T In The Park 2006: Main Stage Saturday

T In The Park 2006: Main Stage Saturday

08 July 2006

The sharply-dressed Glasgow group have made the considerable jump from T-Break Stage to the festival’s biggest platform in just four years and are in no mood to let the early birds in the crowd down with an infectious set of modern indie hits. Frontman Dante Gizzi demands a party atmosphere as they open with 'Turn This Thing Around' ... and the tone is set for the weekend.

Political activist Manu Chao is perhaps a guy who could do with a little more partying himself. Singing in seven different languages - about various political misgivings, presumably - he looks like he’s preparing for an anti-nuclear weapons rally or peace march instead of gearing up for a post show rider binge with the rest of the day’s stars. However, once the Make Poverty History Campaign message has been drilled home his music does the talking and the mood lightens nicely for Maximo Park’s indie assault.

Singer Paul Smith, a double for Badly Drawn Boy on a successful diet plan, has an excellent stage presence, fronting the edgy guitar tunes with equally refreshing vocals. He also finds time to have a bit of banter with the crowd beyond the usual "you guys are so great, like totally" yawnfest. Wearing a Death Cult Armageddon t-shirt, because the band mistakenly showed up at a metal festival in Europe the week before and bought the attire to fit in, matched with the customary teacosy hat, he carries it all off in style and tracks like 'Signal And Sign' and closer 'Going Missing' are just as quirky.

When twisted rockers Placebo lay claim to the bill’s heaviest band tag it’s fair to say that the day sees more tea and scone activity at the back than mosh pit action at the front, but Brian Moloko and co. are a band that seamlessly slot into any festival from Donington to Glastonbury, and they go down a storm today. Lyrics of loathing, sex and depression are gently offered to the flag waving masses for entertainment without any hint of irony. 'Infra-Red' and 'Drag' are plucked from the trio’s latest album Meds and a stunning cover of Kate Bush’s 'Running Up That Hill' is thrown in as a special treat. 'Because I Want You' and chart hit 'Pure Morning' are both glaring omissions from the set-list but with such an impressive back catalogue allowing a final volley of 'Every Me, Every You' and 'Nancy Boy', all is forgiven. “You are one of God’s mistakes, a tragic waste of skin,” sings Moloko, during 'Song To Say Goodbye', deep, twisted and as relevant today as they were when they burst onto the scene a decade ago.

Lyrics of any depth really aren’t what Kaiser Chiefs are all about, but with the sun starting to shine and the beer killing off the gloomy sections of the brain, you just can’t beat a mass sing-a-long.
The Leeds letharios play three new songs - 'Heat Dies Down', 'Learnt My Lesson Well' and 'Everything Is Average Nowadays' - but it's the classics that get the goosepimples lifting the t-shirts of tens of thousands of fans, as hyper-active frontman Ricky Wilson conducts an awe-inspiring party on the fields of Balado. Even the most miserable sod can’t escape the uplifting melodies and down right catchiness of anthems like 'Every Day I Love You Less And Less' and 'I Predict A Riot' - perfect festival fodder.

To follow up such a rapturous set, you really need to be homecoming kings with a star studded line-up of guest drummers to give you that bit of extra spice. Just as well art-rockers Franz Ferdinand and backstage buddies from the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sigur Ross, Maximo Park and Sons & Daughters are around then to raise the bar a little on an already special day. Their T in the Park homecoming lives up to all the anticipation as the boys return to hallowed ground. This time they have double the hits, talent and fans, with songs from their latest masterpiece, like the spectacularly versatile 'Do You Want To', proving themselves up there on a par with 'Come On Home' and 'Take Me Out'. In true festival style, Alex Kapranos dedicates 'Walk Away' to "the girl in the bikini".

And to wrap things up in style, American rock royalty Red Hot Chili Peppers turn in a greatest hits set bursting with craft and guile. The genre bending funk rockers could have played until Sunday without running out of classics, many of which have been belting out of hi-fis since the days mix tape swapping was the craze. 'By The Way' and 'Californication' are welcomed like news of a lottery win and the tempo never dies down throughout the extensive set list. Anthony Kiedis bounds about the stage like a boxing instructor in his trademark black shirt and pink stripy tie, all of Flea's finest facial contortions are on show, and guitar solos the crowd could get lost in only add to the occasion. New tracks 'Snow (Hey Oh)', 'Dani California', and 'Charlie' prove there's still plenty of life in the revived rockers, but it's left to a couple of old gems, 'Under The Bridge' and 'Give It Away', to close a storming performance, which will still be talked about long after the hang-overs and bad beer breath is gone.

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