Saturday could have been the best day of the festival for me. Considering we started our day watching M83 it's not surprising. In spite of the fact that M83 were absurdly performing at 12 in the afternoon, and that they were only given 30 minutes to play, this set was just incredible. Performing as a 3 piece with live drums and a gum chewing, synth playing girl on vocal and bubble blowing duties. The first half of the set consisted strictly of songs from "Saturdays = Youth", while the second half was reserved for lean, abbreviated versions of songs from the older albums. Awesome doesn't begin to describe what went down over the course of those 30 minutes. M83 performed in King Tut's Wah Wah tent, the same stage where most of my highlights for the day would go down. We did make excursions to the Bedroom Jam Futures Stage to see Dinosaur Pileup rediscovering the lost art of 3 piece rock and roll... ... and to catch Of Montreal doing their art-rock-theater thing... ... and to see Metronomy doing their "we could be a band Ben would really like, but instead we're gonna make everything wonky and kak" thing. At least they had giant matching light attachments. But we made sure we were hanging around King Tuts while no one was playing to be as up front as possible for one special act, Friendly Fires. Their self titled debut album was like my 3rd favorite album of last year, and they were probably the band I played out most consistently ever since Chris got me their first single, Photobooth. To say I was excited for their set would be an understatement. To say they were so good my brain exploded and oozed out my ears would be hyperbole, but only just. They were fantastic. Performing as a 6 piece instead of 3, the Fires majorly re-invented their songs. Having an extra bass player on stage obviously freed up the guy that usually does that to run around a bunch, mostly singing and doing a fair amount of percussion. But what really made the songs even cooler than they sounded on record, was the fact that the band were performing with a guest 2 piece brass section. I am so not a brass fan, for every American Football or Sweep the Leg Johnny there have been 100 bands featuring people blowing through things that have just hurt my ears or made me want to puke from cheese overload. I really don't wanna look like I'm hating on the wind instruments here, all I'm saying is Friendly Fires had brass at T and it was an awesome compliment to a seriously fantastic set. The insanity that was the Friendly Fires set, was followed by another band I'd DJed out loads and who'also released one of my top 10 albums of 2K8; Foals. No doubt it had a lot to do with the fact their synth guy's entire set up seemed to be broken. Maybe it was also because they were following up a set as inspired and flawless as FF had just put on. Whatever the reasons were Foals were a bit of a let down. They just couldn't nail the intricate mathy guitar sounds they crystalized on their recordings. Much of the time the songs sounded like lumpy porridge going into my ears, far from the shards of shattered glass I'd heard them as 100 times before. I really don't mean to make it sound like the Foals set was crap. It was totally, definitely in the top 10% of stuff i saw at the festival, just after Friendly Fires it was kinda anti-climactic. The last act we caught on the night was Nine Inch Nails. I felt pretty guilty getting to see them under the circumstances. This would be one of the very last times NIN would ever be performing live in Europe. I've never liked the band much, but having friends that have been total fanboys for more than a decade, I felt kinda like dick witnessing this last ever show in Scotland.
Without having been a fan of their music, I can say it was one of the most intense, engaging performances I saw at the entire festival.
The light show was pretty much the best I saw at T. Incredibly it made use of no colour at all, just warm yellow/ white light. The lighting designer basically assaulted the audience with this massive block of light. The band members (all dressed in black) tore their way through the epic set, with this barrage of light exploding out from behind them. It was amazing.
By the end of it, this is what I looked like:
Face totally melted by over-exposure to awesomeness.
It was a great day.