A sodden outfield greeted T’s second day customers, unplayable conditions for Sunday league cricket. As the day wore on however the unexpectedly warm sunshine took hold. Damp weather has never washed away a Scotsman’s spirits though, and several Glaswegian accents could be heard uniting in song to the The Automatic‘s Monster.
White vans were full of revellers blasting out hard house as a prelude to the action, and people dressed as superheroes, camels, even biochemists. Best of all was the early evening sight of a man losing his dignity with impressive confidence, clad only in Superman Y-fronts. It all added to what was once again a wonderful atmosphere.
Over in the Slam tent the vibe was also nothing less than positive, as Coldcut overcame a few problems with the help of Juice Aleem‘s improvised ‘technical difficulties’ rap. When the sound returned we were rewarded with True Skool and a scorching Paid In Full, the duo’s visuals as ever a high point.
Label mate Mr Scruff was up next, his set billed as a ‘cup of tea in the park’, and as he bobbed and weaved through his vast record collection his array of quirky line drawings took centre stage, and we were invited to ‘wobble those knees’ to Roots Manuva, or ‘hang on to your trousers’ during some particularly raucous funk. No invitation needed!
Outside the sun burned, and the Arctic Monkeys drew the second biggest crowd of the day. They carried it off easily, with the opening of When The Sun Goes Down greeted with a roar, the arrival of the drums with frenzied dancing. The boys were on cocky form and took their chance to excel, as did their childhood mates Milburn, blowing the socks off the Futures stage with the power ska and hard punching pop of What You Could’ve Won. Ones to keep an eye on.
Editors grabbed their sunset slot on the NME stage with both hands, a little nervous in the onstage patter but delivering Bullets and Munich with intensity and guile. Showing them all how it was done however were the festival’s big draws, The Who.
Having virtually invited themselves to headline from the previous year, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey put everything into their performance, the guitarist’s famous windmill fully operational as the band opened with I Can’t Explain, the pace and intensity never letting up in a formidable show. Their first single for twenty five years, Wire & Glass, was a taut piece of rock very much in their vein, and found good company with excerpts from Tommy and Quadrophenia. As the hypnotic opening keyboards of Won’t Get Fooled Again drifted across the field the full moon began to peer over the back of the stage, a wonderful moment.
With the close of their terrific set closed there was a substantial encore in Primal Scream‘s last ten minutes in King Tut’s tent. The dance-rock blunder of Swastika Eyes caused many a foot injury, while a rabble rousing Country Girl was bellowed back by the audience, an up-for-it Rocks keeping them high.
To cap it all, fireworks accompanied the close – icing on the cake for the assembled Balado throng who could still stand.