T in the Park 2015: Saturday, 11 July

Live Review by Aidan Ryan | 14 Jul 2015

Punters arriving on day two of T in the Park could be forgiven if they found Strathallan a home-from-home. Less than 48 hours after the gates had opened for the first time at the festival's new site, that strange smell of sodden grass, piss and lager lingers in the air and the familiar bass vibrations from the Slam Tent can be felt from several hundreds yards away. The new location is more compact, meaning the marathon treks between stages at T's former home in Balado are a thing of the past – you can saunter out of King Tut's and a pick central spot at the Radio 1 stage within minutes – and the tree-lined perimeter gives the place a more welcoming feel than the old barren airfield down at Kinross. It's outside the arena that the problems start. Those arriving by bus face huge queues to gain entry, with mandatory bag searches slowing proceedings to a virtual standstill. Later on, reports of cars stuck in the mud and delayed bus services stretch some punters' patience to breaking point. But no one comes to T to marvel at the infrastructure and seamless transport planning, do they? [CM]

After cramming the T Break Tent in 2011, headlining the BBC Introducing Stage in 2013, and playing King Tut's last summer, The LaFontaines finally make it to T's Main Stage and look thrilled to be there. It's a new day, but they're still following high-wattage headliners Kasabian, and at quarter past 12, most festivalgoers are still nursing breakfast rolls, morning beers, and bruises. But a thin crowd swells and catches choruses if not the verses of the rap-rockers' songs – a bit of Rage Against the Machine, a shot of Wolfmother, with a dram of native swagger – and we're ready to squat, jump, and fist-pump at vocalist Kerr Okan's command.  He leaps down to take a video selfie with his crowd while the boys – particularly drummer Jamie Keenan – keep wailing away onstage. Festival sages made a smart choice picking The LaFontaines to wake us all up – though considering their climb up T's totem pole you expect the next time The LaFontaines take the Main Stage, the sun will be setting. [AR]

To many bands, opening slots no doubt feel like something of a consolation prize, but The Strypes don't let their pride get in the way of a good show. The Irish four piece open the Radio 1 Stage brimming with unlikely vigour for a Saturday midday, but their enthusiasm is admirable and their formulaic yet vivacious retro rock proves contagious. Imbued with frontman Ross Farrelly's slick suited charm, tracks like Get Into It showcase the group's musicality, with stomping beats and neatly executed guitar solos. It doesn't hurt that Farrelly knows how to endear himself to a local audience – his call for Buckfast wins him many cheers, and more than a few new fans. [CF]

You can do worse for a second gig (well, technically, although this is Discopolis under a new guise) than T's BBC Introducing stage – especially if you're childhood friends from Edinburgh, a city with few footholds (eleven months out of the year) for the kind of shimmering atmospheric pop Stillhound peddles. The quartet conjures an appreciative crowd, though heavy reverb on the vocals, combined with synths and keys making aural Moiré patterns under the tent's (relatively) low roof means the lyrics are often indecipherable. They arent funky but Cat Myers' fierce drumming drags the band back to earth when it dips a toe in territory too abstracted, and the final song's foray into the definitely danceable – 'I'm going to move my hips now," says singer Fergus Cook, "I've only been doing it ... this week' – leaves us wondering what these apparently hard workers and big thinkers really want to show us, if we give them our full attention. [AR]

It's always pleasing to see a new band brimming with confidence and with songs to boot, and Catholic Action look very much a group at the top of their game – but with the promise that the best is still to come. Fresh from launching their new single The Real World, the Glasgow four-piece raced through an all-too-brief lunchtime slot, which pleased the decent-sized T Break crowd. With power-pop choruses and a garage rock edge, frontman Chris McCrory has hit upon a clearly winning formula. [CM]

Festival organisers were optimistic in giving The Tennent's Arms bar a rooftoop terrace, and sure enough the drizzle comes down moments into Tricky's DJ set, sending the crowd scuttling back inside. Glacial chiming notes illuminate the rumbling beat (which at times shudders uncomfortably with sound distortion), creating a breezy soundscape reminiscent of an Iberian paradise. But we're here in Scotland amongst the mud, and the Bristolian trip-hop hero brings us back to reality with long vocal samples and rattling percussion, getting bar-goers up and shaking in the process. [CF]

Grizzled-looking in torn, stained jeans and a wiry grey beard, Seasick Steve is Saturday's aesthetic anomaly, when you consider that the festival sea that he inhabits is an ocean of pretty young acts more than three times his junior. But, boy, the man can play, his foot stomping slide guitar invigoating the Main Stage crowd, and he can tell a hell of a story, regaling the audience with life lessons as he swigs from a bottle of wine (of his last T in the Park set, in King Tut's tent, he says "it changed my life, it was so amazing"). Scotland loves an underdog, and with humbleness and humour in equal measure, Steve makes the blues a main stage must-see. [CF]

Less than 90 minutes after Catholic Action's set, Chris McCrory is back on stage drumming for Pinact. The duo are led by energetic guitarist Corrie Gillies, whose vocal-stylings have won favourable comparison to such Seattle stalwarts as Mark Arm, and his fuzz-tinged riffs also pack some serious power. Their live shows are usually known for their volume, but either a cautious sound engineer or a duff PA means their set doesn't quite hit the heights you might expect. [CM]

The so-called 'punk princess' of today's UK pop realm plays by all of the rules, opening with Sucker and keeping the kiddie-pool chant-pop coming – just what her fans expect.  OK, maybe you just have to drink the Kool-Aid. There's clearly something to Charli XCX – she cares about her performance and can craft a hook with the... very good, if not the best. But the occasionally coprolalic songstress can tick all our boxes and still leave (some of) us wanting for more substance. At her best, the sunglassed Charli channels Blondie, but most of the time she's less interesting to watch than her guitarist, smiling and evincing a loosely aesthetic rather than an dubiously ontological connection with the music. This is the problem: there's a disconnect, particularly when she tries to seem transgressive. 'I don't want to go to school' – but why? we wonder, particularly with Pete Doherty about to play two stages over. Maybe she's what 400 youngsters under a sun that can only almost-shine need right now. Or maybe she's a very talented girl pretending to play a giant white inflatable guitar. [AR]

Who knew purple lycra could look so good? All eyes are on Marina Diamandis as the frontwoman of Marina and The Diamonds takes to the King Tut's stage and proceeds to power through a captivating set of stylish electropop. Latest single Froot gives full breadth to Marina's impressive vocals, which never waver despite her energetic prancing about the stage, and Primadonna prompts what is surely one of the weekend's biggest singalongs. "Primadonna girl/All I ever wanted was the world", Diamandis sings, and judging by the adoring crowd, it seems she already has it in the palm of her hand. [CF]

'This isn't music to distract, this is music to confront. Let's destabilize this place,' says Enter Shikari frontman 'Rou' Reynolds.  And so cups, caps, shoes, and even Reynolds' guitar go flying, much to roadies' dismay. And while the set isn't as radical as, say, Bob Dylan plugging in at Newport (most of us here know what to expect) St. Albans' exuberant rockers tear the nonexistent roof off the Radio 1 stage and set the bar somewhere up in Perthshire's clouds - they're the hardest act to hit T yet. Versatile, even funabulatory vocalist Reynolds is everywhere, leaping from his keys/synth/programming setup back to the front of the stage, clambering over his monitors, maybe just trying to keep warm, while drummer Rob Rolfe (in sunglasses and a yellow smiley-faced 'Happy' t-shirt) grins through the whole set, laying down the dog-spikes for the railway we ride all the way into a blissed-out, blood-pumping and mud-splattered evening, expecteations high. [AR]

While Years and Years might have attracted a bigger crowd over at the Radio 1 stage, they're arguably not even the finest London-based electronica trio performing at Strathallan. That title surely belongs to Vaults, who shrug off such set-backs such as a late arrival on site and a far from full T Break tent. "We've only just got here, I've not had enough drink to get in the party spirit," singer Blythe informs the crowd. Latest single Cry No More is an addictive slice of electro pop, and would be enough to get the party started in even the most sober of venues. [CM]

It's not the first time that Jackmaster and Joy Orbison have done double duty at T in The Park, and their return is warmly welcomed by an eager Slam Tent audience. The Scot and the Londoner are equally known for their propensity to throw a curve ball into the mix, and they maintain that element of surprise by fragmenting their driving beat with calypso melodies, vocal samples and staccato rhythms. As the big screen melds psychedelic images of the two, they take the crowd deeper and deeper into an engrossing combination of yawning, sawing synth and plenty of well positioned spaces that have revellers begging for that oh-so-satisfying drop. [CF]

Janine Shilstone apparently loves cameras, not just mugging for them (though she does plenty of that) but grabbing a fan's phone and filming part of her band Vukovi's set, only to borrow another and freelance as a BBC reporter while she sings. She can also go from swaying swanlike lemniscates to wild jacknife dance moves, which actually channels Vukovi's sound, spanning dirty bezedrined metal and happy in-your-face pop, Shilstone's impressie pipes more cathedral than car exhaust – though she can curse, too. They're all about showmanship without conceding to choreography: Colin Irving playfully flips his sticks delivering sinewy beats, Hamish Reilly teases us (or the band?) with the Sweet Child O Mine lick, and Shilstone jumps into the crowd – demanding her space – to start a shout-off. Heart, chops, and contagious tunes (including a killer cover of Uptown Funk, an improvement, actually) make Vukovi one of this T's You-Ought-To-Have-Been-Theres. [AR]

The enchantingly melody-resistant St. Vincent robot-shuffles and shreds her way through a set delightfully weird and weirdly delightful. There is a bit of a gulf between St. Vincent and her audience – plenty of mega-fans are scattered about but othersare only loitering in the King Tut's tent, wondering about the hyped art-pop star's odd behaviour, what looks like an assembly line ballet with her guitarist/keyboardist. She's not the most accessible – her songs have rhythm but often lack momentum, and the choreography seems sometimes to grow out of the music, sometimes a gimmick to distract us while the songs go nowhere. But her esoteric solos are a treat (approaching Bitches Brew at one peak) especially as contemporary rock acts have moved away from the once-staple, and she leaves those who follow her in an attentive trance, the faithful satisfied and the newcomers very, very curious. [AR]

Neon Waltz are at a delicate stage of their still fledgling career. They've secured the record deal and attracted plenty of music press coverage - now it's all about keeping the momentum up while they plan a debut album. Tonight's headline slot on the BBC Introducing stage ticks all the boxes. There's enough friends and family to cheer loudly when required, but what must really please the Caithness outfit is the number of fans already joining in with their suitably festival-friendly choruses. Sombre Fayre in particular goes down well, and the six-piece are now looking a good bet to be playing on bigger festival stages before long. [CM]

Last year's record This Is All Yours may have seen Alt-J take a slightly more riff-driven turn, and the sassy, tongue-in-cheek Left Hand Free certainly gets the Radio 1 Stage bouncing, but the pleasure of seeing Alt-J perform lies in the spaces inbetween. Crisp, cacaphonous drumming, with tight snaps of the snare drum, glossy keys and undulating guitars – the group deliver a mesmirising, symphonic take on their slower-paced tracks. Outfitted in black the group look austere but their sound is anything but, and they're also not without humour, playing a cheeky Sweet Home Alabama intro before slipping into the beat-driven epic Nara. So hypnotic is their set that when they do kick up in tempo, ending with the rousing Breezeblocks, it's bittersweet, and a reminder that even though it's Alt-J's third time gracing a T stage, their live performances never fail to delight. [CF]

Last time The Libertines played T, way back in 2004, it was the sole responsibility of Carl Barat to entertain the crowd as co-frontman Pete Doherty was on one of his frequent periods of absence from the band. That general air of unpredictability used to charm fans, rather than enrage them, but tonight's set is solid rather than surprising. Doherty, sporting a leather coat similar to Christopher Lloyd's villain in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, seems in rude health and good spirits, leading a cheerful rendition of perennial indie club night favourite Time For Heroes. New single Gunga Din goes down okay, but it's unlikely to add many recruits to the still considerable Libs' fan base. Outdoor gigs has never particularly suited a group like this which thrives so much on the crowd's energy. A future playing respectable festival slots awaits them, but such a safe career choice does not easily fit with their once romantic persona. [CM]

See our full picture gallery from Saturday at this year's T in the Park here.

Punters arriving on day two of T in the Park could be forgiven if they found Strathallan a home-from-home.