! = recommended
* = all-ages
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When April (our San Francisco Imaginary Girl correspondent) and I bought our T in the Park tickets back in February, we had no idea who was going to be on the bill. It was like crap shoot — except what did we really have to lose? Even if the line-up was full of crappy bands, we would at least be in Scotland listening to crappy bands — which is still 400 times better than any week on a beach in Hawaii.
As time passed, more and more bands were added to the bill and our excitement level steadily grew. By the time we left the states for the show (which is just about the time we got our butts in gear to organize the minor details like, um, lodging), the bill was full of 10-hour flight-worthy bands. Here is a wee recap of the bands we saw over the course of the two-day festival:
The Top 3 Overall Performances:
- Idlewild: Why will this Idlewild performance go down in my personal history book? Again, I will speak in triplicate: 1) They began their performance with the Scottish National Anthem. 2) The setlist (their new album rocks! their old stuff rocks! they rock!). 3) The crowd (its been a while since getting bruises all over my arms from complete strangers has been so fun).
- The Hives: Three Imaginary Girl fans might question my objectivity in placing The Hives on this list after reading my review of their Seattle performance. But April, who had yet to see them live or spend time with any of their albums, substantiated this accolade. Once again, they proved themselves to be the rock icons they bluntly state they are and whipped the crowd of slightly less than 50,000 into a frenzy, in 5 minutes time. Is it the ties, the on-stage banter, the magnetic lead singer, the sultry guitarist, the... well, you know what I am getting at...
- Green Day: Never would I have thought that April and I would have spent 5 minutes at the T in the Park Green Day performance, let alone add them to this list. Sure they played their perfect-pop-punk with proficiency and power (and other things alliterative). But, more notable was that they solidified our suspicions that they are actually nice guys in addition to being catchy-song-writing-masters. So get this: they picked three random superfans from the audience of thousands and taught them the guitar, bass and drum parts so that they played (very well might I add — someone find that drummer kid an agent!) while Billie Joe sang along. Then Billie Joe made everyone's heart leap with pure joy when he gave the ill-equipped nervous teen-age girl who played the guitar part that very guitar to keep, right then and there! Sure I've seen a couple other bands do this — the bring up an audience member to play along thing — but never the way the Green Day boys patiently and tenderly taught their pupils their part and never offering a guitar keepsake. For that they will forever remain in my good graces.
The 3 Performances that Inspired Me to Join The Fanclub:
- Mull Historical Society: This guy's (the songs and band are basically the vision and labor of one guy: Colin MacIntyre) energy, performance and comfortably-filling song repertoire made me get over the fact that I was shit on twice by the only bird in the sky (literally, there were no birds in the sky) during the show. April put it best: "This guy is like Justin Timberlake if Justin Timberlake was talented." He also earned big bonus points for wearing a Heavy Soul t-shirt.
- Kain: There we were, minding our own business, wandering through what most would consider "the tent least-likely to be rocked out in" — the T-Break Stage. Low and behold we find Kain, a Scottish band who played a solid 30 minutes of gut-bursting, retro-styled, ice-melting rock that married the Beach Boys and the Ramones with fluffy Strokes icing (boy do I feel self-conscious describing someone as being Stroke-influenced). One note to the band: Skip that song with the trumpet.
- Groove Armada: If it were not for April's urging, I would never have made my way over to the Slam Tent to catch Groove Armada. Thank goodness my instincts were wrong on this one. Our time in this tent gave us priceless moments of raver-girl glory. The pinnacle of the GA set came with their universal dance anthem, "Superstylin," when the tent just exploded in Scottish grooving rapture, exclaiming "IBEETHA!!! IBEETHA !!! (gaelic for "Ibiza," another story)...
The 3 No-Brainer Music Staples — I had to see them:
- Primal Scream: Bobby Gillespie. No way could I have missed a moment of this. Stellar as expected.
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: It was a bit odd to see them in the middle of the day with it being light out and all. I didn't get too freaked out because I wasn't able to get totally immersed in the show. It was hot in the tent; there were so many people there that we were miles away from their dry-ice and minimally lit stage and the sound sucked. But I was glad we stopped by.
- Badly Drawn Boy: It was great to see him in all his glory without the "I am an extremely British guy playing in America" thing looming overhead. The About A Boy tracks sounded great live.
The 3 Bands I Wish I Saw More Of:
- Ian Brown: This was on the must-see list as rumor had it that he would play one of my Stone Roses favorites (aren't they all?): "Fool's Gold." April and I made it to the door and were able to stand in the jam packed tent for approximately 5 minutes before our self-preservation instinct kicked in and we had to evacuate. I still don't know if he played "Fool's Gold."
- Soundtrack Of Our Lives: We saw the last three or four songs of the set — and by the end were able to finally latch on to the grandiose hippy feel to it.
- Dandy Warhols: Seeing the "best Britpop band from Portland" perform never disappoints. Good thing we are able to comfort ourselves with the realistic hope of seeing them the next time they play in the hood. Thank goodness at least we caught "Minnesoter."
The 3 Bands I Am Thankful that I Didn't See More Of:
- Oasis: Even though they are probably the world's best Beatles cover band, the fact remains that they are annoyingly arrogant, unimaginative and obnoxious. I challenged myself to sit through three songs and made it through one and a half. It was that darned self-preservation instinct again.
- Biffy Clyro: Thank goodness someone finally made a mix tape comprised only of Bush and Tool songs. Oh wait, that's Biffy Clyro.
- The Music: I bought one of their EPs on a whim after reading a kind review on some "e-tail" website. After 7 listens it still wasn't worth 3 minutes of my time. I really hoped that seeing them live would spark some level of enjoyment in their music. Alas, none. Just goes to show that you just can't trust music reviews you read on the web.