Its been a good five years or so since Ive graced T in the Park with my presence. My last visit was a memorable one, tackling the entire weekend in crutches having injured my knee on a school water sports trip a week earlier.
A few things have changed since 2005. The festival has grown to three days, taking in seven stages and for 2013, festival organisers have appeared to have struck a deal with the weather man as the sun is shining and it isnt due to stop. As I type this backstage in the media village, all I can see are sweaty faces and farmer tans it is Scotland after all.
First up and opening up the festival in the historic King Tuts Wah Wah Tent, are American rockers Imagine Dragons. Playing to a packed out tent, the band get #T20 off to a rapturous start, racing through a hoard of songs from debut album, Night Visions. Theyre uplifting and anthemic with hit single Radioactive providing the first real big sing-along of the day. Think a bit of the Killers mixed with some Interpol, if Interpol were happy mind you.
Verdict a fire breathing 7 out of 10.
Next up for me, were Haim on the Radio One stage. Haim are riding the crest of a mainstream wave at the moment, having featured on BBCs Sound for 2013 shortlist and seemingly playing every stage under the sun at last months Glastonbury festival. And as soon as the band begins, you can see why.
Rip roaring through a set list that contains singles Falling and Forever, the band even include a brilliant cover of Fleetwood Macs Oh Well. Theyre lo-fi, good fun and something completely different to the main stream pop nonsense that is currently taking over todays charts and airwaves. The only drawback is the crowd with a number of golden oldies getting into position for Texas later on in the day. If you havent heard of Haim or listened to their album, then I urge you to. It could well be the soundtrack to your summer.
Verdict a taps aff 8 out of 10.
Following Haim was my first venture into the T-break Stage to see two piece, girl garage rock band, Honey Blood. The drums and guitar/vocal combo shredded their way through a half hour set with tracks Bud and Super Rat, a stand out. Think grungy, crunchy, early Teenage Fanclub if they were a two piece with tits.
Verdict Rock and Roll personified, 7.5 out of 10.
I quickly hot footed it over to the Radio One stage to see indie man of the moment Jake Bugg play to an enormous crowd. Bounding onto the stage to a tongue in cheek, good evening Glasgow, he instantly got the whole T audience dancing with his brand of 70s inspired indie rock and roll. Hit singles such as Lightning Bolt and Two Fingers were firm fan favourites. He even had time to debut a couple of new songs which show a new, darker side to his repertoire. Love him or loathe him, you have to admire his song writing ability. Let the comparisons with a young Noel Gallagher commence.
Verdict An overpriced burger but it tasted good anyway, 7 out of 10.
Bringing my day to a stupendously good finish were French electro-indie-pop cohorts Phoenix. The band opened with Entertainment from recent album Bankrupt before storming through a set list that pulled tracks from all 5 of their albums. Rapturous applause greeted singles Lisztomania and 1901, with lead singer Thomas Mars visiting the enthusiastic crowd on a number of occasions.
Everything about this festival set was perfect – the crowds energy, the light show, the theatrical performance from the band. Ive been meaning to catch Phoenix for a long time now and Im delighted that Ive finally managed to see them live. Its just a shame that more people didnt follow suit.
Verdict Oui, oui, oui monsieur, a spellbinding 9 out of 10.
So thats that. Day 1 of T in the Park has come to a close. I gave Mumford and Calvin the ditch this time around and left early to prepare myself for the two days ahead. And if they are anything like today, then I, and 70,000 more are in for a treat. Here we, here we, here we.
Words and pics by Just Boy 57.