Making Glasgow Green it’s home for three days this year was TRNSMT, a new festival aiming to fill the void that T in the Park had left in terms of Scottish Music Festivals – relatively big boots to fill. But DF Concerts’ TRNSMT smashed it, and is sure to quickly become an annual summer favourite.
I actually had a weekend ticket and had been looking forward to it since I’d bought my ticket in February, however life and lack of funds got in the way ever so slightly and I was only able to make it to the third and final day of TRNSMT which, obviously, ended up being the wettest day of the entire weekend, WONDERFUL. TRNSMT had one of the best festival line ups of the summer and I’m truly gutted that I didn’t get to make the most of it and see more. Having left Edinburgh later than I’d planned and needing to actually make it home, I only had time to see three bands yesterday – Glasgow natives Twin Atlantic, Irish indie favourites Two Door Cinema Club, and ‘special guests’ The 1975. I spent just 5 hours on Glasgow Green yesterday and had a better time in those few hours than I did the entire weekend at Parklife last month, or at any of the weekends I’d spent at T in the Park since my first one at the age of 13 for that matter. Of course the festival still had it’s hiccups, but for its first year TRNSMT has done unbelievably well for itself, and having seen nothing but positive responses about the new festival on social media, I’m keen to see TRNSMT become an annual event and potentially even replace T in the Park permanently.
Twin Atlantic formed in Glasgow a decade ago and have since become a Scottish favourite. Once upon a time they were actually my favourite band, and I have seen and met them on multiple occasions over the last 10 years, particularly Barry who had done a number of guest DJ appearances during my time working for Propaganda. My most memorable time meeting them though was the day their third album Great Divide was released in August 2014 and I went to get my copy signed at HMV on Argyle Street in Glasgow – I was shat on by a pigeon moments before going in to meet them. However, yesterday’s set whilst still enjoyable, was a little disappointing for me. I realised that as fantastic as Twin Atlantic were, and I truly can’t deny that their set was impressive, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d perhaps outgrown them. I’ll forever adore their first two albums Vivarium, and Free, but their setlists feature very few songs from either of those anymore, which of course is understandable. I can’t expect a band not to evolve and grow. Their most recent album GLA released September last year was very divisive in that fans either loved it or hated it, and unfortunately I was the latter. So as they opened their set with Whispers and jets of blue confetti, I found myself not knowing any words. Or any to the next song. Or the next. You get where I’m going here. And obviously, that’s not McTrusty and co’s fault at all, it’s mine. I personally just felt that given the very impressive discography Twin Atlantic have under their belt that they could have pulled together a better setlist for a hometown festival slot. Ultimately it’s all subjective, and a good setlist to me is not necessarily a good setlist to others. Regardless, I still had a great time jumping about to the band that soundtracked a large portion of my teenage years. Nostalgia, eh.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
Having seen this Irish three piece already this year at Parklife in June, I was really looking forward to this set from Two Door Cinema Club. They opened with Cigarettes In The Theatre, the first track from their 2010 debut album Tourist History, followed by crowd favourite Undercover Martyn. As the familiar trademark Scottish chant of ‘here were fucking go’ roared from thousands of Two Door fans between Next Year and Something Good Can Work, bassist Kevin Baird said that it was ‘great to be back in Scotland to hear that beautiful song’, and likewise, it was great to have them back. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, Two Door Cinema Club always put on an absolutely stellar show and if you’ve never experienced one for yourself then you’re only doing yourself a massive misdeed. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to experience What You Know live at least once in their lifetime. Fun, catchy tracks run through their veins and ooze from their very core – Two Door Cinema Club are fucking fantastic.
It’s absolutely no secret that The 1975 are my absolute favourite band in the world. I have their logo and lyrics tattooed onto my skin, I own a copy of their sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep Fo – you know the rest – on every platform it was released, I’ve travelled up and down the country to see and meet them, been to well over 30 of their gigs since 2012, and I honestly dread to think about how much money I’ve spent doing so. Their set at TRNSMT would be the last I’d see them for the rest of the year, and the last I’d see them until their third studio album Music For Cars, which is set for release at some point next year. As the familiar pink glow lit up the stage, the ever flamboyant and not-so-humble frontman Matty Healy grabbed a camera and told the audience to ‘welcome their favourite band The 1975’, before flailing about to the funky intro of Love Me. I had two older guys stood next to me throughout the set, who I can only assume were down the front to secure their place for headliners Biffy Clyro, and got into a chat with them about how they didn’t actually know who The 1975 were and didn’t think they’d like them – but by the time Heart Out had been played and they’d heard THAT sax solo they were beaming about how impressed they were. And it’s easy to see why – the visuals are stunning, the performance is high energy and fun, and Matty has excellent audience interaction, frequently going off on tangents about prevalent and important social issues such as politics, racism, and homophobia. Before Loving Someone, Matty quietly began mumbling ‘oh Jeremy Corbyn’ into his microphone, inciting a chant from the crowd in front of him – ‘we should all be young, and liberal and beautiful’, the frontman says as the rainbow lighting begins to flicker behind him, ‘and I don’t want to preach but seems like I actually do – this song is simply about loving someone’.
She’s American came next, and instead of the usual mosh pit you’d find at a festival, a circle opened for a ‘ballroom dancing pit’ with people grabbing the hands of the closest stranger and just dancing together and having a really GOOD time. The colourful lighting was stripped away leaving the stage lit only in black and white for love song Fallingforyou, which Matty dedicated to the hardcore fans, before beginning to bring the set to a close with tracks Girls, Sex, and Chocolate from their critically acclaimed 2013 self-titled debut album. Providing the perfect finale was The Sound, which has grown to be a personal highlight of The 1975 gigs since it’s release last year. By this point the rain was significantly heavier but that wasn’t dampening anyone’s spirits as Glasgow Green roared the track’s catchy chorus, all building up to guitarist Adam Hann’s solo, during which Matty asks everyone – and he means everyone – to jump.
I know I’m biased, but I truly believe The 1975 are one of the best bands in the world at the moment, they’ve built up an incredibly loyal fanbase and have been hugely successful thus far – there’s no denying that they know how to put on a sensational show. I left TRNSMT that day the way I usually leave a The 1975 gig – smiling from ear to ear, which I can assure you is a rare sight.
Overall, whilst my time there was short, TRNSMT has definitely been a highlight of my year so far. The atmosphere was unparalleled, everyone was friendly, the lineup was stellar, and the location was stunning and accessible. But most of all – the toilets were spotless, which is something I never thought I’d find myself saying on Day 3 of a festival.