It is Scotland’s biggest new music festival and TRNSMT was back for its second year right in the middle of a national heatwave. Going from strength to strength, the festival sweltered all weekend with temperatures touching 29c, as tens of thousands of music fans herded on Glasgow Green to watch some of the biggest bands and artists in the UK. The crowds were vast but well-behaved, with no major incidents and again only a handful of arrests.
Opening Friday on the Main Stage were Irish band Picture This, Embrace and a scantily clad Jessie J were the first on the Main Stage, followed by Kodaline but it was James Bay for all my sins that was the first act to catch my eye. The singer-songwriter’s 2015 debut ‘The Chaos and the Calm’ went straight to number one back in 2015 and to be honest, I’ve not really ever been a big fan but after his Isle of Wight set last weekend and then his TRNSMT set, James you have won me over! Singing tracks off his latest record ‘Electric Light’ and crowd favourites like ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Hold Back the River’ James delivered a strong performance in the blistering heat with the crowds singing back to him the majority of his songs. He also played a crowd pleasing cover of the classic track ‘Simply The Best’.
Proving that good old rock and roll is far from dead, The Slydigs opened up with the King Tuts stage with a high energy set. The Slydigs are a rock lover’s dream come true, with a strong feel of the 1960s intertwined with modern rock, the guys didn’t let up as they tore through their set with raw vocals, fantastic solos and addictive melodies.
Anteros shone for their second appearance at the festival, after playing at the This Feeling Tent last year, the band were back with Laura Hayden’s killer vocals and style getting the crowd ramped up with their infectious energy. Laura was clearly enjoying the heat and invited all the girls up on stage for a dance! Friday night headliner on King Tuts, Tom Walker, melted the crowd’s hearts as shouted out to his 80 year old gran who had made her first festival debut to see her grandson perform.
The Script were next to take to the Main Stage. My first time watching the band, it was clear that they were Scottish favourites. I was impressed with the high energy frontman Danny expelled in such high temperatures! Wearing a kilt and leather jacket, he cheekily gave the excited crowd a flash, as the crowd gasped you could see the sheer disappointment as all that was revealed was his boxers!
Now was the turn of the highly anticipated Friday night Main Stage headliners Stereophonics, with a set that took you throughout their extensive career, they captivated the audience with early classics ‘A Thousand Trees’ and ‘The Bartender and the Thief’ as well as playing ‘Good to see you Glasgow’, ‘Have A Nice Day’, ‘I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio’ and ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ and tracks from their latest release ‘Scream Above the Sounds’.
In all honesty, it was good. I appreciate that the Stereophonics are one of the biggest bands to come out of the UK and for that I applaud them but when you spend your time watching unsigned bands that literally have you teetering on the brink of oblivion with high paced assaults on your senses every weekend, I found myself slightly bored at times and here’s where I started to really miss the This Feeling tent. However, it was clear that the crowd at Glasgow Green were in their element and the band finished to a deafening roar.
Friday was a much more chilled out affair and experience than what was about to come on Saturday…
Glasgow’s very own The LaFontaines kicked off proceedings on Saturday with a fist pumping and foot stomping the crowd chanted Scotland’s familiar chant ‘Here we, here we, here we f**cking go!’ The LaFontaines are renowned as the best live band in Scotland and didn’t disappoint pulling out all the stops for a memorable show.
Next up was York’s Shed Seven performed hits including ‘Chasing Rainbows’, ‘On Standby’ and ‘Going for Gold’ with a crowd of all ages singing along. The band must of been feeling it stood in the scorching heat after playing Castlefield Bowl the night before to 10 thousand people, but you couldn’t tell, solidifying the fact that the band have plenty more life in them yet! The good feelings emitted from Rick Witter & co spread throughout Glasgow Green as the band went on to jam to the Stone Roses ‘I Am the Resurrection’. Duke Witter (Rick Witter’s son) who is in the band Serotones, also joined the band up on stage for a singalong, adding to the already buzzing party atmosphere.
You just couldn’t prepare yourselves for what was about to happen next. The highlight of the whole festival was upon us, as Scottish music phenomenon Gerry Cinnamon took to the Main Stage for one of the most euphoric sets I have ever witnessed in my life. The local Castlemilk lad played on King Tuts last year but there was only one place you could of safely put Gerry Cinnamon this year and that was the Main Stage! As we waited to take photographs it felt as though you were stood at the side of a volcano and I actually felt scared the crowd were going to take the barrier clear down!
Gerry appeared to the biggest welcome from his fiercely loyal fans and led the crowd through tunes from his debut album ‘Erratic Cinematic’. The patriotic crowd went absolutely insane throughout his biggest known tune to date ‘Belter’ with fans chanting ‘Here we, here we, here we f***ing go’ followed by ‘Na, na, na, na, na, na, Gerry Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Gerry Cinnamon’. Gerry was obviously taken aback by the huge display of affection and love for his music and he welled up as the crowd of thousands chanted his name. The pride beamed from his face as he told the crowd ‘They told me I couldnae work and couldnae sing wae a Scottish accent’ Well, they certainly got that wrong didn’t they!
From handing out free ice-creams to playing a blinding solo set, Kyle Falconer is one of my favourite Scottish singer-songwriters. He shot to fame as the frontman for Dundee indie rock band The View who played the MainStage last year and is currently set to release his first solo album, ‘No Thank You’, this month on the 27th of July. Kyle played new tracks ‘Poor Me’ and ‘Family Tree’ to a packed out crowd at King Tuts.
Another high energy set kicked off at the Main Stage later on with fans jumping and down from the offset by Manchester band the Courteeners who played a rousing set. Starting things off with ‘Are You in Love with a Notion’, they played hits ‘Not Nineteen Forever’, ‘Notion’ and ‘Cavorting’ amongst over fan favourites. Liam also paid tribute to headliner Liam Gallagher saying: ‘If it wasn’t for Liam and his brother there wouldn’t be a Courteener’s. Glasgow we f**king love you!’
Following on from his huge London Finsbury Park show the night before, anticipation was high in the crowd across the Green as Liam Gallagher’s face appeared on the massive screen behind the stage. As Liam approached the riotous crowd let out a magnificent roar as the king of Rock ‘n’ Roll swaggered on stage. Fans watched in awe as he opened with Oasis’s ‘Rock n Roll Star’. The set successfully documented the singers 25-year career, belting out solo tunes ‘Wall of Glass’ and ‘Greedy Soul’ as well as Oasis gold ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Wonderwall’.
Liam had to stop mid-set as a guy climbed one of the tall speaker towers, an unimpressed Liam shouted ‘I ain’t got time for no Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds fan’. The man was later arrested. Liam Gallagher was on top form and chatty, he paid a touching tribute to a Fife teenager who was killed after being hit by a taxi the week before with Oasis track ‘Live Forever’. He told the crowd: ‘I keep getting this thing on the Twitter about some kid called James up this neck of the woods who passed away and they wanted me to play Little James but I don’t know if I could go there. So, I dedicate Live Forever to the man anyway’
Liam Gallagher gave the crowds exactly what they wanted, with a mixture of Oasis tracks like ‘Listen Up’, ‘Slide Away’, ‘Some Might Say’ and newer tracks from his debut album ‘Greedy Soul’ and ‘Wall of Glass’ that all had the crowd singing along. As cocky and as lovable as ever, Liam delivered a headline set to be proud of.
Saturday was by far my favourite day of the weekend, the weather was glorious and the vibe amongst the crowds was electric.
Sunday saw anticipation building throughout the day for headliners Arctic Monkeys who were joined on-stage by their friend and fellow TRNSMT performer Miles Kane. It also saw performances from Interpol, Blossoms, Nothing But Thieves and Sigrid.
Tom Grennan opened the Main Stage getting everyone singing along to ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’. Belting out the popular Chasing Status track ‘All Goes Wrong’ Tom sprayed himself in sun-cream, which a fan had thrown over after appealing to the crowd. One thing Tom knows how to do well is work a crowd and fans were treated to Tom’s hits ‘Praying’ and new track ‘Barbed Wire’ from his eagerly awaited debut album ‘Lighting Matches’.
Grennan is renown for his down to earth and friendly attitude and shouted out to fans “Yes, I f***ing love you lot. Thanks for coming out so early’. It was an impressive crowd for the opening slot and there is no part of me that doesn’t think he will be much higher up the bill next year, eventually bagging those headline slots.
Returning from a hiatus away from live performances Miles Kane strutted on stage in a very stylish white, Fred Perry tracksuit. Instantly connecting to the audience, Miles performed ‘Rearrange’ and ‘Closer’ to an impressive sized crowd. He played some of his new material including latest single ‘Coup De Grace’. He also performed an incredible cover of Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’. One thing was for certain, regardless to how long he has been away, Miles definitely hasn’t lost his sparkle or appeal as one of the most entertaining solo men in the industry.
Over at King Tuts I managed to catch the end of one of brightest young talents around, Sigrid, performing her hits ‘Strangers’ and ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ in the sunshine, she delivered a happy and upbeat set.
Headlining the main stage, the Arctic Monkeys came back in May this year with their highly anticipated 6th studio album; ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’. Receiving mixed reviews and a lot of fans being quite unforgiving about the U turn in musical direction. I initially disliked the album but after several listens, a few songs grew on me and I was really excited to see the band on the last night. Crushed by my own high expectations, I felt great surges of disappointment throughout the performance at TRNMST. You can read more about it here in my full review… Arctic Monkeys. This is only my opinion though and thousands of the crowd described the night as one of the best performances they’d seen from the Sheffield four piece.
All in all, TRNSMT delivered yet again, set in a brilliant location not too far from the city centre, musically the festival catered for everyone. Everything was laid out really well and even though the site was swarming, the whole weekend ran smoothly from start to finish. I was impressed by how fast the event staff got the festival goers in with minimal queuing, they were all really helpful and friendly too. Was it as good as last year? Yes, but one important factor missing for me this year, was a dedicated, unsigned music tent. Last year the #jackrocks This Feeling stage gave a platform to over thirty bands that are currently killing the underground scene in towns and cities across the UK. Please may we see it return for 2019.
The second weekend of the festival is on Friday and Sunday with headliners Queen and The Killers taking to the main stage. All information at… https://trnsmtfest.com
PHOTOGRAPHY AS CREDITED