T in the Park 2012: Friday
The annually devastated Balado fields rang in a mud fiesta for the 19th year of T in the Park, with a weekend of relentless rain and a typically genre-spanning musical selection on show for those brave enough to endure the elements. Featuring a line-up which, particularly in recent years, has fallen in league with the ever transient pop charts (Nicki Minaj aye?), the monolithic T nevertheless continues to serve up a bounty of local, national and international acts in a Bermuda Triangle of funfairs, burgers and bevy.
Never mind the Stone Roses reunion; if Twitter was to be believed, the most exciting thing to happen at the event this year was two people shagging at the back of the Slam Tent. But, those with wide enough strides to traverse the gloop were rewarded with some hidden gems, buried in the billing like a wino face down in the muck. We found our own fun...
With the main-stagers (Example, lord help us) stealing most of the opening night's crowd, Tribes bravely face a depleted audience on the Transmissions Stage. Still, the band are clearly happy to be here to make their T debut; “We were only expecting about six people,” confesses frontman Johnny Lloyd, before the youthful, endearingly shambolic Modest Mouse-esque outfit rumble through a salvo of singles: Sapho, We Were Children, and Nightdriving all make an apeparance. Unfortunately the tent’s awkward acoustics do them no favours, and the band’s typically drowsy tunes don't do enough to stir this reluctant showing. [GS]
An early highlight of the weekend, Leeds quartet Pulled Apart by Horses deliver a demanding set of hammerblow guitars and Tom Hudson's brutal Lemmy-meets-Zack de la Rocha roaring. While the raw muscle of the tracks evokes their medieval moniker, the lads themselves command the stage with ruffian likeability. Guitarist James Brown, with a classic T in the Park novelty mustache, introduces himself as Tom Selleck before inciting an in-crowd dance-off, stagediving, and riding their roadie Duncan while the man tries to do his job . A winning mix of invigorating rock and top class banter. [GS]
Psych disciples The Brian Jonestown Massacre have become something of a Balado institution, having appeared three out of the past six years (and taken the honour of closing the sorely missed Pet Sounds Arena in 2008). They sound revitalised tonight, thanks in part to having a decent new record, Aufheben, to promote. Viholliseni Maalla sits well alongside more familiar numbers like Anemone. Anton Newcombe is clearly enjoying himself, meaning the band – and in turn the crowd – can relax and enjoy the show. Despite playing a sizable set, they don't seem particularly stretched. But with this band, known for their confrontations, any gear below raucous still has the potential to be a bumpy ride. [CM]
No doubt becoming more confident, Edinburgh locals Bwani Junction play a cheery T Break set. While still somewhat shy on stage, their boyish charm only enhances their sunkissed afrobeat-influenced indie rock songs, and the crowd are so enamoured and supportive that this could easily have been in a pub. Closing with the beloved Two Bridges, what frontman Rory Fairweather and co might lack in stage swagger, they make up for with a devoted following and a hardy crop of glimmering, honest tracks. [GS]
"Stephen's getting old," jokes Bernard Sumner, as King Tut's headliner New Order pause for a few moments mid-set. But at least Stephen Morris is present behind his kit. Peter Hook, meanwhile, is nowhere to be seen. Whilst one original member has been lost since the band last appeared at T in 2005, Gillian Gilbert has returned on keyboards and their sound is all the better for it. Gone is the occasionally guitar-heavy live sound of old, and instead the lush synth parts of Bizarre Love Triangle have been restored in full. Playing a tent suits New Order; they are, after all, primarily a dance band, and were never suited to outdoor stages. Tonight's set is big on the hits. Ceremony chimes and haunts, whilst Temptation soars and prompts even the stiffest limbs to unwind. An encore of Love Will Tear Us Apart gains a cheer, but is ultimately unnecessary. New Order can survive on their own. [CM]