T In The Park; Cowpunk Alumni
T In The Park 20 happens this weekend just down the road from me in Balado, near Kinross. TITP has always been a weird one to me; it was the first major festival that I ever went to way back in 1997 and I went a few more times whilst still in high school. However, as my musical taste developed and I became more deeply involved in punk rock and DIY, I wasn’t really drawn to the line-ups. Consequently, I didn’t go for around 10 years until 2010 when I went with Abbie. The festival had changed so much, the clientèle as well as the size/focus of the festival itself, that it felt quite alien to me. Big arena shows really aren’t my thing these days. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some quality acts on the bill though, but the majority of it just isn’t my bag.
The purpose of this post, however, is to focus on the Make-That-A-Take alumni who shall be taking to the various stages over the weekend. One of the great things about T is that there is a strong focus on home-grown bands, with both the BBC Introducing Stage and the T-Break Stage. Now, music should never be a competition to my mind and the whole “battle of the bands” kind of process when it comes to T-Break isn’t something that I’m interested in, but to be fair to them, T Break this year was judged on demos as opposed to live shows, so that eliminates any “popularity contest” accusations that can be so often levied at these things. The BBC has their detractors and they’re be no means flawless, but I do applaud their dedication to new and emerging music, regardless of whether it is to my taste or not. Hell, Mike Davies played The Murderburgers, Acid Drop and Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man of the BBC Radio 1 Punk Show last night. That’s good shit right there.
Departures are without doubt one of the bands I’d be most excited to see playing at T and they’ll be on the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday morning. One thing for sure is that they’ll definitely blow your hangover away, especially if you’ve been kept up all night by some roasters. Departures play intense, impassioned screamo/hxc and have just signed to No Sleep Records in the USA. They are home-grown DIY hardcore to the bone and are streets ahead of many contemporaries. They’ve recently been on tour with Funeral For A Friend in the UK and with Shai Hulud around Europe, so are no strangers to a big stage. It’ll be interesting to see how their intricacies translate to a non-hardcore festival crowd I’m sure they’ll destroy. There will be very few vocalists over the course of the weekend how will match Keano’s intensity for sure. If you don’t know this band, invest in their records now.
Fat Goth are an absolute must-see. They’ve released a strong Album Of The Year contender in the form of “Stud” with it’s unique twisted mash-up of Melvins heaviness, Jesus Lizard madness, QOTSA quirkiness and Mike Patton-esque insanity, have undertaken their first UK tour, supported the likes of NoMeansNo and garnered almost universal critical acclaim. All of these plaudits are richly deserved; not only are Fat Goth one of the finest bands to emerge from Dundee in many years, they are also some of the nicest chaps you’ll meet who are deeply involved in their home town DIY/arts scenes, without a sniff of ego or entitlement. They will also rock your balls clean off of your body. I expect that there will be a healthy crowd present when these dudes take to the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday afternoon. Be sure to catch them as they won’t play a stage this size next year.
Vasa are the final MTAT alumnus to play T this year. The newest of the three bands, Vasa play stratospheric melodic post-rock that can be equal parts mesmeric and dumb-founded. With more pedals than the Tour De France, Vasa don’t so much play songs as create soundscapes, yet amongst all the guitar wizardry and technical arrangements, melody and a sense of structure is never lost. The obvious comparisons would be Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai, and as lofty as these comparisons may be, they’re certainly not far off the mark. The Glasgow band have just wrapped up their first UK tour and their “Never Have Dreams” EP on Overlook Records is a cracker. They’ll be on the T Break Stage and I’d definitely recommend to taking half an hour out of your day to check them out.
There are a few other bands I’d also recommend checking out if you have the chance. PAWS are a high-energy Highland punk rock juggernaut who have recently toured the USA and played with the likes of Dinosaur Jr and Fucked Up. They also played Shetfest earlier this summer and were reportedly one of the highlights of the day. They’ll also be on the BBC Introducing Stage, as will Jim Lockely and The Solemn Sun who have toured with Frank Turner and released the “Death” LP on Xtra Mile Recordings. Finally, The Recovery on Cold War Legacy Records will also be playing the BBC Introducing Stage. They play balls-out moshtastic melodic hardcore along the lines of Cancer Bats and The Bronx.
I hope that everyone has a blast this weekend and takes the time to check out some new and emerging artists. For the record, my favourite sets I’ve ever seen at T In The Park would probably have to be Mogwai in the King Tuts tent sometime in the late 90s and The Beastie Boys on the main stage when they had a big birthday cake fight and it was pissing down. I saw some dude next to me spew on his mate’s shoes at the some time. Happy memories indeed.