First day of T In The Park finds The Strokes last-minute addition wowing the punters, but the day belongs to Stereophonics...
Today’s rain is so strong that you can see fish swimming past you on your
way to the beer tent. But true to form, the T In The Park hardcore are oblivious to the torrents and, even at 12 noon, are bare-chested and play-fighting in the mud. What fun!
Thanks to Weezer‘s decision to pull out of the bill, The Strokes have been added to the bill to experience their first taste of UK festival action. It’s a good swap. Judging by the look of amazement on their faces as thousands of teenage Scots jump up and down in the air to songs they’ve never heard they seem to like it a lot. “The singer’s gorgeous!” squeal the girls; “I’m going to get my haircut like him,” think the boys.
The Dandy Warhols‘ Courtney Taylor looks gorgeous today as well. All
cheekbones and heavy eyelids, Courtney’s well-documented obsession with Spiritualized’s narcotic rock’n’roll seems to have finally crossed over to his own band, to brilliant effect. Where they once rocked out, they now nod out. Meanwhile, Turin Brakes and Muse are currently in competition to see which group’s singer sounds the most like Jeff Buckley. Both the flame-haired gothic nightmare Matt Bellamy and the more conventionally-atired Olly Knights pay tribute to Jeff in their own ‘special’ way today.
Named after a dildo, Birmingham’s King Adora make an impressive, hard noise, full of snot and bile. Maybe it’s because singer Matt Browne wears his [I]”heartbreak on his sleeve”[/I] and loves cheap speed and sleaze. Good luck to him. The rain actually stops for James‘ set. That is, until Tim Booth starts doing his funny dance and starts complaining that the crowd haven’t bought their latest album and don’t dance to their new songs. “It’s all about familiarity” he bleats, contemptuously.
Extensive touring has tightened up Placebo’s once patchy live show no end. Even Brian Molko (who is made entirely out of cocaine), looks like he’s been working out. His charged performance makes up for the group’s legendary lack of tunes. The rush to see MTV darlings Wheatus is crazy. It’s a tight squeeze but we manage to get into the sweaty Stage Two tent to see absolutely everybody here lose their minds to their cover of Erasure’s ‘Respect’ and their ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ single.
While the king of drive-time radio David Gray ably entertains everybody’s parents on the main stage, lil’ Nelly Furtado goes one step further to prove she’s not just an R&B Alanis Morissette in King Tut’s tent. Her voice is fantastic, she’s charming and sweet and a run through Missy Elliott‘s ‘Get Ur Freak On’ converts even more to her cause.
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Such is the T crowd’s adoration for the Modfather, the police are called to stop punters rushing into Paul Weller‘s accoustic set. Those who managed to get in get a vintage Weller set, complete with Noel Gallagher duets on ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ‘A Town Called Malice’.
As Weller and Gallagher know, the ever-changing fashions of the music industry can be a bummer, and nowhere is that demonstrated more plainly than in the barely half-full tents containing headline performances by once-indie-superstars Catatonia and The Divine Comedy. While both bands are still, essentially, as good as they ever were, the punters are all bounding off to see Stereophonics. This was always going to be their gig, and Kelly Jones seems to know it. He also seems to have been taking lessons in frontmanship offLiam Gallagher, having taken the decision to wear shades and even adding a little Manchester-drawl to his raspy stadium rock howl. As a result, it’s a much more invigorating Stereophonics performance than usual. Every song’s a perfectly-realised singalong anthem and, as such, gets sung by a large majority of the 100,000 sodden Scots here today. They even stopped the rain – Kelly’s Army wins again.