It had to happen: after two days of unseasonably glorious weather, the final day of TRNSMT sees the heavens open over Glasgow Green. A little rain was never going to deter professional extrovert Matt Healy, however. The 1975 frontman might arrive onstage fully clothed, but that state of affairs lasts all of the first verse of ‘Love Me’ – from that point onwards, Healy is topless, shameless, and in the mood for seduction. The TRNSMT crowd, for their part, are only too happy to oblige him.
The 1975’s set is a textbook lesson in pop-rock slickness, and they’re surely destined to be headlining gigs like this in the not-too-distant future, but it’s Healy that really sets them apart. “We’re English, and we’re bored to death with all this nonsense,” he tells the crowd before ‘Loving Someone’, having already initiated a chant of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’. “We wanna be a band that stands for equality. We don’t like nationalism, racism or ostracising people based on the way they look or what they do with their genitals… We need to be young and liberal and beautiful. I don’t want to preach, but it seems like I actually do…”
Next up are Biffy Clyro, a band who haven’t been seen clothed onstage since Tony Blair’s first term in office. As holders of the record for most T in the Park performances, working their way up from the T Break stage in 1999 to headliner status in 2014, it feels appropriate – even inevitable – that they’re here to help usher in its successor. Yet if Biffy are, in festival terms, the Scottish equivalent to a pair of comfy old slippers, someone clearly forgot to inform Simon Neil.
“Thanks for not kicking me out of Scotland for wearing sequinned trousers,” grins the sparkly-trewed frontman as he pulls on his acoustic guitar for ‘Medicine’, but Neil’s sartorial choices are far from the only eye-popping feature of this set. Opening with the barnstorming trio of ‘Wolves of Winter’, ‘Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies’ and ’57’, Biffy really are that band who “have achieved so much more than you possibly thought we could,” going from unfancied Ayrshire weirdos to the most successful Scottish rock band of all time – and they’ve got the confetti cannons, pyrotechnics and firework displays to prove it.
The big moments – like ‘Many of Horror’, ‘Folding Stars’ and the jets of flame that shoot up from the stage during ‘Who’s Got a Match?’ – are exactly as dramatic as you’d expect, but the unexpected, out-of-nowhere highlight is arguably the demented ‘There’s No Such Thing as a Jaggy Snake’. As ever, the enduring affection for Biffy in their homeland adds an extra dimension to the set, and the feeling is obviously mutual, with Neil informing the crowd that, “this might sound like I’m blowing smoke on your balls, but tonight has been our favourite ever show in Scotland,” and drummer Ben Johnstone quipping, “Can we come back next week?” TRNSMT may be a different kettle of fish from T in the Park, but you get the sense that Biffy Clyro’s longstanding open invitation still stands.
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