The View open up my T20 with one of the best overall sets of the weekend. The now bona fide classic singles that launched them into our lives are still as catchy as ever and a delighted crowd lap up the early hit hat-trick of ‘Tradesman’, ‘DJs’ and ‘Same Jeans’. I am a slut for the hits but even the more recent and less familiar material is well received and stacks up nicely. Looks like The View are still on fire and there’s no sign of that flame starting to fade.
Next comes a salutary lesson in trusting Clashfinder at festivals over official merchandise – I drag four bodies to the Transmissions tent to see Daughter while our fifth comrade had made a charge back to the campsite to top up his plastic camouflage hipflask full of Glenlivet 12 (the camouflage means it’s undetectable to security staff, although I don’t know how he managed to find it in the shop). As we settle in to listen to some hotly-tipped mellifluous lo-fi folk it comes as quite a surprise then to find that Daughter are in fact gash and the tent is jam-packed full-to-busting of 14 year old girls…. and now that I think of it the band on stage might be… Kodaline? We stick it out long enough almost to get carried away with some impressive anthemic choruses and an almighty euphoric sing-along. Almost.
They’re still not my cup of tea but the Kodaline episode does sum up this much derided line-up nicely (and it’s not just cover to excuse my stage-time balls up). For all that you could cheerfully take a rusty crossbow to Mumford and his Trustfund Wurzels or that burd off of the tabloids (otherwise known as the current biggest selling female artist in the world) there’s thousands of people who are actually quite into them. If you don’t like it, the alternatives are Kraftwerk, MBV or in this case an urgent visit to Slam to let Laurent Garnier hammer some fluff out my head. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it?
Biologically befuddled Snoop Dogg/Lion/Dogg is a popular addition to the main stage line up and hits are dropped like they’re hot, left right and centre. Some of the more recent radio-friendly tunes fail to connect though, and there’s a suspicion that he might have ‘forgotten about the ghetto and is now rapping for the pop-charts’. Ultimately the set is probably best marked out by the dubious honour of our ‘hero’ getting a lap dance live on stage and there’s an element of autopilot about this performance and certainly none of the verve that ‘lit up’ his 2005 stormer.
That afternoon my favourite non-music moment came when the bemused crowd were asked to show some support for Tupac, “let me see those twos…”. The crowd duly obliged with V signs held aloft while at that very moment, the ghost of Shakur had just scored a number 1 in a tune featuring Elton John. Sadly there was no similar finger inspection for evidence of Elton John love…
Later, British Sea Power charge onto the Transmissions stage and launch straight into ‘Machineries of Joy’, the year’s best single. The set bristles with their off-kilter craftsmanship and draws heavily from Do You Like Rock Music and the aforementioned Machineries. They play it relatively safe performance-wise, bar the introduction of a 7 ft, flag-waving polar bear, which has me briefly questioning the wisdom of today’s diet of 8 pints of cider and a Cornetto.
Obviously avoiding Rhi-rhi and not really fancying My Beady Valentine, Ritchie Hawtin administers death by techno to polish Saturday off. None of your ‘move-your-shoulders-electro-wibble’ here, just techno. TECHNO. Ooft…
First surprise of the morning is that I manage to make it back up to Balado in time to find Earth, Wind and Fire open up the main stage. Launching headfirst into ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and then 45 cheery minutes of funk’n’soul, there’s collective disbelief when Maurice White announces the band has been together for 41 years and then a collective groan when he announces that “some of you will have been conceived to our music”, as if I wasn’t feeling queasy enough. Here’s a question though, how can you be in a band for 41 years and only have one song?
Ocean Colour Scene are thankfully free of unpleasant urethra anecdotes although, given that their high water mark was 18 years ago, they might me a more appropriate soundtrack to parent-podgering (or grandparent, if you’re from Airdrie). ‘Riverboat Song’ and ‘Day We Caught The Train’ are, as you’d expect, belted out and back plus interest. Line of the day is when I catch someone proclaiming OCS to be their favourite band in the world and then turning to the stage in absolute ashen-faced horror saying, “Are they playing new songs???!?!?!?”. Kinda sums it up better than I ever could.
Dynamite deep-house duo Disclosure deliver one of the busiest Tut’s afternoons as they fire through a live production performance of hits from ‘Settle’. The drop in ‘Running’ is as big as King Kong on stilts and ‘White Noise’ is the sound of the summer. It also includes ‘surprise’ live vocals from Aluna(George), not a massive surprise as they were playing earlier that day but hey, there you go. I don’t know anything about AlunaGeorge other than the fact that Aluna recently denied that she had ass-implants. Please put down the Calendula and read the rest of this review before Googling that, would you?
Aussie upstarts and my new favourite party band, Jagwar Mar, smack around some jaw-dropping indie-dance-psychedelia over on the Transmissions Stage. Think Happy Mondays with some added piano-house or a Balearic Beta Band and you’re getting there (and if you don’t like the sound of that, you can’t be my friend anymore). Current single ‘Man I Need’ is a baggy-blinder which slowly builds and loops hip-hop-breaks and ends in an extended acid-house rave breakdown, via a bit of Proclaimers’ ‘500 Miles’, obviously. If the beats have an 80s feel, there are also some strong 60s Byrds / Beach Boys melodies mixed in (and possibly some even stronger MDMA). With a cut-and-paste vibe akin to their Avalanches countrymen, they’re one of the most exciting live acts I’ve seen in years. Playing Tut’s in October.
“Nobody would disagree that Editors have made a living painting from the pallet of others and you can’t help but cringe at some of the more pretentious lyrics, but credit where it’s due they do it with really well-crafted songs”, I think to myself as I enjoy some late afternoon dappled sunshine. “Ohh, there’s that song with the bullshit, over-earnest lyrics about smoking outside a hospital”, I think as I cringe about my earlier musings and walk away from the Radio 1 stage.
A similar accusation of musical assimilation could be levelled at Glasgow’s CHVRCHES, who have a few familiar faces (Iain Cook from Aereogramme and Martin Doherty from The Twighlight Sad) and a few inevitable familiar sounds given the fairly well-trodden electro-pop furrow they are plodding. Great song writing, a dramatic atmospheric edge and a potential superstar front woman in Lauren Mayberry allay any concerns though. Current single, ‘Gun’ if as fresh as some freshly picked garden peas and could be the trigger to shoot these guys into the limelight, the debut album later this year will be worth a shot.
Blindfolds are a dirty but tidy garage band, playing BRMC’esque rock n roll stompers. With the lead singer switching between channelling the inner voice of Jim Morrison and the inner c*nt of Mark E Smith, you sense trouble might never be far away. If they keep this energy up success might just be following right after.
I finish at the main stage watching The Killers sparkling finale and all the reflective T20 shenanigans bring memories of watching Pulp close my first ever TITP at Strathclyde Park in 1996. With an encore of ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ and ‘When You Were Young’, it would be all too easy to crowbar a poignant description of Scotland’s twenty year love affair with this drunken, over excited labrador puppy on the waltzers, festival all encapsulated in those final two songs. But instead the Mormon cockwombles finish with ‘Mr Brightside’, so that line is fucked.