15 July 2014

T in the Park 2014 - Saturday Review

T in the Park 2014 festival Saturday Review

T in the Park 2014 festival Saturday Review

We arrived at Balado (for the very last time due to it moving site) to grey clouds and the imminent arrival of rain but that wasn't letting anyone's spirits become dampened, no matter how soggy they may be about to get. As usual, the atmosphere was a buzz with anticipation of the fantastic Saturday line up. With so many talented artists participating this year, Music Mafia are bringing you what we considered the best of the best. 

Starting off we were heading over to the main stage when I was distracted by the music coming out of the BBC Introducing Stage where Brown Bear were the first act up and what a way to start. This Scottish based band were a brilliant choice to kick things off. Exuding energy, Brown Bear had the crowd bouncing along with their fresh indie rock songs and lead singer, Matt Hickman's distinctive vocals leaves you wanting more. You can understand why they were chosen to support The Libertines recent gig at Hyde Park. Check out their latest single Dead or Alive or the hauntingly melodic Olive Grove single to see why you should be keeping an ear out for these guys. You won't be disappointed.

Next up for us was a Liverpool favourite, Circa Waves in King Tuts Wah Wah Tent. Lead singer, Keiran Shudall has definitely matured in both music style and song writing over the last few years and although I absolutely loved the Fly With Vampire days, I am totally impressed with Circa Waves. New single Young Chasers and Stuck in my Teeth are an indication of why these guys are being heralded as the next big thing and are in such demand and its safe to say a true indie pop band has been born because of Keiran not willing to give up on his dream. With comparisons to The Libertines and The Strokes, they certainly have all the stage presence of a band that has been been around for a lot longer than 16 months. With an extremely busy schedule during festival time, supporting The Libertines and going on tour in November, there's no excuse to not catch them somewhere in the UK over the next few months.

Another young up and coming artist who we previously reviewed at this years Soundcity Liverpool, Chlöe Howl. A talented young singer songwriter whose vocals and lyrics surpass her 19 years of age. With a confident stage presence from the outset this young singer showcased powerful vocals with a touch of heartfelt mellowness when needed all wrapped up  with her 80's syntho pop style with a modern contemporary twist.

Next up was come back disco queen, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who last appeared at T in the Park 18 years ago. With a new album out, Wanderlust, Sophie showcased her new album which has a slightly darker, more grown up sound and I have to admit, I preferred. Many of the tracks still have the upbeat pop style that has become synonymous with her music but with a rockier edge to them. I loved Love is a Camera,  fairytale about a witch who steals souls using a camera and 13 Little Dolls, a doozy of a song with a fast tempo and catchy lyrics that you find yourself singing later on that day.  With a quick on stage change of outfit and a few wolf whistles from the crowd, the disco queen emerged to wow the crowd with her extensive back catalogue, including Take Me Home and the huge hit Murder on the Dance Floor to name but a few. I think its safe to say that Sophie Ellis Better enjoyed her return to T in the Park just as much as her fans did. 

Carrying on with the dancier theme, we found Clean Bandit at the Radio 1 stage later that day with their fusion of funky dance, syntho pop and classical music. With one track blending flawlessly into the next they provided a good hour of fun and upbeat music including AandE, the infectious Running Around and of course show closer, their number one hit Rather Be. Even with the grey skies, they managed to lighten up the day with their unique style. 

Festival veterans and one of the original Indie legends James took to the main stage for a hour of crowd surfing, manic dancing, old favourites and brand new tracks from their new album La Petite Mort. There's not much you can say about James that hasn't been said already so how about they were absolutely amazing. After 20 odd years in the business, they still clearly love doing what they do and it shines out across the main stage area. Front man Tim Booths interaction with the crowd, zealous dancing and general fabulousness makes these a must to see at any chance you can get. Even suffering from "man flu" doesn't stop him. Ok his voice wasn't at full par because of it, but he refuses auto tuning so kudos to him for being real and still managing to be the bundle of energy we have all come to love. Playing new single Curse Curse along with Moving On and Frozen Britain from their new album, some might say that concentrating on new material may be a bit risque for an hour set, but they totally pulled it off. Mixing in Come Home, Laid and after a democratic vote by the crowd, Sit Down. Only quibble is the predictability of the crowd themselves. James have a vast back catalogue so give them a break and if you get to vote again.....choose the alternative. Thankfully no one sat down this time!!

Pharrell Williams arrived on stage to huge cheers and instantly started a high energy set with an array of hits including NERD classics, Daft Punk collaboration Get Lucky and of course his massive single Happy. No one was still during his set including Pharrell himself who wasn't going to let a "bit" of rain stop him entertaining the crowd. 

Between the two Saturday closers it was hard to choose who to see, so we had to split them up. Calvin Harris was on our first leg and boy are we glad we did it that way round. Who would have ever guessed that he would have Will Smith, yep that's right The Fresh Prince of Bell Air, to introduce him. Would have been nice for someone to tell him he was in Kinross, not Glasgow, but seeing as he travelled a whole lot of miles to get here , we'll forgive him for being about 30 miles out. Calvin Harris performed a fantastic set with the Fresh Prince by his side partying away to his greatest hits and so so many fireworks it was hard to tear ourselves away to from the party atmosphere to go and see one of our favourites a Elbow over at the Radio 1 stage.

Elbow performed a wonderfully chilled out set with all the classics we know and love including Bones of You and One Day Like This as well as some new material released this year. New York Morning being a particular favourite of mine. Front man Guy Garvey is an amazing performer and holds the crowd in the palm of his hand during each song and always makes you feel like he's talking to old friends when he interacts with the crowd and I'm glad we managed to wind down our Saturday in his company....the perfect ending to a perfect festival day.

Review by Alison GogginFor more photos of Saturday click HERE

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