Late but phenomenal Blur wow T In The Park

Graham Coxon leaves hospital to impress Scottish crowds

Late but phenomenal Blur wow T In The Park

Photographer: Sara BowreyJoe O'Brien, Daniel Fahey on 12 July 2009

“We really really nearly didn’t make it,” explains Albarn sporting the black and yellow Fred Perry tee he wore at Glastonbury, “Graham literally walked out of a hospital to be here.”

Ill or not the tunes carry the band through as their waste no time ploughing into ‘Girls And Boys’ before a stuttering ‘Tracey Jacks’ comes out on top.

Coxon, who spends the majority of the time simply plonked behind his mic, rolls around for ‘Advert’ as flares glare up over the crowd. ‘Song 2’ which builds up to shouts of “here we, here we, here we fucking go,” from the crowd is heralded as “the best ever,” by Albarn, clearing delighted in simply being here.

‘Tender’ is the festival classic with the endless crowd sounding as vocal as Damon, while ‘Beetlebum’ is much more than Albarn underselling it as a “good Sunday night track.”

‘This Is A Low’ lives up to its name, but the remainder of the performance – ‘There’s No Other Way’ and an epic version of ‘The Universal’ mark the set as one of the more memorable in recent history and its up to a lone piper bagging ‘Flower Of Scotland’ to mark the end of an incredible festival.

Without so much as a “sorry we’re late…” Snow Patrol hit the main stage after an hour delay to what many fans fear will be tonight’s headline set following the shock announcement that Blur guitarist Graham Coxon is in hospital.

The uncertainty over what the hell’s going on creates an awkward atmosphere despite Gary Lightbody’s best attempts to keep the focus on his band with sexual innuendo towards “the UK’s best band right now, Elbow” and tales of their previous five encounters with T. ‘Run’ and ‘Chasing Cars’ are obvious crowd pleasers if not the festival anthems they once felt like.

Embarrassingly, the mighty Mogwai come out to what can barely be described as a crowd. It’s a sad day for T In The Park when Daniel Merriweather and some pop band who showed up two weeks ago can attract ten times the audience of one of the most innovative bands Scotland has ever spawned.

Unperturbed, the quintet put the expensive PA to the test with post-rock gem ‘Glasgow Mega-Snake’. Never a band to pander to trends, expectations or traditions, Mogwai test the patience of some fans with a slow, complex instrumental offerings when chants of ‘Blur are shite’ ruin the subtlety of the performance’s quieter moments.

Thankfully the crowd doubles to a handful of folk by the time the majestic ‘I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead’ piano loop can be heard. Stunning.

Pendulum
give a relentless set from start to finish with glow sticks and riffs galore as th boys deliver a banging set filled with anthem after anthem. ‘Slam’ is amazingly well received from the large crowd, but the ultimate favourite is a cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Voodoo People’ which leaves fans in a sweat-filled mess.

A pick-and-mix of Pendulum goodies spiced up with a selection of dance floor classics makes for a terrific set. One to watch in twelve months time.

It’s not often Bloc Party find themselves on a UK stage with several bands above them but you get the impression from the cheeky indie rock scamps that they’d enjoy playing in a pub if they got a free pint.

Unfortunately, a loveable smile and friendly banter isn’t enough and today’s set is hampered by a slightly muddy sound and a strangely apathetic crowd out with the D barrier that’s forgotten about by the time the drum kit is being rolled off stage.

The crowd thins somewhat by the time Elbow appear with a mini orchestra in tow which could raise a few questions about their unexpectedly high billing.

But what they lack in devotees they make up for in sublime class and a great stage presence. “We’re going to play Michael Jackson covers for the rest of the set,” jokes Guy Garvey before gliding into the gentle ‘Mirrorball’. A unique and surprisingly well co-ordinated Mexican Wave, confetti cannons and a stunning rendition of ‘One Day Like This’ later and the results are in: Elbow; the perfect soundtrack to a lazy Sunday evening.

TV On The Radio are another of the bands that struggle for a crowd. ‘Golden Age’ is the earliest chance for a boogie, while ‘Wolf Like Me’ allows the band to move on their own. ‘DLZ’, which wouldn’t stand out on the Lion King soundtrack is superb, but, again, they lack the crowd they deserve.

Decked out in a see-through purple dress the bold and often controversial Lily Allen taunts her crowd with, “are we having it or what? Or are you too tired?” Clearly not is the answer as the sunburnt and cooking crowd repeat her every word on new single ‘22’.

Admitting she likes the banner that likens her to Scottish reality star Susan Boyle, the sultry temptress slips into something more comfortable with a cover of the Kasier Chiefs’ ‘Oh My God’.

Some of her set is hit with sound problems with many of her vocals dulled out by the band, but after sparking up a fag – which Lily claims usually attracts a chorus of boos – Allen shows her contempt for the onstage smoking ban by barking: “Fuck them”.

‘Littlest Things’ brings us into the latter end of Lily’s show and ‘Smile’ finishes us off – exactly four years to the day her debut single reached number one.

T In The Park’s Marmite member Peter Doherty shows nae-sayers that perhaps he’s worth his pound in the King Tuts Tent. It’s ‘Albion’ that was written for day-job band Babyshambles that kick starts the crowd as two onstage ballerinas provide nothing but distraction for the crowd. ‘Palace Of Bone’ is segued lyrically into Oasis’ Hello’ with a clean solo version of ‘Ballard Of Grimaldi’ giving die-hards a special treat. It’s The Libertines’ classic ‘Time For Heroes’ that sends fans on their way happy though – Doherty good, Libertines better.

Opening with ‘Jetstream’ from new album ‘Kingdom of Rust’ Doves seem be in the mood for a Sunday midday rock fest. Frontman Jimi Goodwin eases into ‘Winter Hill’ before letting rip with the now anthemic ‘Pounding’.

“Let’s Pound It Up” shouts Jimi but ‘The Last Broadcast’s’ tingly-tangly ‘Words’ sounds a little off key. However ‘Black and White’ town from the self-titled album and ‘There Goes The Fear’ bring the crowd back up to speed. “Thanks for spending the last hour with us,” says Jimi before ending their well received set with a go on the drums.

Check back for our full review of T In The Park 2009.

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