At last count, Biffy Clyro were the band with the most T in the Park appearances under their belt, having notched up ten over the course of almost twenty years. Calvin Harris appears to be gunning for them, however: after taking a rare year off in 2015, tonight marks his eighth T in ten years.
Harris has certainly put in the hard yards, having worked his way up from a gawky 23 year-old keeping the King Tuts tent warm for The Long Blondes in 2007 to the buffed and bronzed international super-producer he is today. He’s brought a production befitting of that status, too: he may not have Will Smith as his hype-man this year, from the trippy visuals to the pyro-jets to the gigantic neon pylons positioned around the stage and in the crowd, you certainly couldn’t fault Harris for spectacle.
Local hero or not, however, it still takes a while for Harris to really get going. His voice is sounding hoarse – not that that’s necessarily a problem for a DJ – and whether through jet-lag or last night’s over-exertions, he seems unsure of exactly what day it is (“It’s Sunday night, T in the Park, make some noise!”). He has an impressive catalog of hits to his name – ‘We Found Love’, ‘Summer’, ‘Blame’, et al – but for all the whizz-bang production values that accompany them, he remains little more than a raspy-voiced silhouette stood behind a set of space-age decks. It’s not until Dizzee Rascal bounds onto the stage to perform their new collaboration ‘Hype’ that this set comes to life: Harris is a distant, detached figure, but Dizzee gamely scrambles down to the barrier and whips the crowd into a frenzy by chanting “Here we fucking go!” It seems odd that he doesn’t stick around to play their 2009 chart-topper ‘Dance Wiv Me’, particularly since he’s the only special guest Harris has brought along.
GBX’s ‘Bits & Pieces’ closes out the set in euphoric, old-skool style – the result of a local radio DJ’s campaign to get Harris to play it – but you can’t help feeling this set is lacking an undefinable x-factor. Not to worry; we’re sure he’ll be back next year to rectify it.