T 2009: The Key Players

T in the Park's 2009 line-up is an embarrassment of riches. But how to sift the gold of talent (Blur, M83 et al) from the silt of mediocrity (Starsailor)? The Skinny's sized up what's on offer, and here we pick out a few promising nuggets sure to be well worth the entry fee.

Feature by Gillian Watson | 07 Jul 2009
  • Nine Inch Nails

THE PHANTOM BAND

(T Break Stage, Friday)

What’s in a name? Plenty, if The Phantom Band are anything to go by. The hauntingly original Glaswegian sextet are known for their elusiveness: flitting between musical styles, skimping on personal details, they’re impossible to pin down. What we do know is that they’ll struggle to hold onto their anonymity after this mettle-testing T Break set. [GW]

Tune they'd better play: The Howling

EDWYN COLLINS

(King Tut's Wah Wah Tent, Friday)

Following his miraculous recovery from a brain haemorrhage, Scottish indie godfather Edwyn Collins’ gigs have become near-religious experiences. His shockingly overdue Balado debut promises to be another life-affirming event; go to see what the next step is in a thirty-year-and-counting career that gathers momentum as the man regains strength. [GW]

Tune hey'd better play: A Girl Like You

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS

(Main Stage, Friday)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have an imposing back catalogue – 14 studio albums, 15 if you include Grinderman, 16 if you count Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus as two – and every single one worthy of effusive praise and recommendation. Whatever they choose to play on Friday night, there's bound to be a few of your favourites in there, among a whole slew of new-to-yous to explore at a later date. [AB]

Tune they'd better play: Tupelo

BRONTO SKYLIFT

(T Break Stage, Saturday)

Worried you'll end up covered in mud by Saturday night? Fear not: Glasgow post-grunge power duo Bronto Skylift are bringing their skin-scraping noise to the T Break stage. Don't call this lot the Scottish Nirvana: they make the Seattle trio look like pussies in comparison. Who needs bass guitars anyway? [GW]

Tune they'd better play: Eagle/Falcon

THE HORRORS

(Radio 1 NME Stage, Saturday)

Everyone seems astonished that The Horrors are suddenly 'credible' again; that's what a Portishead member's involvement can do for you. Geoff Barrow produced Primary Colours, their really very good second album, which has seen a revival of interest in a band many had previously dismissed as substance-less image hawkers. Not so now. [AB]

Tune they'd better play: Sea Within a Sea

FRANZ FERDINAND

(Main Stage, Saturday)

Franz Ferdinand brought their third album out a few months ago, but you'd be forgiven for forgetting considering critics seem to be prioritising the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new synth-heavy art-pop record instead. Friday night's line-up looks like a straight choice between the two, between Ulysses and Zero; but think of Twilight Omens, Live Alone and Lucid Dreams too. Don't forget Tonight. [AB]

Tune they'd better play: All of the above

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS

(T Break Stage, Sunday)

Hailing from Edinburgh but based in Glasgow, We Were Promised Jetpacks are a band whose reputation is built on their live shows, because they focus on movement and momentum rather than melody. They've just released their excellent debut album, These Four Walls, on FatCat, so this T-Break stage Sunday show should see a home-ish crowd fresh off the excitement of that release, yelling along with every holler from singer Adam Thompson. [AB]

Tune they'd better play: Quiet Little Voices

M83

(King Tut's Wah Wah Tent, Saturday)

If there’s dignity to be found sandwiched between Iglu and Hartley and the Noisettes, then M83 will find it. Promising the perfect antidote to Friday night’s hangover, expect his dreamy pop-haze to temporarily transport punters away from the mud, sweat and beers to the coolest eighties discothèque their heads can conjure. [CB]

Tune they'd better play: Graveyard Girl

JANE'S ADDICTION

(Radio 1 NME Stage, Saturday)

NME once called Nirvana the Guns ‘N Roses it’s OK to like, but surely Jane’s Addiction better fit the bill? Judge for yourself when the Los Angeles legends drop some epic guitar riffs, histrionic solos and quintessential rock posturing to a Balado crowd over-excited by this long-overdue, original line-up reunion. [DC]

Tune they'd better play: Been Caught Stealing

MANIC STREET PREACHERS

(King Tut's Wah Wah Tent, Saturday)

With their somewhat unexpected return to form via Journal for Plague Lovers, this years’ appearance at T in the Park by the Manic Street Preachers should elicit more than just nostalgic curiosity from their old faithful. Use this as your excuse to don your feather boas and glam make-up. [DC]

Tune they'd better play: Faster

NINE INCH NAILS

(Radio 1 NME Stage, Saturday)

If the sight of Brandon Flowers in a peacock costume is enough to give you the night terrors, seek respite across the park as industrial rock godfather-cum-world's scariest digital nerd Trent Reznor bows out from the live arena with a set chocked full of thrash, glitch and cyberpunk hits from his two decades as Nine Inch Nails. I'm still on the lookout for that Strobelight collaboration he released with Timbaland on April Fools' Day. Wait... [JL]

Tune they'd better play: Closer

BLUR

(Main Stage, Sunday)

It's T and scones all round as a reunited Blur, that most quintessentially English of bands, satisfy our nostalgic longing for when Britannia was still cool and people bought singles. This reunion promises to be more than a retroactive cash-in, though; it's worth remembering that Blur at their peak were intelligent and unpredictable in a way that few mainstream acts have matched since. We suspect that, Noughties upstarts notwithstanding, the big story of the weekend will be Albarn and Co reclaiming the Celtic fringe. [GW]

Tune they'd better play: The Universal

T in the Park takes place in Balado between Friday 10 - Sunday 12 July.

http://www.tinthepark.co.uk