist or someone who can only perform in the confides of indoor arenas where her stage set up can be edited to perfection, because tonight her set is pretty close to perfect as Glasgow heads home happy, albeit with muddy boots and drunken stumbles.

Fantastic weekend.

Words: Chris Kelman

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