Live Music + Gig Reviews

T In The Park 2004, Day 2 @ Balado, Scotland

11 July 2004

Day two at Balado, and an enticing bill on the mainstage takes shape with the Scissor Sisters,here to wow the field with their disco punk. Andfrontman Jake Shears is already into the spirit,donning a tartan toga.

“Today we are citizens of theplanet disco!” they exhort, and launch into energeticand characterful renditions of Comfortably Numb, Lauraand the fantastic Filthy/Gorgeous. Although it’s a bitearly in the afternoon for them, it doesn’t worrythe audience, who dance their socks off.

And speakingof undergarments, Jake removes his pants to do thelast number in truly Scottish style, going a bridgetoo far at the end when his toga falls off, leavinghim totally naked! A fitting way to end one of theweekend’s highlights.

And what better way to followthan a glorious homecoming slot for Franz Ferdinand, a rapturous Take Me Out and Matineelapped up by the crowd. The band is in exuberant form,Alex Kapranos dapper in orange tie and extolling thevirtues of his homeland to great acclaim. Theirovation is the biggest yet, topping anything onSaturday.

On to the dance tent then, where AdamFreeland is pumping out a fiercesome set ofbreaks, containing the Beastie Boys, RageAgainst The Machine and an up for it version ofSmells Like Teen Spirit. This leads into GrooveArmada‘s set, a dreamy At The River bringinghordes flocking to the tent, and an impeccably doneEasy reminding us of their more house basedcredentials.

Back to the main stage, passing what sounds like anincandescent Goldfrapp in the NME arena. PJ Harvey is on, shyly milking the applause beforelaunching into a taut performance of Good Fortune. Oneof the main stage’s smaller crowds laps it up, whichis a shame given the intensity of her work.

So we decide to head for the dance tent once more,the mind flagging at this point but the ground movingtechno beats of Josh Wink beckoning us hither.A pounding set culminates in the timeless Higher StateOf Consciousness, paving the way for Glasgow’sfavourite DJs, Slam. With a new album Year Zerodropping in August, the pair have an impressive showof lighting and graphics, beginning with a couple ofsinister images of George Bush and the legend “Lie ToMe”. The tent rocks to hits like Positive Educationand the soaring vocal of Tyrone in Lifetimes. Thecrowd is most impressive given the imminent arrival ofOrbital and the Pixies elsewhere.

Now we’re really struggling, and an enforced timeout for food prepares us for the blissed out vibes ofMassive Attack. The last beer coupon spent, andthe legs just about upright, we head for the NMEstage. The mood is set, a few distant flickers ofsunlight providing the perfect backdrop for 3D’s moodyrapping, just about audible. Starting down in thedepths with Angel and Risingson, the recently returnedDaddy G then adds the lyrical colour to Karmacoma.

Thesinister bass of Inertia Creeps packs a considerableimpact, as behind the band a skilfully used lightboard displays random newspaper headlines. “BowieHeart Op Shock” is a strangely affecting moment, butthe board comes into its own in Safe From Harm,showing the names of Iraqi children killed in thecurrent war. The highlight of Massive Attack’s set isa masterful trio from Blue Lines, an exultant BigWheel followed by a pumped up Safe From Harm and theever present, timeless Unfinished Sympathy.

Thoroughly satisfied now, the crowd enjoy anotherspectacular fireworks display in the almostdisbelieving knowledge that it didn’t rain! And sogood was this festival experience that some ticketsfor 2005 have already gone on sale. I for one will notwant to miss the experience!

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