With past performances from artists as diverse as Rage Against the Machine, Blur, The Prodigy, Daft Punk, Placebo, James Brown, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Eminem and New Order, T in the Park 2011 was bound to be one of the best festivals in the UK this year, taking place in beautiful Kinross-shire, Scotland, with a capacity of 85,000 per day including 70,000 happy campers. As I arrive on Friday morning with a sea of euphoric festival goers of all ages and styles, the atmosphere is brilliant, the sun is shining, we’re all showered and clean and most importantly we have an amazing line up to look forward to. I say all ages because I managed to hitch a lift up to Scotland with my lovely mum and her friends.
It’s early in the evening and I head over to the main stage to watch Tom Jones. He tells the crowd about when he used to sing gospel songs with Elvis in Las Vegas. Tom comes on and belts out a gospel inspired repertoire of his greatest hits, no one can quite believe he can still sing like that. Then I head over to the Radio 1/NME stage to get a good spot for White Lies and Pendulum, where to my delight I discover Twin Atlantic, a Glaswegian alt rock band that I’m sure will be headlining T in the Park in the near future, ‘Crash Land’ –an absolutely brilliant song. Now time for White Lies and I’ve secured a comfortable place near the stage, the London three-piece play with precision and force, influenced by the likes of Talking Heads and Joy Division their music has a melancholic feel and dark undertone but is nevertheless very danceable, putting synthesizers to good use. They even get a bit of a mosh pit going from the third song ‘To Lose My Life’ whose lyrics: ‘that our dead love is buried beneath the mud’ are quite fitting for the occasion. Now its time for tonight’s Radio 1/NME stage headliners: Pendulum. I get as up front as possible, the mighty Aussies start off with ‘Salt In Wounds’ making the crowd go into a dancing frenzy but I end up paying the price for being in the front row when half an hour into Pendulum I feel a warm trickle down my leg, I turn around and see a lovely young man whose aim was terrible, peeing right behind me. Oh well, that wasn’t going to dampen my spirits or make me stop dancing. Pendulum kept the crowd dancing and moshing through the whole set. They were unquestionably one of the highlights at T in the Park, well-known for their electric live performances. The crowd was blown away with the sheer power of their flavourful fusion of heavy rock, drum and bass and electronica. One on the most unique, inventive and interesting bands to surface in recent years. If you were there and didn’t see them, you missed out big time.
The Scottish weather is holding up and people are beginning to swap their wellies for sunglasses. The first bands are just coming on around 12 and I wonder around the festival grounds to see what I find, surprisingly I come across fish pedicures and the Road Ink bus. A mobile top class tattoo studio. I had a chat with owner and tattoo artist Gary, who gives me the low-down on tattooing at festivals. The Road Ink bus was spotless and jam-packed with festival goers wanting to get something to remember this special occasion. Soon it was time to go over to the main stage to catch guitar-god Slash at work. He plays a few Guns n Roses classics with some Velvet Revolver songs thrown in but only the die-hard fans know the guy that’s singing, all in all not exactly what the festival goers were expecting from such a rock n roll legend. With the sun still shining I head to go and see The Strokes, one of the most influential indie-rock bands of the decade, the New Yorkers effortlessly play to musical perfection, the crowd is full of energy, mosh pits are going strong and we all thoroughly enjoy every single song they play. Over to the Slam tent for some good old electronica, two of my favourite DJs/producers the Parisian Vitalic and Canadian Tiga keep the people sweaty and dancing. Afterwards I manage to catch a bit of Primal Scream, who had some awesome visuals with ‘Screamadelica’ and manage to completely pack the King Tut tent, they even had my mum dancing. Coldplay bring Saturday night to an epic close, making even those that weren’t fans sing along to their catalogue of hits.
Mud bath Sunday started with a pretty special performance from legendary Blondie at the main stage, festival goers were well and truly preparing themselves for the last night, smiles and cider all around. Another one of the highlights at this year’s T in the Park were Weezer, who completely rocked the main stage right after Blondie, despite the rain. Their happy alt rock tunes got everyone singing and swaying, there was definitely an agreement between the festival goers that their performance was one of the best at this year’s T. Pure class. I had my doubts about the next band, the infamous My Chemical Romance, but they proved all the critics wrong and were completely awesome, frontman Gerard Way sung like there was no tomorrow, I can now say I’m a fan. Sunday made our lives quite complicated, it was too muddy and the line-up was just too good. I headed to the Slam tent for a bit of dancing, where American DJ and producer, Diplo had everyone partying hard. Then suddenly it was time for the Foo Fighters, fronted by the notoriously talented multi-instrumentalist musician Dave Grohl, former drummer of Nirvana. This was a performance that none of us will forget. ‘We’ve got a lot of fucking songs, we’re going to play as many as we can until they make us stop!’ exclaimed Grohl early on, and they did exactly that, ploughing through a total of twenty-three songs, including some new instant crowd pleasers from their brand new album, ‘Wasting Light’. Known for being one of the best live bands around, the Foo Fighters sure as hell lived up to their reputation as alt rock royalty. For the last part of the show, bassist Nate Mendel wore a kilt to the crowd’s delight and they brought the festival to an explosive end, covering the skies with fireworks and an epic performance of ‘Everlong’. No other band could have closed T in the Park 2011 better.