Monday, 14 July 2008

T in the Park

T in the Park

I was at T in the Park over the weekend, covering it for Artrocker. Here are my highlights.

First of all, just the simple fact that I got to access the Hospitality Tent and the Media Village made the weekend a more pleasurable experience. Whenever I got tired of the mass of bodies lying, bouncing, rolling around and the gigantic rubbish site the site turned into I could wander onto a quiet tidy lawn and indoor bar.

The media village was even quieter and the constant supply of free hot and cold drinks with a frequently replenished buffet and table and chairs to sit at made the whole thing much more comfortable. Of course I also got to rub shoulders with the likes of Billy Sloan. That’s when you know you’ve made it eh? Still I was feet away from the lassie from The Zutons and I was amused to be in the media tent while all the photographers feverishly pored over their freshly taken photographs of Amy Winehouse.

I kind of like Kate Nash, but after a while the quirky, ‘watching the telly wiv me fella’ lyrics grate a wee bit, but I enjoyed a bit of her set, the opening Pumpkin Soup in particular. The first outstanding band of the weekend though were The Hold Steady. I’ve missed them every time they’ve been in Glasgow, and I’m sorry that I did because they were excellent here. The Pet Sounds Arena was were I saw most acts and it seemed to be much quieter than the King Tuts’s Tent and indeed much quieter than most of the bands deserved.

Band of Horses were next and they too rocked like the proverbial mother. The one act I headed up to Balado excited about seeing was
Ben Folds. It has to be said that his set was slightly subdued due to the fact that he had limited time. He barely spoke to the audience, apologising for not having the time to do so. His set focused mainly on his two studio solo albums, Rockin’ the Subrubs and Songs For Silverman with a couple of new ones and BFF tunes Kate and a great version of Underground thrown in.

My only complaint about the organisation of the event was that on my way out I had to ask 7 stewards and a policewoman where the exit was. Four stewards were happy to admit they had no clue, one steward pointed me to another who gamely tried to help despite having no clue, the policewoman, it turned out, was right but vague. The Supervisor I asked after that was 100% wrong and the one steward who did know where the exit could be found was belligerent, initially thinking that telling me it wasn't where she was standing was all the information I needed.

On Sunday I went down the front of the main stage to see Shed Seven, but I have to say I found them somewhat lacklustre.

Perhaps the highlight of the festival was in the King Tut’s Tent. I think I’m one of the only people I know who thinks that That’s Not My Name is a great pop record. I’ve even been going into the cinema early to see that Radio 1 advert which features it. The tent was completely heaving for
The Ting Tings. The only previous T in the Park I’ve been to was the first one and I think this show draws parallels with Oasis at that first one. In that both bands had just got that bit too big for the slot they’d been put into, which really made it an event.

They opened with Great DJ and it was truly fantastic. A group that recognised that their time had come. They romped through most of their debut album before the inevitable closer, a storming version of That’s Not My Name.

You can see both songs
here at their BBC T in the Park page.

I'd been looking forward to seeing
The National again and I thought it was a shame that the tent was so quiet for them. I ran off from there to catch Frightened Rabbit in the T-Break tent. The last time I was so excited about a Scottish band it was Teenage Fanclub. They rose to the occasion well. The tent was bouncing and singing along and the band really went for it.

In the Relentless tent I saw Canadian electro-rock dance instrumental outfit Holy Fuck and they were one of the best things all weekend. Perhaps my favourite thing of the weekend was watching them close with Lovely Allen.

Primal Scream closed the King Tut's Tent and REM on the Main Stage. I saw a bit of both of them before going back to the T-Break tent to see Zoey Van Goey. Despite being up against several big name acts and the lure of home for lots of people they still managed to pull a respectable crowd.

Although the media now is focused on the one stabbing incident I have to say I didn’t see one single bit of bother, despite the fact there were clearly a good number of bams in attendance. Unfortunately it’s what a lot of people who weren’t there will focus on. I’ve heard folk moaning about it twice by Monday afternoon. Once in the barber’s, then again in a bakery, although that wasn’t about the stabbing but the fact that it was on TV. I also noted that pretty much every tabloid found a way to lead with the stabbing illustrated by a picture of Amy Winehouse. One of them said the incident took place 'just hours before Amy Winehouse took the stage'. Aye, 17 hours.

I have of course got sets on my Flickr page click here for
Day One and click here for Day Two.

BBC's site has lots of video and audio, although not of any of the acts in the Pet Sounds Arena.

Tom's T in the Park Top Ten

1. Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen
2. The Ting Tings - Great DJ
3. Frightened Rabbit - Keep Yourself Warm
4. Ben Folds - Underground
5. The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
6. Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper
7. Band of Horses - Is There a Ghost?
8. The Hold Steady - Sequestered in Memphis
9. The National - Start a War
10.Kate Nash - Pumpkin Soup

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