GLASGOW GREEN 7th, 8th-9th JULY
TRNSMT festival made a triumphant return to Glasgow Green for its sixth year. It was great to see so many Scottish singer/songwriters – Joesef, Declan Welsh, Brooke Combe, Lucia (Lucia and the Good Boys), The View, Dead Pony , Swim School , Calum Bowie , Nattie Dreddd .
Other great acts also included English singer songwriter Maisie Peters, Mimi Webb, Inhaler , Becky Hill, The Amazons, Dream Wife , Sam Fender , The KOOKS, Jamie Webster , and The 1975 much more over the 3 days of the festival in Glasgow.
What better way to kick off proceedings on the main stage than with a blistering performance by Glasgow’s Dead Pony, with the crowd lapping up their frenetic grunge punk sound. It was a big moment for Alice Shields and her band as she told the crowd: “This is so nuts to be on the main stage. Thank you for coming down early to see us. It means a lot to us, so thank you.”
They then launched into their cover version of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Maneater’, which went down a storm. The band also showcased some new material.
Before they played ‘Rainbows’, Alice told the audience. “Next up we’re going to play a new song. I want to dedicate this to my wee mammy, it was her birthday yesterday.”‘Zero’ is another crowd favourite and the band brought their short but powerful set to a close with a cracking performance of ‘23, Never me.’
Declan Welsh and the Decadent West got the groove going for the early arrivals at Glasgow Green, as they powered through a blistering set, kicking off with ‘No Fun’, ‘Absurd’ then ‘Aw The Time’. At this point came one of the most unexpected moments of the festival. Declan downed his guitar, took out his phone and read out a heartfelt speech about the plight of refugees in a camp in Palestine. He’s obviously visited this war-torn region and it’s a cause that’s very personal to him as he urged the people of Glasgow to write to their MP about the issue. As he finished the speech which lasted several minutes he looked down at the TV cameras filming him: “To the BBC, your normal programming will resume now.”
I’m guessing he thought such a controversial speech would not make the broadcast but the entire monologue is on the Iplayer, completely uncut.
But it was back to business after this with Declan promising some ‘bangers’. DWatDW didn’t disappoint and closed with the crowd favourite ‘King of my Head’.
Joesef glided onstage with his band, brimming with confidence and clearly happy to be on the main stage in front of a home audience. “What’s f*cking happening Glasgow?” beamed the singer from Glasgow’s East End. Kicking off with the slightly melancholic but extremely catchy ‘It’s been a little heavy lately’, his silky smooth vocals drifted beautifully over the audience and he was backed by a seriously tight band. His cover of Sister Sledge’s ‘Thinking of you’ had the fans swaying enthusiastically and during the closer ‘Joe’ he had the crowd hijacking the chorus.
Dundee’s The View performed a blistering frenetic set, with frontman Kyle Falconer whirling like a dervish across the stage, as he thrashed away at his guitar on favourites like ‘Same Jeans’ and ‘Face for the Radio’. “I was thinking we played the first TRNSMT back in 2017 and here we are. This might be the last one.” Falconer said as he nodded towards the ferris wheel on Glasgow Green. “You never know, that wheel might fall on top of you at any moment.”
Paul Heaton performed material which spanned his whole career. Housemartins tracks – ‘Sheep’, ‘Five Get Overexcited’, ‘Happy Hour’, The Beautiful South ‘Old Red Eyes is Back’, ‘Perfect 10’ and some of the music he has written with Jacqui Abbott ‘I Drove Her Away with my Tears’, ‘I don’t see them’.
Before performing ‘Rotterdam’, Heaton explained the song was originally a duet with Jacqui Abbott but in her absence he had someone else in mind to sing it with him, Bellshill singer Rianne Downey. Downey’s vocals were exquisite and the crowd went crazy for this homegrown talented artiste. The singer has since revealed that ticket sales for her solo show have soared after the performance at TRNSMT. Heaton closed the set with a beautiful version of Housemartins favourite ‘Caravan of Love’ with the crowd singing along..
Friday’s headliners Pulp are a group almost designed for this kind of festival. Jarvis and the band have an array of stadium-friendly pop classics with singalong choruses which this TRNSMT crowd hijacked throughout the hit-filled set.
At one point Jarvis claimed he needed a ‘rest’ because he’s ‘old’ but this lanky 59-year-old gave an incredibly energetic performance as the band tore through their back catalogue with songs from the ‘His and Hers’ album like ‘Babies’ and ‘Do you remember the first time’ to ‘Different Class’ tracks like ‘I Spy’, which they opened with, ‘Disco 2,000’ and ‘Something Changed’. Jarvis dedicated the latter to Steve Mackey, Pulp’s bassist who died earlier this year. As the set drew to a close the crowd knew there was one glaring omission in the setlist and Pulp came back on to rectify this. A thunderous rendition of their anthem, ‘Common People’ brought the show to a triumphant climax.
Swim School first on the main stage on day 2 of TRNSMT moved from their slot from Friday slot on the KING TUTs stage
Brooke Combe arrived on stage wearing a Scotland top. She said: “Thank you very much, Glasgow. I’m Brooke Combe, a fellow Scot, come on. This is my second year here and I’m on the main stage. I’m made up, this is absolutely class.” Running through crowd pleasers like ‘Impress You’, ‘A-Game’ and ‘Miss Me Now’, Combe effortlessly won the fans over.
Ending with ‘Are You With Me’, Brooke shouted: “Thank you so much, this has been incredible. Glasgow, if you enjoyed this, I’m coming back in November for my headline tour and I wanna see all you beautiful people at the show.”
Maisie Peters was, for this reviewer anyway, the real revelation of the weekend. Having not heard much about her, this petite blonde singer/songwriter blew me away with her performance. Within a couple of numbers, the opener ‘Body Better’ and ‘I’m trying (not friends)’, she had the audience in the palm of her hands. Bounding around the stage she belted out her classic confessional pop songs. “This one is about my terrible, terrible, terrible taste in men,” she said at one point. Clearly her romantic disasters have provided her with some brilliant music. Closing with ‘Run’, Ms Peters left the stage to a rousing roar of approval.
TRNSMT was blessed with pretty decent weather, although Kasabian fans had to endure something of a deluge. The band – now fronted by Serge Pizzorno after they parted ways with original singer Tom Heighan – kicked things off with a surefire crowd pleaser, ‘Club Foot’. Pizzorno, bounding around the stage, was clearly enjoying his new role as frontman and the crowd had soon forgotten Heighan, as they roared their approval. “That’s fucking beautiful,” beamed Pizzorno. ‘Empire’ proved to be another popular Kasabian anthem and the band closed the set with ‘Fire’. If anything the show proved that the loss of an original frontman does not mean the end of a band.
Sam Fender was the closing act on the second night – this was his fifth appearance at the festival. After opening with ‘We will talk’, he acknowledged his remarkable TRNSMT ascension: “We’ve played every stage in this festival, from a little stage over there to the main stage. It’s just really surreal.” Sam treated the audience to a stack of favourites, ‘Getting started’, ‘Dead Boys’ and of course ‘Spice’ where Fender fans erupted into a chorus of ‘Fuck the Tories’.
The singer also performed a cover of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Modern Leper’, in honour of FR’s late singer Scott Hutchison.
Closing with ‘Seventeen Going Under’ and ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, Fender proved he belongs on the biggest stage at TRNSMT.
The Crawlers first on the Main stage
On the King Tut’s stage, Lucia and the Best Boys kicked off their set in the early afternoon sunshine. The Glaswegian singer/songwriter said they would be playing songs from the forthcoming album ‘Burning Castles’, which would be getting their first live performances at this show.
“It’s really special for us to be playing these for the first time to a home crowd,” beamed Lucia before the band played the first of the new songs, ‘Care’.
This along with the title track of the album indicate that musically LATBB are now playing with a bigger palate. The song ‘Burning Castles’, in particular, feels really epic and has a massive soaring chorus.
We were treated to some favourites, a stripped-back ‘Summertime’, went down a storm and the closer, fan favourite ‘Perfectly Untrue’ was a blistering climax with Lucia getting the crowd to sing along with the ridiculously catchy chorus.
Reading’s finest The Amazons headed onto the King Tut’s stage and immediately got the crowd rocking with ‘Bloodrush’. “Glasgow, It feels so good to be here. We’re The Amazons,” beamed frontman Matt Thomson before the band performed a blazing version of ‘Ultraviolet’.
A couple of songs into the set and Matt was handed a bottle of Buckfast. Taking a swig of Buckie he saluted the audience: “We’re in f*cking Glasgow. Slàinte Mhath motherfuckers. This is our third time at TRNSMT festival. Every time it blows our fucking minds.” The Zeppelin-esque opening riff of ‘Mother’ kicked in and the crowd went crazy.
As the set came towards the end Matt told the crowd: “Glasgow, we have thirty fucking seconds to go. The time is now. Are you with us? I want this place, front to back, side to side jumping as high as you can,. Are you fucking with us?’”The crowd duly obliged as The Amazons ramped up the rock levels to fever pitch on the closer, their anthem, ‘Black Magic’.
Pale Waves performed a powerhouse of a set with crowd favourites like the opener, ‘Lies’, ‘You’re So Vain and ‘Television Romance’. Heather Baron-Gracie told the crowd: “I didn’t realise it could be this fucking hot and sunny in Glasgow but here we are.” ‘Fall to pieces’ came next with Gracie telling the crowd: “This is a song about heartbreak.”
‘She’s My Religion’ went down a storm and the singer said: “I fucking love Scotland and Scottish people – my dad was born and grew up in Glasgow.” The band closed with a thunderous version of ‘Jealousy’.
Dream Wife kicked off their set with a blistering ‘Social Lubrication’. Lead singer Rakel Mjöll told the crowd “We are Dream Wife and it is an absolute honour and a privilege to be here with you today. And it’s not raining”. The band ran through some classics, ‘F.U.U.’ ‘Hasta La Vista’ and ‘Orbit’. Rakel asked if there were any ‘bad bitches’ in the audience.
“This next song is dedicated to all the bad bitches. Because I spy with my little eye bad bitches. To be a bad bitch has absolutely nothing to do with gender. Gender is a construct and can we all tear it apart.” Dream Wife closed their set with the powerful ‘Leech’ with the crowd singing along to its chorus ‘Just have some fucking ermpathy’.
Looking like a demented Xena Warrior Princess Ashnikko marched onto the main stage flanked by two dancers and set the tone for the show with ‘You make me sick’. She gyrated around the stage hissing the incendiary lyrics. ‘You make me sick. You make me turn my insides out onto the bricks. I could never train a bitch like you.’
It’s a set packed with crowd favourites with probably the filthiest lyrics of the festival. It’s slightly surreal seeing the crowd merrily singing along with lyrics like the chorus of ‘Working Bitch’: ‘I’m a working, bitch Ain’t got no time for dick.’
The sun was blazing when she performed. “It is really fucking hot up here. I’m really sweating my titties off,” said Ashnikko.
She asked the crowd if anyone is having a ‘slumber party’ before ‘Slumber party’. It seems a lot of the audience were planning just that.
Then Ashnikko appears to have a wardrobe malfunction. “My titties are popping out but just deal with it. It really wouldn’t be a show of mine if my titties weren’t popping out.” Closing with ‘Weedkiller’ and ‘Daisy’, Ashnikko went down a storm with the Glasgow crowd.
Becky Hill was obviously delighted to be on the big stage: “Hello TRNSMT- well it’s been quite the while since I’ve been back here and I was over there and you lot all shut the stage down. So thank you for having me back and putting me on this bloody massive stage.” The crowd lapped it up as she ran through some of her hits: ‘Crazy What Love Can Do’. ‘Gecko’ ‘ ‘Last Time’ and ‘False Alarm’. Just after the halfway mark she urged the crowd to raise the stakes: “You are looking a bit flat today. Is it day three or something? Can you give me more energy?” They did. Covers of Candi Staton’s ‘You Got The Love’ and Sylvesters ‘Mighty Real’ went down a storm. And the closer ‘Remember’ had the fans going wild.
“Glasgow this is already fucking amazing – we’re only four songs in and how fucking beautiful is this?” The band then launched into the epic, ‘We’ll live and die in these towns’. Tom told the crowd the band have been playing Glasgow for many years and loved to come to the city. Looking down at his electric acoustic guitar he said: “About 15 years ago we were playing the Barrowlands over there and after the soundcheck at the Barrowlands market I bought this guitar. And it’s the one I’d never fucking sell.” ‘40 Days and 40 Nights’, ‘Not time for tears’ went down a storm and the band closed with a majestic eight minute version of ‘This song is about you’.
After their controversial set at the Big Weekend in Dundee you might be forgiven for thinking Royal Blood would have to really work to win this crowd over. But within a few seconds of the opener, ‘Out of the Black’ it was clear the TRNSMT crowd could not give a flying fandango about the earlier gig as they went absolutely ballistic.Mike Kerr said: “TRNSMT, how are you doing? “We’re Royal Blood. You feeling good?” During the show, Royal Blood had to stop because of an incident in the crowd. Drummer Ben Thatcher said: ‘”t’s important everyone is having a good time and feeling okay. We’re just waiting to make sure everyone is feeling good. Thank you for waiting with us.” But soon it was back to business with stormers like ‘Mountains At Midnight’ ‘Trouble’s Coming’ and a rousing ‘How did we get so dark?’ closing the show.
As far as stage entrances go they don’t come much stranger than Mat Healy of The 1975. As the band took to the stage for the final act of the festival, Healy was wheeled on inside a wheelie bin. Jumping onto the stage in a white lab coat, the singer grabbed his guitar and the band launched into ‘Looking for somebody to love’, quickly followed by ‘Happiness’.
Healy paid tribute to Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi, who was backstage. Capaldi is taking a break from the limelight for health reasons. Healey said: “Our good friend taking a well deserved break is with us this evening.” The band powered through ‘Paris’, ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Love It If We Made It’.
It’s a triumphant end to the three-day festival as The 1975 close with ‘SexPlay’ and ’Give yourself a try’. Healy was in typically confident form as he told the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, you are so lucky to see one of the world’s greatest bands.” To be fair, he’s not wrong but it’s also true to say TRNSMT saw many great bands over this brilliant weekend. Roll on TRNSMT 2024.