After years of being a teenager and pleading with my parents to let me go down to T in the Park for a venture, for some sweet music to my ears, getting out of Aberdeenshire, and forever being told that we were going on “holiday that weekend sweetie” I took the plunge and hit Glasgow Green for the first day of TRNSMT, a new city festival organised by the same promoters of the TITP festival. Now, I then understood why my parents were reluctant to let me head down to Kinross or Perthshire or wherever the last few Ts have been, as this was not the sight I wished to behold.
Surprisingly not sold out, the festival kicked off on the Friday with some class acts, including The Vegan Leather, a Paisley outfit, Rag’n’Bone Man, Belle & Sebastian, London Grammar and Radiohead to name a few. However, as soon as we hit the “play area” there was little to stimulate our senses, aside from overpriced stalls charging £5 for a small bottle of water and a cheap lemonade lolly.
It was interesting being sober at this festival as it was clear that the majority at TRNSMT were vacating their heads for what was the beginning of the festival, the start of the weekend.
The Vegan Leather were the first of the acts I witnessed grace the stage, and grace the stage they did. Jan, with his flouncy locks and sequinned lapelled blazer, posed and pouted as they warmed the crowd up at the King Tut’s Stage with their fun electronic pop. Over at the Main Stage Rag’n’Bone Man, was sadly a little underwhelming but elevated the noise slightly with his popular soulful Human performance, before London Grammar, more sedate and ambient, gave the audience enough space to get some more overpriced pints and indulge in conversation.
Aside from the Main Stage, which is where we spent most of the afternoon and evening, there were three other stages, which were to be considered in a BBC Introducing vein. It might have been worth our while to see more of the smaller acts, where it was actually possible to see and engage with the artist. The Vegan Leather were one of the highlights of the day apart from Radiohead’s injection of togetherness, and Belle and Sebastian’s set as the sun was coming up.
Far from their best set, Belle and Sebastian warmed the crowd up nicely in their hometown of Glasgow as the sun pulled through the clouds and Radiohead’s performance was fast approaching. Playing songs which spanned their career such as I’m A Cuckoo and the anticipated The Boy With The Arab Strap, which I must admit we had a wee dance to. As with most at this gig, I was hyped about the headliner, the enigmatic Radiohead and eccentric Thom Yorke, and waited patiently, meandering through the mess in order to get to what felt like some redemption.
Albeit for a couple of tracks nearing the end of their set, namely Karma Police and No Surprises, their set was unfortunately underwhelming. Now that could be for several reasons. We were so far back that we could hear the conversations and gripes of many over the tones of Yorke. The residential aspect to this festival meant the volume was too low. There was also some discord with the Palestinian flags protesting the band’s future performance in Tel Aviv. The screens on the side of the stage were not directly filming the events on stage in the conventional sense that you could even muster what was going on from those. Even performances of tracks best live such as There There were somewhat disappointing in comparison to previous gigs and there was a lack of interest on my part of seeing this band live in the near future, something I thought I would never hear myself say.
Not a bad effort with 120,000 music fans attending and a somewhat stellar line-up. I mean, it’s no Fyre Festival but however, did malnourish the thinkers. There is much that needs to be worked on for next year to ground success for this new festival, including even the male to female ratio for artists performing, and I darn well hope they do.