TRNSMT Festival: Day 2


TRNSMT Festival’s second day mostly peddles boorish ladrock… and Stormzy.

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Return to Glasgow Green after an eclectic first day and you’d be mistaken for having come to a different festival altogether. Not only is the sun incongruously shining (a harbinger of apocalyptic weather yet to come) but most young men on site resemble a stretched or squashed clone of Paul Weller; the mod haircuts, the same Pretty Green t-shirts (it becomes clear later that these gents are in fact variously configured versions of Tom Meighan and Sergio Pizzorno from tonight’s headliner Kasabian, but more on them later). Moddish types considered, everyone packs the mainstage area for pop-grime vanguard and all-round entertainer Stormzy (★★★★), the sole rapper of the weekend. The bared-teeth rush of Big for your Boots and Shut Up kick up the youth, reaching breaking point with the Ed Sheeran-collab Shape of You, as the fans experience the inescapable ginger kid with the guitar vicariously through his megahit.

After The Kooks (★★★) reel through their greatest hits (… so far), it’s over to King Tut’s for The Van T’s (★★★★), easily deserving of the trite reviewer’s phrase “ones to watch”. There isn’t much that’s new about their reverb-heavy pop rock, but their skillfully contained racket and cool-as-fuck presence give them the air of absolute pros of the art. Hours seem to pass dancing at the mud-mired Smirnoff House – TRNSMT’s best-kept secret – as George Ezra (★★★) performs over on the mainstage with a tropical-themed backdrop apparently stolen from Friendly Fires’ 2011 Pala tour.

The sun begins setting, and The Wytches (★★★★) welcome the darkness. Each song brims with pantomime Gothicism; knee-deep cauldron dry ice; squeaking hordes of bats overhead; as loud and jarring as a Disneyland ghost train. But sadly, the encroaching night brings the most vapid bloke-rock – not the wholesome Hard-Fi microwave-meal-before-a-lads’-night-out bloke-rock – but something more insidious. It starts with the horrible nu-metal throwback of The LaFontaines (★★), and ends with Kasabian (★★), who strut on stage like lads who’ve just broken even on the fruit machine. For a group boasting of a return to “pure rock ‘n’ roll anarchy” on their latest album For Crying Out Loud, Kasabian sound relatively mild, with indie clubnight classic Clubfoot and newer NME list-topper You’re in Love with a Psycho mostly sounding like background music to the plague of IMAX-sized ads that descend on the mainstage between acts. The triumphalism of Stormzy is no match for the pure male fantasy of Kasabian, exacerbated by the overwhelmingly male line up of the mainstage as a whole (and that’s to say nothing of its overall whiteness). Singer Meighan spits smart-ass quips like the school bully holding the audience’s collective head in a toilet bowl, going “doosh!” when he pretends to sucker punch them. What will day three hold? Find out here.