T in the Park 2014: Saturday 12 July

Live Review by Chris McCall and George Sully | 17 Jul 2014

Despite the forecasts of heavy rain, the positive mood of Saturday’s festival crowd never dampens. It's the day of the Scottish heavyweights on the main stage, with Paolo Nutini and Calvin Harris jousting to attract the most press attention, and the only day of the three to completely sell out. Away from the maddening crowds, the more discerning T punter can enjoy some impressive performances from a host of emerging talents in the ever-reliable T Break and BBC Introducing tents, while also making time for one of the several veteran acts with solid pedigrees who have made the trip north to secure their first Balado appearance before the festival’s big flit to Strathallan next year. [Chris McCall]

For anyone needing a wake-up call on the first official hangover of the festival, We Came From Wolves at the T Break stage do the job nicely. Unabashed post-pubescent alt-rock with punk sensibilities (think Taking Back Sunday or pre-American Idiot Green Day), this quartet (“from the fair city of Perth”, reminds lead singer Kyle Burgess) sing and play with an honesty that is as refreshing as it is lyrically stimulating. Paradise Place is a highlight, but the real gem is closing track For All Our Sins, We’re Golden. [George Sully]

Yet more sunshine music graces Balado in the form of Liverpool’s indiepop foursome Circa Waves strutting on the King Tut’s stage. With an upbeat sound reminiscent of a whole palette of artists (Two Door Cinema Club, the Libertines, the Kooks) but still fun, danceable and infectious (“Who wants to dance?” asks frontman Kieran Shuddall – everyone, it looks like), they might not be the most groundbreaking act of the weekend, but when it’s this much fun, who cares? [GS]

The Stranglers stand out from Saturday’s main stage line-up for several reasons; they are all decked out from head to toe in black and at least one of them is nearly three times the age of the average T performer. But their single most distinguishing characteristic is their music – No More Heroes, to give just one example, isn’t just a classic, it’s the definitive mission statement of the New Wave era. With a band this skilled, you worry they might veer into Las Vegas show band territory, but The Stranglers built their career by springing surprises, and today we’re treated to a muscular cover of The Kinks’ All Day and All of the Night. [CM]

Ross Leighton emerges alone, guitar in hand, to start what probably ranks as the biggest show Glasgow's Fatherson have ever played. He begins a plaintive rendition of An Island, which grows into a soaring crescendo when joined by his three bandmates. It’s an impressive entry and one the sizable King Tut’s crowd laps up. The band are visibly moved at the reaction to I Like Not Knowing, and it’s hard not to be caught up in what feels like a huge moment for many of those present. With momentum like this, the four piece can surely look forward to playing an even bigger stage next year. [CM]

Caithness residents Neon Waltz are one of the few bands playing the T Break stage to hail from out with the Central Belt, which counts as a positive today as they stand out simply by sounding nothing like their Balado contemporaries. The six piece play short, three-minute, organ-driven psychedelic pop numbers that hint at the likes The Prisoners or Inspiral Carpets, but with none of the bombast. Frontman Jordan Shearer seems almost shy, sweetly singing from behind a fringe that covers most of his face. [CM]

The weather could only last so long; “Fuck the rain!” yells Twin Atlantic frontman Sam McTrusty, clearly awed by the Main Stage attendance despite the drizzle. On the eve of releasing their third album Great Divide, the quartet bop through their spunky pop-rock with plenty of anthemic, wave-friendly numbers. They close with the punchy new track Heart and Soul which, in the wake of last night’s climactic close, feels perhaps a bit too much like the recent output of those gents from Ayr; but we’ll let them off. [GS]

Keith Murray and Chris Cain are sometimes almost a stand-up act; this afternoon they wryly thank serendipity for the rain bringing people into King Tut’s, and wonder if some attendees are raining on the inside. We Are Scientists don’t make funny music, though; their set is a tight indie-rock operation flitting from speedy staple Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt, to shiny, beachy new song Sprinkles, an intense clap-driven This Scene Is Dead, a brutal Lethal Enforcer and a ball-clenching rendition of It’s A Hit. The crowd aren’t into it, unfortunately; raining on the inside, probably. [GS]

As far as festival set-openers go, James performing a rapturously received rendition of early 90s student anthem Come Home takes some beating. A lean, smiling Tim Booth emerges from the wings in a red beanie hat and immediately drops down from the stage to sing from the edge of the crowd. The Manchester veterans are happy to several tracks from new album La Petite Mort, confident that they have the crowd with them. When it duly arrives, Sit Down is met with fevered appreciation from the main stage masses. Their hour set whizzes by, and Booth strides off stage looking very much like a man who knows his band have won over more than a few doubters. [CM]

Dundee’s Copper Lungs have already established a name for themselves in their home city and look eager to make the most of their short set on the BBC Introducing stage. Tigthly written pop-rock gems like Lego sound like FM radio hits in the making, with its bouncing bass line and infectious energy. It's a well-practiced performance from a band who sound ready to climb a further rung in the career ladder. [CM]

There’s a heavy sense of expectation in the BBC Introducing tent ahead of the arrival of The Amazing Snakeheads. This will be the first time many of those assembled – including Sophie Ellis Bextor - will have seen the Glaswegians in action, who are riding high on the back of an acclaimed debut album and a reputation for thrilling live performances – their residency at Glasgow’s Broadcast is already entering the realms of the near-legendary. But it’s been far from plain sailing for the group – guitarist and Snakehead mainman Dale Barclay is the sole survivor from the trio that built the group’s initial reputation. But he displays absolutely zero sign of nerves, marching on stage, removing his shirt and flashing the kind of glare that would have reduced even Sonny Liston to jelly. The Snakeheads Mk II have lost none of the intensity of old, with Barclay’s powerful delivery of I’m A Vampire a particular stand-out. But the gang-like image of the Snakeheads has gone. This is Barclay’s show now, and he more than proves he’s capable of delivering. He punches the air in satisfaction at the set's close, as the crowd roar their approval. [CM]

The cavernous King Tut’s tent provides the perfect venue for The Human League; their gleaming white instruments dazzle through the steam of several hundred punters drying from the rain outside. Phillip Oakley strides on stage with the hood of his trench coat firmly pulled up, as if anticipating the inclement weather to breach the tent. Having led the synthpop pioneers for more than 30 years, he’s a masterful performer and the crowd eagerly joins in with the likes of Mirror Man and Love Action. Oakley suddenly strides off stage, seconds before that intro to Don’t You Want Me Baby begins, leaving the crowd to roar along its opening verse. Even as mass sing-alongs go, this seems something that bit more special, with seemingly every last member of the audience involved. But considering it’s one of top 25 selling singles of all time, it’s perhaps little surprise. [CM]

Night falls on the second day and electronica producer Shaun Canning sets up a wide desk of kit on the T Break stage. He is Atom Tree, and tonight he is joined by live drums and a female vocalist to aid in his mesmeric, engrossing textures. Echoes of Jon Hopkins and Explosions in the Sky ring out through the darkly throbbing soundscapes, building glacial, sweeping auras over stuttering beats. It’s an enchanting end to Saturday, and with that level of cosmic polish, good things await Mr. Canning. [GS]

One upside to employing no roadies is that notoriously fickle festival crowds can quickly establish a rough idea of an unfamiliar band; in this case a number of punters can be seen entering the T Break tent to establish what all the noise is as Fat Goth’s Fraser Stewart and Kevin Black riff up a storm during their pre-set soundcheck. With Mark Keiller providing the rhythmic backbone, when the show does get underway it’s everything we’ve come to expect from the Dundee power trio, and then some. Sin Altar and Sweet Mister Scary are both played with serious power and conviction. The location of the T Break stage means you do occassionaly hear – whether you want to or not – whoever’s on the nearby main stage, but there’s no such problem tonight. When Fat Goth square up to Calvin Harris, there’s only ever going to be one winner. [CM]

Photography by Jassy Earl and Beth Chalmers. For a full look at our pictures from Friday, including Elbow and Birdhead see here.