And so the weekend crunched to a halt on Sunday night at Balado. All day in Glasgow tired people with back packs have been getting off trains and buses and going home to go to bed. Painted faces and hung-over smiles. I saw some of them as I wandered into town to pick up some prints. Those lucky, lucky bastar….. people.
You see, I didn’t get to T in the Park. I didn’t get a media/photo pass and even if I did I would probably not have made it due to personal issues. Much like the World Cup I had to watch it on the telly.
I was at the very first ever T in the Park though in 1994. I had a ticket for the Saturday and could hear the bands from my house on the Sunday too. It was at Strathclyde park so I could actually walk it home, drunk and happy, no back pack, with Rage Against The Machine still ringing in my head. Still not quite believing that I had seen the Manic Street Preachers and didn’t realise that Richey wasn’t there (A huge tent support blocked my view of where he would have been.) The Wikipedia page has the days mixed up by the way for 1994. I know because I listened to Teenage Fanclub and later on Primal Scream from my doorstep. They played the Sunday and my ticket was for the Saturday. I’m pretty sure Blur where on the Saturday too and I only caught some of their set before going to see another band on the main stage. But, I was rather drunk at the time.
I was there with my brother Mick, and also Steven and Haz from my band, and a few other people. All the people in bands or into music in Bellshill, Viewpark, Uddingston, Motherwell, Hamilton etc that I knew were there. It seemed to be somehow a validation of us as bands and musicians and fans of live music that T in the Park was happening right on our door step. Punks and alt rockers and indie kids merged with goths and some metal fans too. Even the local Police where quite nice that day.
Going to the ‘Port a loos’ was fraught with danger and excitement (and excrement too). I had resisted for a few hours until I had to go for a slash. Whilst waiting my turn I heard someone shout from outside the fence “Jimmy are you there?” I shouted back “Aye mate, right here!” Just as a wind up, and a carrier bag containing one half bottle of Buckfast, one half bottle of Vodka, 40 smokes and an oddly wrapped substance which was of an oily bluish black colour contained in small tight cellophane came flying over. Oh and a least 4 packets of Rizlas…
I hope “Jimmy” didn’t get into trouble from his mates. But I took this carrier bag of joy and shared it amongst my friends so it didn’t go to waste. And I’m sure I caught some it’s bounty as Rage Against The Machine played their set that night.
So now we have just had the last Balado T in the Park. And many of you will have been there, or watched it on the telly, but for those of us who couldn’t be there here is what we/you/I should have seen.
Okay I love The Pixies, love Biffy Clyro too. But for this article I’m talking about smaller bands or bands that are yet to become huge. We all know Paul Weller played and Jake Bugg and some band called Bastille. They all get heavy coverage and bloggage and so on. Heavy rotation on the radio is cool but sometimes it can mean you miss the hidden gems in a festival that is so varied. I watched the Manics on the telly, enjoyed it, but rather than going on about them, I’m going to go on about these next bands who played the last T in the Park at Balado.
Fatherson : I’ve seen Fatherson a couple of times, Ross their singer used to work in the same place as me but we didn’t know each other. A friend of mine JP suggested them, and later I got to see them at the Oran Mor and do some pictures, then I got to shoot at their QMU gig in Glasgow too. Ross also does open Mic nights at Box in Glasgow, and he and his band are what you commonly call “bloody nice blokes.” I would have been in the crowd singing along to their set, if I was there. Luckily they were on the telly, and of course on the BBC iPlayer thingy for people like me who didn’t get to the gig:
In the King Tuts Tent at T in the Park :
If that link goes down go to their Facebook, I’m sure it’s full of fan videos and links.
Next is a band called Slaves. Not seen them live even though they played up here not too long ago. I should have seen them at King Tuts but thought I was going to be covering Shellac the same night instead. The Shellac thing fell through so I missed my chance. Such is the way of the world. I won’t miss them next time though. Slaves are almost as if Ant and Dec suddenly got ready to rumble, but for real with a drum kit and a guitar, more talent and a good use of expletives. My mate Jimmy (not the Jimmy who supplied the booze in the bag) told me I should see them and I’m going to as soon as I can. Slaves are a wee bit mental, possibly not work safe too (why are you reading this at work?)
Slaves on facebook : https://www.facebook.com/slaves
The Twilight Sad were suggested to me by Richard, a man who forces me to drink Wild Turkey just about any time we end up in the pub together. When I say “forced” of course I mean “encouraged” and by “encouraged” I really mean “suggested” and by “suggested” I mean of course I wanted to anyway. A writer we both like would use that demon spirited drink as a tool or an enabler. Much the same as I use a certain tonic wine made by monks… Anyway The Twilight Sad are an immense band. They sell out shows when they play in Scotland and have played all over the world. I’ve only seen them doing stripped down sets twice and not as a full band. Another glaring omission in my gig history was The Twilight Sad playing with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Yes, The actual RSNO at Paisley Abbey.. google that!). Anyway here they are at T in The Park… well no actually. Their set is not up yet so you need to check Yertube for fan videos in the meantime.
So, it’s all over until next year. I hope if you were there you caught some new bands or at least bands you hadn’t seen before. All the headliners were great of course, but all of the bands make the weekend. Tastes vary too, no one can force anyone else to like a band or artist. If a band gets to play at T in The Park they tend to be of a certain calibre so we know they are at the very least decent. My point is sometimes seeing a band lower on the bill can be more rewarding that you would have thought.
Am I sad that T in the Park is moving from Balado? Not really, never went there. I watched it all on telly. I only went to the first one then had to grow up a bit and become a productive member of society (I say that with a heavy touch of irony.) I lost my Rock and my Roll when I was 30. However over the last few years I have got back into live music. I might be a bit creaky around the knees and back, but my ears still work and so do my eyes. For as long as I am able to, I will try to write about and take photographs of bands that are out there, doing gigs and releasing records and writing songs. So I missed a festival? Big deal. There will be more and I will cover them when I can. Meantime, watch bands on the telly, but also go out and see bands live. Buy T shirts and CDs from the bands at the gigs (it might just pay for their petrol and drinks). If you are in a band or wanting to start one up. Go out and do it. Now is your time to give it a go. Or write a blog or video/photograph bands. Book a live gig night. Make a scene, do it, and if it fails at least you tried.
Follow me on twitter @patmcguire1969 and also @PMGphotog if you want to read more of my stuff.