It’s that time of year again and T in the Park raises it head one more time; now there’s always plenty of bad things to say about Scotland’s biggest festival and this year is no exception, however during this review I will do my best to make it as much about the music as possible and leave any ugly happening out.
Unfortunately I’m forced to via away from the music from the very start of this review due to the service I received personally from the festival’s bus service provided by CityLink, which drove directly past me waiting at my stop, with the only excuse being the driver didn’t know to stop there.
The results of this were that I had to catch the next bus, three hours later, causing me to miss some of the bands I intended to cover, and the only thing CityLink have offered is a refund of that singular bus ticket; frankly disgusting service.
The first band I manage to catch is down at T Break and THE NINTH WAVE’s glittery, soaring indie rock does not sound out of place on a big stage.
There’s a swaggering confidence to the four-piece, who are certainly putting the effort in to looking the part, although frontman Haydn Park-Patterson’s trousers look a little too much like jammies for this festival vibe.
The band sound at their best when they utilise the male-female vocal dynamic of Park-Patterson and Elina Lin, with electro pop tinged ballad ‘Only The Young’ sounding the most likely to hit the heights of some of the other indie stars on offer this weekend.
However it is in the latter portion of the set that they sound at their strongest with Lin’s vocals coming up front and centre with big “ooohs” and shrills screams adding something different to their strong set.
THE TELERMEN are up next and I catch a short burst of their rhythmic alternative indie sound; the Glasgow four-piece look as young as they come but there’s definitely a certainly something about them.
From image alone you get the impression they could go full on lad rock, frontman Dillion Squire’s long jacket could easily be something Liam Gallagher sported in the 90s, but they toe this line perfectly keeping the vocal delivery the right side of an “I want to fight you” sneer and there’s a certain humble feeling to how they interact with the crowd; definitely worth keeping eyes peeled for how they progress.
My first trip to the bigger stages sees Oh Wonder over at the Radio One Stage and their synth and rhythm based indie pop is plenty charming; it’s lightweight, floppy haired, well-groomed, sappy radio charming, but charming nonetheless.
You can’t complain on a windswept, yet dry point at a festival that would go on to receive more than its fair share of rain, and one half of the duo, Josephine, seems in glorious spirits, even if her chat comes off slightly more on the side of gleeful children’s TV presenter than part of one of the most tipped bands in the country.
The outstanding act of the day however, comes back at T Break, but London’s Izzy Bizu isn’t one of the local acts the stage is showcasing, but still one with outstanding potential and endless raw talent.
As she begins her set there’s a relatively small crowd gathered, but she certainly proves she deserves better as not many that wonder in bring themselves to go anywhere else.
Her voice oozes gritty pop star potential and while some of the tracks reflect the funk-tinged sound that backed Amy Winehouse’s catalogue, there’s still plenty here that portrays Bizu as way more than an emulator.
As the set progresses a more upbeat side to her sound shines though, getting people moving more than I am yet to witness at this year’s festival; there’s a true likeability to her somewhat shy presence and this along with her undoubted quality makes it seems we may have a star in the making.
Speaking of getting people moving, my next trip is over to the Main Stage for a glimpse of phenomenal, genre affirming electronic duo Disclosure, who quite simply play a set full of bangers that’s only real criticism could be that they’re more suited to an after sunset slot, much like how they would kill a club slot in relation to an evening gig one.
I’ve yet to witness them in a club setting, such is their demand now that it’s doubtful it will happen on a UK tour, still the material from their debut album, Settle, remains as ground-breaking and forward thinking as any dance music that has hit the charts recently and ‘White Noise’, alongside signature flashy visuals, remains as fresh sounding as it was three years ago.
Still, I pull myself away as local heroes Frightened Rabbit are due on over at the King Tut’s Tent, however the ridiculous location of said tent (a strange loop past the Taste T section, past the Slam Tent and over a river, with still a wee trek to go) means I only catch a short burst of Scott Hutchison and co. and it also seems to have put plenty of people off as I find then tent practically empty.
Still Frabbit have those who have made it round in the palms of their hands, with Hutchison being handed an acoustic guitar and quipping “what’s your favourite Mumford and Sons song?… Mines is none of the them”, before cruising into the brilliant ‘Old Old Fashioned’.
I’ve always felt that these guys are a band that I really shouldn’t be into, that acoustic tinged indie rock sound never really being my vibe, however I can’t find fault with them, the songwriting is at the very top of the game, laying their contemporaries in the dust and Hutchison is so compelling as a frontman that it’s hard not to like.
It is a festival set though and somewhat predictably ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ goes down with the biggest reaction, as the shagging anthem provokes mass sing-along; true it is their most ‘T in the Park’ track, but it is a glorious thing seeing this many people chanting “I’ll get my hole” in unison – and actually understanding it.
The guys have two dates at the Barras later this year, and it looks like you could fit the people here easily into the legendary ballroom, still they’ll pack it out twice with no problem on what promises to be a belter of a homecoming.
Following this I hang on at the Tut’s Tent for Jamie xx’s headline slot and what promises to be the quietest headline slot this tent has ever seen, still this is no reflection on the man’s set as it should be absolutely jumping with the sheer overwhelming intensity of the music.
The bass has you quivering and the surges of synth set you going without really letting go; it’s perfect teasing dance music that bends genres and builds adrenalin with ounces of wobbly tones and perfectly placed samples.
Jamie xx is someone you really need to see live, sadly a full house would have made this set so much more fulfilling.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Cameron Brisbane