T In The Park 2011 – Saturday

Beyonce arrives...

As always, the weather at T In The Park has remained foremost on the minds of revellers.

If Friday caused an embarrassment for meteorologists then Saturday would see them vindicated as heavy showers swept across the Balado site. Yet the rain would remain sporadic, with the Perthshire ground remaining stubbornly solid underfoot.

Fun Lovin’ Criminals open the Main Stage, all Noo Yoik sass and swagger. With a bagful of hits, the band pitch their set just right and have the lunchtime crowd eating out the palms of their hands. Ending with – what else? – ‘Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ it seems that everyone in sight has been transformed into a New York hoodlum.

The afternoon lull coincides with the first of the showers, with fans seeking refuge in nearby tents. An expanded food and chillout area provides the perfect refuge, before a triple bill of hip hop performers launch the afternoon.

House Of Pain adopt a Roots-style live set up, allowing them to push and pull the audience in different directions. Throwing in a few hits, the Boston group give a shout out to the late West Coast rapper Nate Dogg during ‘Danny Boy’. Ending with ‘Jump Around’ the performance leaves a sizeable dent on the Radio 1 Stage.

The Slam Tent can be a tricky beast to master, but baby faced beat merchant Hudson Mohawke shows no sign of nerves when debuting new material. The first half of the set utilizes plenty of jungle loops with the Amen Break erupting out of the soundsystem. The closing half, meanwhile, drops the tempo with Hudmo reaching back to the Stone Throws inspired sound which cultivated his debut Warp effort ‘Butter’.

Odd Future have earned a reputation for trouble, and a massive crowd descends on the Radio One stage to investigate. Perhaps under-estimating the energy of a Scottish crowd, the hip hop collective begin baiting the audience by tossing bottles of water around. Immediately starting a tit-for-tat battle, the stage was drenched as their dark, septic beats emerged from the speakers.

The arrival of Tyler, The Creator pushed the energy levels higher, with the rapper – despite nursing a bandaged leg – acting as the fulcrum for the collective. Ending with their chant of ‘Kill People. Burn Shit. Fuck School’ the set only lasts for 25 minutes but is without any shadow of a doubt the most dramatic of the weekend thus far.

Friendly Fires follow with a dependable set of indie dance, drawing on their small yet immaculately formed back catalogue. However the group would be forced to make way for Beyonce, as a massive crowd formed around the Main Stage.

All kinds of rumours navigated their way across the site, but her arrival was remarkably smooth. Emerging from the floor of a pyramid, the singer leaped into ‘Crazy In Love’. With the crowd in the palm of her hand, Beyonce launched into ‘Single Ladies’ sparking a forest of wagging fingers from the females in the crowd.

Meanwhile, The Strokes took to the stage with it all to prove. Their first Scottish set since releasing ‘Angles’ the New York band were a fixture of nonchalance. At one point Julian Casablancas admitted that he “didn’t get” the T In The Park name. “Sure it’s a beer, I just don’t get it”.

Sitting backstage watching Beyonce strut her stuff, the shy and retiring figure of Chris Martin must have wondered how he was going to follow the pop icon. Shuffling onstage, the Coldplay singer began plucking out the chords for new track ‘Hurts Like Heaven’. Fireworks launched overhead, to the audible gasps of the Balado crowd.

Re-visiting a few past hits, Coldplay performed ‘Yellow’ before segueing into ‘In My Place’. The lengthy set mixed classic tracks with a few fan favorites, with a visibly humbled Chris Martin repeatedly thanking the crowd. Leaving with a simple wave to the audience, Coldplay seem to have mastered the knack of becoming superstars while remaining remarkably unassuming.

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