Here is part one of T in the Park review – edited version appeared in the Herald.
T in the Park (Saturday)
The overwhelming impression of Saturday at T in the Park is one of waiting for the real goods on the Sunday. Never has the festival’s line up had such a lop-sided feel, and from the traffic queues on the way in to the numerous occasions on which the two main stages fell simultaneously silent, much of the day is spent waiting for, or looking for something truly inspiring.
Indeed, much of the early part of the day is thoroughly mundane. Jesse Malin is a pub-rock Springsteen sledgehammering his way through Neil Young’s “Helpless” and Costello’s “Oliver’s Army.” Pink is equally unsubtle. Her voice is big and she wheels out the hits, but in between, the ballads drag and a cover of 4 Non Blonde’s “What’s Up” is less than convincing.
When she announces that she was once arrested for singing, one is forced to wonder why Tayside Constabularly pass up the opportunity to curtail the agony. Michael Franti is his usual energetic self in the King Tut’s Tent, but Keane draw the biggest crowd of the first part of the day to the NME Stage.
Their success is a curious thing: polite and well mannered, “Everybody’s Changing” shows they know their way around a tune, but there is a timelessness about their work that acts against them: in essence, they are Deacon Blue for those too young to remember the eighties.
Starsailor are also inconsequentially unlovable. They offer “a disco song” (“Four To The Floor”) that is about as funky as Bon Jovi and by the time they launch into “Alcoholic,” a trip to the lost property office with a found mobile phone is an infinitely more appealing prospect.
Ash –a much more appealing and successful outfit – simultaneously pack out the King Tut’s tent, and would have been a better main stage act than the Wiagn dullards. Their set, which spans “Girl From Mars” to “”Starcrossed” marks them out as one of the best singles bands of recent years. Wu Tang Clan combine parody and profanity to little effect, and Carl Craig has some dancing around their JJB Sports’ carrier bags in the Slam Tent.
Katie Melua is another uninspired selection. Clearly ill equipped for a festival appearance, her svengali, Mike Batt (and a band that looks like it is drawn from his golfing buddies) offer a quiet and lumpy accompaniment for a clearly able singer. The Charlatans, by contrast, are a model festival act, though their durability is often more admirable than their organ solos. The Libertines are rough and admirably rowdy.
Of the headliners, Ocean Colour Scene can, worryingly, still fill a five thousand capacity tent, while Muse have mastered the art of projecting their epic rock to large arenas. Although slightly more subdued than their Glastonbury performance, “Sing For Absolution” and “Stockholm Syndrome” still count among the songs of the day.
Crazy outfits, a pipe band, a Radiohead cover and a pyrotechnics show: The Darkness certainly work hard to maintain interest in their antics. The latter is the only excellent part of their hystrionic display. The smell of cheese is pungent.