Part of the attraction of the Last Shadow Puppets these days, quite aside from the music, is seeing how far Alex Turner and Miles Kane are willing to indulge these caricatures of themselves that they’ve created – is Turner still carrying himself off like a coked-up sex lizard? Will we see him gyrate at the front of the stage like Alan Partridge at the North Norfolk Digital office party? And why does Miles Kane insist on playing every gig like a 15 year-old acting out his fantasies in the bathroom mirror?
You might scoff – and who knows, that may even be the point of it all – but T in the Park feels badly in need of the Shadow Puppets’ peculiar brand of absurdity this evening: their performance can be baffling, it can be bizarre, it can even be strangely irritating (see Kane’s vexatious cover of The Fall’s ‘Totally Wired’) but it’s never, ever boring. Opening with ‘Calm Like You’, Kane strides onstage in a white Adidas tracksuit with black leather loafers; Turner is more muted in a pair of thoroughly-unnecessary sunglasses and bandana tied around his neck. The weather is almost as schizophrenic as their personas: one minute it’s clear skies and sunshine, the next it’s an unholy deluge.
As ever, the pair seem to spend an inordinate amount of time admiring each other, Turner gazing longingly, if a little awkwardly, into Kane’s eyes during ‘Aviation’ and later attempting to lead the crowd in a chorus of “Miles, Miles, Miles fucking Kane!” It might feel stilted and phoney if the songs themselves weren’t so good: backed by a string quartet, they race ferociously through debut single ‘The Age of the Understatement’ before going into the shimmering, salacious dream-pop of ‘Dracula Teeth’ and ‘Miracle Aligner’. They lose their way slightly during the second half, when Turner begins to wig out like nobody’s watching and Kane starts snarling his way through the humdrum ‘Bad Habits’, but a closing cover of David Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’ ensures they end on a high note. The Last Shadow Puppets might still feel like an in-joke none of the rest of us are privy to, but they leave T in the Park smiling tonight nonetheless.