Live Review

T In The Park 2013

T In The Park 2013 is the festival’s rebirth with new talent shining brightly in the summer sun.

It’s amazing what a difference that great big yellow thing in the sky makes. While last year’s mud-splattered T In The Park resembled something akin to a post-apocalyptic disaster movie, this year’s twentieth anniversary celebration is blessedly bathed in near unbroken sunshine. The intoxicating summer vibes provide the necessary inspiration for a weekend full of diverse talents and the emergence of some new festival stars.

One of the best things about T is its ability to conjure up weird and wonderful scheduling anomalies. As such, Friday begins with the planet’s hottest rapper Kendrick Lamar having the unenviable position of following local heroes The Proclaimers on the main stage. It’s a challenge that King Kendrick is more than prepared for. Highlights from debut album ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’are dispensed with striking intensity, vigour and no little charm by the LA star and his band. Kendrick himself has grown into a supremely confident performer who seamlessly flits between the jumped up aggression of ‘Backseat Freestyle’ to the call and response coda of ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ before a thrilling mosh pit inducing version of ‘Money Tree’.

Phoenix provide a burst of Gallic flair in the King Tut’s tent. Were it not for the presence of four keyboard-wielding Germans the French group, led by Thomas Mars, would be a perfect headliner. Their set is wonderfully paced and is a peerless example of pristine electro rock. Mars is the consummate front man at the heart of proceedings prompting sing-a-longs aplenty to the likes of ’1901’ and ’Entertainment!’.

Before Friday’s King Tut’s headliners Kraftwerk take to the stage there’s a palpable sense of excitement and intrigue in the air. The crowd have all donned their 3D glasses in anticipation of an all round sensory experience from the legendary group and they certainly do not disappoint. The music on its own is awe inspiring enough, with a set drawing from across the breadth of their pioneering career, but the visuals make it truly special. Disorientating, mesmerising and wondrous, the set ends on the stunning trio of ‘Trans-Europe Express’, ‘Techno Pop’ and ‘Musique Non-Stop’.

Peace take to T on Saturday afternoon like seasoned veterans. The Birmingham group are incredibly assured as their set draws a strong crowd to the Transmissions Stage. There’s a ragged joi de vivre to their performance full of songs from debut ’In Love’. Ending on a rousing version of ’Lovesick’, they’ve suitably conquered T.Over at King Tut’s Palma Violets are even more wired and frenzied than usual. Their set is a thrilling ramshackle blast of punk rock aggression and pop nous. Bassist Chilli Jesson bounds across the stage like a man possessed giving a constant edge to the band’s performance. It’s a thrilling mid afternoon burst of energy. Later on in the Transmissions stage British Sea Power bring their idiosyncratic brilliance replete with dancing polar bears and a general sense of endearing oddness that is welcomed by the crowd. Saturday night, however, belongs to a band making their first appearance at T. My Bloody Valentine’s bone-crushing, retina-bulging sonic assault succeeds in shaking the festival to its very foundations. It’s a strange almost out of body experience in a way, you’re caught in an unforgiving maelstrom of noise; the swirling wall of sound completely takes you over. The closing impossibly loud ‘You Made Me Realise’ is a sublime moment.

Sunday at T is also Bastille Day. Fittingly then, today’s biggest sing-a-long is prompted by Bastille. Bandleader Dan Smith is also celebrating his birthday today and he and his band are in joyful spirits. There’s a purity and simplicity to the band’s songs that lend them perfectly to a festival environment and their performance is impressive, with the stirring closing rendition of ‘Pompeii’ a real moment. Mid-afternoon is given over to askewed R&B pop and contemporary house bangers as AlunaGeorge entertain the Transmissions Tent before Aluna hops over to join Disclosure at the rammed King Tut’s tent for a euphoric ‘White Noise.’ The sound of UK summer 2013 has triumphantly made it to T.

DIIV are a band not immediately at home in celebratory festival surroundings and their set is unfortunately hampered by some severe sound problems. They do, though, manage to run through two superb, aggressive new songs that suggest 2014’s second album should be very special indeed.

As the night draws in and anticipation for the headliners grows, home-grown stars CHVRCHES make their case for possible future headlining. The trio seem incredibly relaxed on stage as they charm the crowd with local knowledge creating a close-knit intimacy. Needless to say the songs sound amazing. Rich, throbbing and yearning, this is electro pop at its very finest. Elsewhere, Foals sound stronger and bigger than ever on the Radio 1 stage. The band have grown immensely in stature and their set expertly bridges intricate art rock with massive pop hooks. Finally, closing the festival in fine style in the King Tut’s tent are Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s a long overdue headlining spot for Karen O and co who don’t disappoint. The juxtaposition between the plaintive emotion of ‘Maps’ ‘Date With The Night’’s coruscating aggression is striking. They are a band who can do it all. The dance floor dynamics are represented by thrusting versions of ‘Zero’ and ‘Heads Will Roll’ while ‘Sacrilege’ still sounds impossibly huge even without the gospel choir.

You couldn’t get a starker contrast between last year’s gloomy trudge and this year’s joyous colour splashed celebration. T In The Park 2013 is the festival’s rebirth with new talent shining brightly in the summer sun.

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