Slam Tent 2009 - Saturday

Jaco Justice visits T in the Park for the first sunny year in recent memory. Yet he just can't leave the shadows of the Slam Tent

Feature by Jaco Justice | 22 Jul 2009

The recent idea to commence the festival on the Friday certainly boosts the early party-starters for the Slam Tent’s kick-off late the following morning. Soma long-players Silicone Soul are on fine form, playing out tracks fresh from their eponymous album (third so far), released last week, and delivering a drifting and dreamy start to the day through their house roots, especially with Sei-A’s remix of Language of the Soul - the lead single from the record.

Up next was Claude VonStroke and his own take on baseline philandering. The American has struck it rather large of late, and there’s no mistaking his grizzly presence in the deck-pit. With plenty from his Dirtybird catalogue to paw the still-quite-light but growing crowd, he opts for some Deep Throat, Aundy and Style of Eye’s Hide to showcase his big-room grooves - equally matched by the specifics of the sound-system in here. “What is you favourite flavour?” rambles a vocal regarding ice-cream. Mmmm... thoughts turn to visiting the wee red van outside the tent but alas, the crowds are pouring in for the next act.

The one-man rave unit that is Beardyman is certainly amassing an audience from all walks of the site, the early show perhaps giving some their one and only visit to Slam’s outpost. His beat-boxing and multi-looped live show brings a physical performance of festival dynamite, topped off with an all-conquering, crowd-participating version of The White Stripes’s Seven Nation Army. The quick-fire tempo changes are fine fiddle for getting things warmed-up musically, even though the interior of the tent starts to stifle from the scorching weather brewing outside.

Mr Scruff’s fusion of hip-hop, jazz and house is keeping the party perfect for the revellers still in force inside, added to his medley of big beat anthems are his instantly recognisable visuals adorning the massive screens adjacent to the stage. Whales and decks float by as the summer vibes crank up a notch when a big-ass version of Don’t Leave Me This Way by The Temptations drops before The Cure’s Love Cats begins: a firm favourite round these parts.

Laurent Garnier and his live brass ensemble leap straight into what will be the tone for much of the rest of the evening. The dark, twisting techno track that is last year’s Back to My Roots (Innervisions) is perhaps like a satisfying visit to the Death Star’s dentist. Garnier springs around the set feeding his energies to the other performers on stage as he introduces the seminal Crispy Bacon, and while the drum ’n’ bass interlude is not to everyone’s taste, all weapons are restored with another new epic Gnanmankoudji - spread over some 15 minutes, trumpet encore after trumpet encore. The Man With The Red Face then cements the arrival of the Slam Tent 2009.

Slam gather more momentum from the verve still seeping from the previous act, launching their tag-team techno assault on their ever faithful legions of supporters. Coming in, as they normally do, midway through the day’s line-up, it’s a unique opportunity for an act at Balado to actually host an arena and the glee, albeit tucked in the stage’s shadows, is still evident from the Glaswegian legends after eleven years here.

Perhaps an all too regular sight on the bill for some is Green Velvet. But as he performs a full live show all seems to be forgiven, as the renditions of LaLa Land and Flash erupt the unflattering, but all too familiar, crowd-chanting chorus of ‘here we fucking go’. The general screaming cacophony prevails however, and true supporters of this mixed-up Chicago legend get their money’s worth, tenfold. He’ll be back, that’s for sure.

As will Felix da Housecat no doubt, which is a shame - because he’s poor. He might presume clowning and joking around on stage with his American buddy before will have the audience sucked into his electro musical charms but there’s no hiding his use of the same old tired formula to his sets. Up and down we go. A build up. A crescendo timed with the strobe lights. And down again, filters lowered, beats suppressed. And off we go with another grower, again and again. Beat it, Felix.

Which brings us to the headliners on the opening day of the Slam Tent. 2ManyDJs, with giant Radio Soulwax banner adorned behind, are in top of the bill mood - the brothers dressed sharply in matching tuxedos. The visuals and sounds sync together almost too perfectly as Python-esque facial graphics of Dizzy Rascal and man of the moment Michael Jackson judder and splinter with the slinging of their mash-ups. La Rock, Gossip and Kid Cudi’s Day and Night are just some of the highlights, but there’s hardly time to reflect with so much audio and visual assault.