T in the Park

My feet hurt!

Having spent the past two days, wandering round a field, stumbling over tonnes of discarded plastic pint glasses, inhaling enough second-hand hits to keep me high for a week, and only once almost kicking over someone’s line of coke… I have to declare that – T in the Park was fucking excellent.

Saturday was a bit of a washout, no it didn’t rain, but our bus to the site was held up by some rather spectacular examples of the species nedous arseholous. By the time we arrived we managed to catch the final chords from British Sea Power’s set, but decided to go and chill out in the hospitality area first. After a few liquid refreshments (unfortunately the sponsor’s beverage was the tipple of choice, or rather for lack of one), Faithless on the main stage were our next target. They took advantage of the ‘festival’ format by cranking out all the big hits, top stuff indeed, and an ideal band to put on at that time as they really got the place going, and managed to lift us from our ned induced funk. Highlights were new single Weapons of Mass Destruction and God is a DJ (of course).

After that we wandered round and crammed into King Tuts Wah Wah Tent to catch Ash. I’m not a huge fan but they were pretty sharp, and got the 20,000 or so people in the tent bouncing along.

Ben Kweller was next of my list, after some refreshments of course, and he was the first in a series of disappointments. Not that I got to hear him perform as the disappointment arose because the tent he was in was full by the time we got there. Arse! So apologies to Gillian and Robyn, I’ll grab one of his albums and find out what all the fuss is about.

That disappointment was to occur three more times, the next most notably being Basement Jaxx in the Slam tent. The queue to get in wasn’t even a queue (as in a line) it was more a melee of several thousand people all trying to get into the tent despite the signs saying FULL. Note to the organisers, some of the ‘dance’ acts should be on one of the stages!!! Glastonbury can do it, why can’t you!!!!! So, thoroughly pissed off at not seeing Basement Jaxx, we wandered about, caught a few songs of the Charlatans set (yawn) and decided to pitch up early in time for Muse (a good decision as even then we were pretty far back). We caught the last few tracks from the Libertines (average), and waited. As a headline act I was a bit wary but Muse didn’t disappoint, they make one hell of a noise for three people. They DO need to improve live though, whilst the playing was tight, there was little interaction with the audience and the closing 5 minutes of guitar wankery didn’t really help. In saying that the songs do work well live and from what our mate said we made the right choice as “The Darkness will be lucky if they even get invited back to open next year” (seemingly they did a Radiohead cover. The Darkness. Doing Radiohead… silly boys).

The only distraction at the end of the Saturday night were the fireworks from the main stage (which finished early than Muse) and the fact that my mate Alan pulled – despite telling the ‘charming’ young lassy that his boyfriend was standing next to him: “Ohh that’s fine, I’m still a good fuck”, she replied. You couldn’t make it up.

Sunday was an early start, and I think every person had the same idea. The gates opened early but there were only a few thousand in front of the main stage before the first act went on. What on earth was going on? Well, quite simply, EVERYONE was timing it to see the Scissor Sisters. Granted the Sunday was twice as busy as the Saturday, but even then we were a bit taken a back at the crowds gathered at the main stage. Was it worth it? Damn right it was, probably my choice as band of the weekend as well. Not only do they have a good mix of songs, but they know how to work a crowd and are obviously full of confidence. Add to that the fact they looked like they were having as much fun as everyone else and the set went down a storm. As for the tartan toga, the removing of underwear and the bareing or arse cheeks.. well.. it all helped!

A quick beer and back to the main stage (with a half a song diversion to catch Fools Gold by the Complete Stone Roses) for the ‘home town’ band of Franz Ferdinand. Again they have the tunes to get the crowd going and they didn’t disappoint. All they need to add is a cleverly chosen cover track and they’ll go far (it’s a theory of mine that a good live act knows how to use a cover track, or part of a cover track, to add a little bit more fun into their act).

Disappointment number three lay ahead, and despite planning for it, we were still scuppered by the damn Slam Tent. Groove Armada were the targets, and I suggested that the act before them, Adam Freeland, was pretty good so why not go in during his set. It was agreed and we finished our beers and set off. I should point out that the Main stage, NME stage and King Tuts Wah Wah Tent were all near each other, the Slam Tent was at the opposite end of the site. So we trudge down there only to be greeted, a full 50 minutes before they are due on stage, with the same sight that greeted us the day before. Thousands of people, standing, waiting, pleading to get in. We didn’t even try.

The side benefit was that we managed to catch a few tracks from Miss PJ Harvey (“she’s awfully loud for such a wee person”), before heading to the NME Stage and Goldfrapp. I’d heard some of their stuff but knew more than I thought, and they were very good live. Not the kind of band to incite a riot but more than capable of handling themselves, including Alison threatening to throw “something back at the next fucker who chucks their beer at me!”. You go girl!

Beer, food and off to King Tuts Wah Wah Tent to catch Orbital, and by chance the end of Electric Six performing Radio Ga-Ga, with the crowd hand clapping perfectly. Freddie would’ve been so proud (see what I mean about covers). Orbital were alright, not hugely my cup of tea, but Alan was keen so we hung around for a while. But we had a plan.

Now, bearing in mind that we had already missed two acts, and that no-one else was really bothered.. majority rule and all that.. and.. welllll…

We decided not to go and see The Pixies. Me bad. I know. Shot me. The quandary was to catch a track or two of the Pixies set and miss out on a decent spot for Massive Attack. Majority rule and we headed over to the NME stage and managed to catch the last half hour of N.E.R.D. who were ace! They’d tweaked some of their tracks to give them a rock edge, and coupled with the fact that two of the band are experienced MCs and they had the whole crowd jumping, and I mean the WHOLE crowd, not just the loonies in the mosh pit.

And then, all of a sudden, it was the last act of the weekend for us, and we scored prime spots right in front of the lighting desk, with our backs to a barrier, centre stage. Opening with Angel before sliding into Future Proof and I was hooked.

Now Scissor Sisters may take my vote for band of the weekend, but Safe from Harm easily gets best song, Massive Attack tagged on an extra ending featuring a really heavy guitar and.. as one we all turned to each other at the songs conclusion and stood there, gobsmacked. As a group, considering the number of singers they rotate, they were tight, provocative, and their music works well live. Teardrop started as the clouds finally broke and the sunset revealed itself, a hot air balloon floating overhead, yes it was THAT perfect.

We headed for the bus home with a wonderful euphoria – although that could’ve been down to the group in front of us who each went through about 12 joints during the set.

All in all it was a great weekend. It didn’t rain, and the blessing of hospitality (a little oasis of calm at times) was the making of it.. I’m getting a bit too old to be standing about for that length of time though, next time I’ll be taking one of those wee fold-e
y out chairs that a lot of people had. I’m sure I’ll recall more, but for the time being that’s it. I’ll put up some photos later.