We bring you the round up from our next stop in an 11-festival calendar with Vodafone VIP – Scotland’s pride, T in the Park festival.
For those who presume that a festival containing 70,000 ‘revellers’ (as the local papers will have you picture it) in a giant muddy field can’t possibly have the excitement of their favourite band headlining a venue in their town, T in the Park is a strong challenger.
Many of the same acts are filling the upper echelons of 2011’s big-draw festivals, it must be said, but there’s something different in the air around Glenrothes [Ed: or Kinross - as pointed out by the commenters below (sorry!)] - it’s a sense of hysteria, theatricality and excitement that spreads farther out than just the rows in front of the barriers.
It’s not just in the crowd that the performance button’s been switched up to maximum, but the stages too. Metronomy are in their perfect setting: a dark tent with crowds thronging towards the front. They’re a smoother machine than ever on this showing, and uncompromising with each note – there’s nothing missed, but with The English Riviera’s warmer tunes not one bit as clinical as non-fans may have had it down for around the release of Nights Out. This sounds overly defensive: the point I’m trying to make is that if there are a more startling incredible live band out there than Metronomy, then we’re yet to find them.
Diplo’s set is another of Sunday’s highlights, with snippets of the producer’s work with Beyonce and M.I.A. turned up to full blast alongside crunching, lurching cuts from Major Lazer and Hudson Mohawke – the womp and wobble of ‘Pon De Floor’ shakes up T’s raviest tent into a far later setting than its 6pm ought to feel. The set’s attention-deficit makes it seep into at such an early time, but it’s a stormer nonetheless
Arctic Monkeys’ Friday headline sits sour-faced at the opposite end of the scale, for lack of show – the sound in most of the area around the main stage is muddied and distorted, disguising the variation between their most raucous material from the debut and their most contemplative – as the music’s spun out ever since. 2manydjs whip proceedings up into a frenzy earlier, but it’s Saturday and Sunday where T in the Park comes alive.
Beyonce has members of the audience in tears as she turns on the style and flicks the switch on that incredible, effortless voice and stage-show – all without even breaking into a sweat. It’s difficult for non-showmen Coldplay to follow that, but a firework display and a rousing ‘Fix You’ keeps the crowd’s spirits raised.
Gerard Way’s My Chemical Romance blast out ‘It’s Not Okay (I Promise)’ early on Sunday, recreating teenage rebellion in the desperately longing way that only they can – it’s not a nostalgia that brings back anything as necessary as Pulp’s, as Jarvis Cocker reminds us just why music needs characters to get fans pro-active.
In spite of Pulp’s mere hour on-stage, Cocker emerges out of the shadows wide-eyed, toying playfully with the crowd by throwing Twixes into the front row, but more than that – praising the SNP victory and rousing the huge crowd into one collective, together. If you put N-Dubz’s instructive “put your hands in the air” together with Ke$ha’s filthy-girl cynical tunes and time-intensified fame, they don’t come close to the level of popstar that Cocker performing ‘Babies’, ‘This Is Hardcore’, ‘Disco 2000’ and ‘Common People’ have him achieve. It’s easy for time to erase just how consummate a frontman Cocker is until he’s on-stage in your horizon, when it all becomes apparent. Pulp’s reunion is essential, not only as an exercise in nostalgia but an exercise to many of today’s top-drawer acts – acts who are shy of conflict, or opinion and of spontaneity.
Vodafone VIP is part of the VIP programme for customers, and Muso’s Guide is taking on official music blogger status at some of the summer’s hottest festivals. There are currently competitions running to win tickets to Latitude, T in the Park and Wireless, with more to come over the summer.
The Vodafone VIP experience extends further too – there’s a Vodafone VIP area across fashion, festivals and Formula 1 over the summer, a viewing platform giving customers shelter and brilliant views, a recharging truck capable of charging 2,000 phones at once and selected apps allowing festival-goers to see what’s on and where, locate their tent via GPS and plan schedules for their weekends.
Visit http://www.vodafone.co.uk/vip to find out more.