The sun came out early on day two of TRNSMT festival, setting the tone for an all-day party. Glasgow Green filled up quickly with plenty of people eager to catch earlier acts like Circa Waves and Heavy Rapids.
The most anticipated early act though was Stormzy, an anomaly on the lineup of mostly indie rock. His grime stood out amongst a more predictable sea of bands and he got the first “here we fucking go” chant of the day, even joining in himself. Tracks like “Big For Your Boots” and “Cigarettes & Cush” got the crowd hyped and his energy was unbeatable. Never tripping over his words or losing breath, he maintained a stellar performance throughout the set and seemed pleasantly surprised at the reaction he received. “Oh man, I didn’t think there would be this many people!” he declared after opening with “Return of the Rucksack” and failing to keep his grin under control. An unexpected cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” got a sing-along going before closing with the massive “Shut Up”.
Meanwhile, Fickle Friends brought their shimmering indie pop to the King Tut’s stage, the sun providing the perfect backdrop to their sound. With ease, they got the impressively large crowd dancing, especially with the smooth groove of “Swim”.
Do many people still listen to The Kooks in 2017? Presumably not, considering the only songs that drew any real enthusiasm were those that were released in 2006. Luke Pritchard’s vocals were lazy at points and the band as a whole failed to impress with any kind of performance. Those decade-old songs did spark some good sing-alongs though, with “Naïve” providing a cute, laid-back feeling to the end of their set.
The Van T’s have been causing a stir in Glasgow since the release of their debut EP in 2015, and now that hype is spreading across the country. Rightly so, as their grungey, scuzzy sound swathed in sweet harmonies is to die for. “Blood Orange” and “Growler” were highlights of the set, while their cover of The Ian Carey Project’s dance track “Get Shaky” was unexpectedly great. Sadly, the crowd wasn’t as big or as enthusiastic as the band deserved and this was a real shame. They put on a brilliant performance and those who didn’t make the effort to see it really missed out.
The Jack Rocks stage was unfortunately very difficult to get into over the weekend. The tiny tent was constantly packed, which is great news for the up-and-coming bands playing there, but was off-putting for many punters who couldn’t get near the stage. Those who did make it in would have enjoyed Glasgow-based Medicine Men‘s take on psychedelic rock/funk which is made for small, dark stages like this. They held their own amongst an impressive lineup that day and the pure enjoyment of the band was wonderful to watch.
Local favourite Gerry Cinnamon had the warmest welcome of the day, with the crowd chanting his name for a good ten minutes before he arrived on stage. He made a name for himself during the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign with his pro-independence track “Hope Over Fear” and has maintained a loyal fan base ever since. That loyalty was the most striking thing about his set, and we got the impression that no matter what he did, they’d love him for it. His authentic, down-to-earth lyrics and laid-back attitude to his career make him relatable as well as likeable.
George Ezra provided a much calmer vibe over on the main stage, his soulful voice carrying beautifully across the park. Though not ideal for dancing to, he was still able to capture everyone’s attention and hold it throughout his full set. Hits like “Budapest” and “Blame It On Me” were unsurprisingly the highlights, the sunny tunes fitting the ambience of the afternoon perfectly.
The award for best frontman of the day definitely goes to Catfish and the Bottlemen‘s Van McCann, who gave an astounding performance on the main stage. He was bursting with energy and confidence – without being arrogant – and had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the moment the band opened with “Homesick”. He seemed genuinely thrilled with their reception and exclaimed, “I fucking love it!” away from his mic to guitarist Johnny Bond. It’s rare to see a band of their magnitude still feel humbled by an adoring crowd and it’s something that should be acknowledged more often. Of course, “Glasgow” went down very well with the local crowd, who cheered at the lyric mentioning Sauchiehall Street, and “7” received the strongest sing-along.
Closing the King Tut’s stage were The LaFontaines. The confidence of the band – in particular, vocalist Kerr Okan – was thankfully backed up by a solid performance of their unique tracks. Hip hop, rock and funk are combined masterfully by the Glaswegian band into an impressive, energy-packed set. Okan knows how to keep a crowd engaged and his requests for people to stay for the full set instead of leaving to see Kasabian (“you’ll be able to watch them on iplayer anyway!”) worked fairly well. Though the crowd definitely thinned a little towards the end of the set, those that remained were passionate, with many getting on each other’s shoulders for closing track “Under The Storm” and staying to chat to the band after they left the stage.
Saturday’s headliners Kasabian ended the day perfectly by providing the tunes big enough to top the day’s festivities. Whatever your opinion on their music, there’s no denying they know how to put on a show and a festival is the ideal setting for them. They’re not exactly an innovative band, but the huge choruses, bouncy beats and lyrics made for chanting provided the finale the crowd wanted after a day of partying hard and drinking harder.
The laid-back attitude of Friday had well and truly disappeared to make way for a much rowdier crowd for day two of the festival. The glorious weather really added to the party atmosphere and despite the painfully long bar queues, everyone seemed in great spirits. A much more solid lineup than the festival’s first day meant there was always a great band to be heard somewhere on site and it soon became clear that the final day had a lot to live up to.
See our Day One review here.