Not a cloud in the sky as Glasgow buckles under a heatwave for TRNSMT, the first big weekend of the summer. Residents wander dazed and taps aff, refreshed only by pints served at wince-inducing prices, brandishing fans and burning skin.
Appropriate then, that the first thing we hear is Miles Kane cover Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff. Dazzling in light-reflecting all-white, he’s got a neat line in the ironic cover, all Chic guitar lines and beckoning chorus - a perfect tonic in this blistering heat.
For 'Come Closer', the crowd sing along, word-perfect, as Kane jumps and whirls like a dervish. He disappears, then jumps back on the mic for an acapella call-and-response final chorus, lapped up by a feverish crowd.
Then we’re off to Smirnoff House. Crowds of young things, covered in glitter, gather under a canopy of trees as Rebecca Vasmant doles out bangers, and she knows exactly what people want to dance to in the heat.
We swing from Blondie to Sylvester to Chic and Sister Sledge. The crowning moment comes, though, when she drops Ru Paul’s 'Sissy That Walk'. Glasgow gets a lot of stick for being a hard city, and a lot of that’s bullshit, but there’s still something beautiful about watching a bunch of 19-year-old Fred Perry lads go off to a beat created by an iconic black drag queen. My soul exalts.
They’ve put on a proper spread at the Platform area, which is laden with independent food trucks. Full credit goes to Fat Stack’s blueberry pancakes with whippy cream.
By the time Blossoms are on, the crowd’s beginning to fill out. But their laconic, lightweight indie feels too flimsy to stay for. Detour take the school disco route, playing early 00s club bangers – which, let’s face it, are impossible not to enjoy.
It’s a tonal shift then when Interpol, lords of darkness, emerge blinking in the sunlight. A gruff hello, tight and forced, with their trademark suits in place. God, they must be roasting. But something happens when the light falls on this music. It swells and shifts; warms and changes.
A wistful, tender, melodic 'C’mere' kicks off, but 'The Henriech Manoeuvre' lacks sufficiently sharp teeth. 'Rest My Chemistry' plays out in a way that I’ve never heard before, with space and elasticity, verve and tenderness.
Not long till we’re pulling into the final straight, with the unleashing of the big guns: a banging 'Evil', and the insistent, urgent chug of 'Public Pervert'. 'Slow Hands' makes a majestic closer as the sun begins to make its slow descent.
All hail Arctic Monkeys. It’s their only UK festival appearance this year. And, let’s face it, they’re the only band a lot of people are here to see. They roll into 'Four Out Of Five', all aviators and white-suited smoulder, before plunging straight into an incendiary 'Brianstorm'.
From the second they walk out, Turner’s got the crowd in the palm of his hand. He yelps through a serpentine 'Crying Lying', militant drums crashing the song towards climax. Our trip to 'Hotel Tranquillity Base and Casino' isn’t as long as anticipated, with tracks from the new, curveball record peppered throughout a golden festival set.
From 'Arabella' to 'Do Me A Favour' to 'Why D’you Only Ever Call Me' to 'Do I Wanna Know?', we trip the light fantastic through time- travelling fan favourites, whilst the Arctics prove that whilst they’re still the band that we all fell in love with, even if they’re dipping their toes into new musical waters.
They’re off, and with a classic 'Here We Fucking Go' urging, they’re back again. Kane joins (as we suspected he might) exercising his guitar pedals through a classic '505', as the band blast through 'R U Mine', 'Tranquillity Base' and 'Teddy Picker' – possessed with a verve and muscularity I’ve never seen them play with before.
By the time they get to 'From The Ritz To The Rubble', we’re elated but spent, having seen the band of our generation on their most blistering form. The green darkens, the crowd spill out into the cool night.
Summer’s just begun.
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Words: Marianne Gallagher
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