With a stellar line-up at optimum configuration, TRNSMT Festival numero uno rocked, come rain or shine.
You were never too far from a “here we, here we, here we fucking go” when you were stood on Glasgow Green for the first ever TRNSMT festival. Held from the 7th-9th July 2017, TRNSMT was the new Scottish music festival to replace T in the Park, boasting headliners including Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro.
Day Two – Saturday 8th July 2017
The sun was shining as we made our way into the city centre before the day of festival-ing, having driven all the way up to Glasgow from Bath on an epic road trip to Dougal’s Airbnb. We stopped off for some breakfast and spoke to some eclectic locals during a rugby match and visited a very glamorous Spoons with an old-style cage elevator – not in use of course, with the sorts of heathens you get in Spoons. After visiting another local joint full of old men, The Old Ship Bank, we headed to the green.
Circa Waves kicked off the festival for us, and what better way to – no festival is complete without this band providing effortless summer ‘T-Shirt Weather’ vibes, which they ended on of course. They played a mixture of their older and newer stuff, providing us with that breezy indie rock and then the heavier elements of Different Creatures. Lead singer Kieran Shudall telling us “it’s gonna be ok” over and over again didn’t hurt either.
Grime artist Stormzy came next and all I can remember are ‘Shut Up’ feat Ed Sheeran’s vocals and ‘Big For Your Boots’, but his boundless energy on stage was infectious. Then, The Kooks provided effortless cool, with lead singer Luke Pritchard looking sharp and taking us through the classics ‘Always Where I Need To Be’, ‘She Moves in her Own Way’, ‘Ooh La’, ‘Naïve’ and newer bangers like ‘Bad Habit’. Gorgeous singalongs followed with George Ezra‘s chilled-out set. He was lapping up the sunshine and the festival vibes with a great big grin on his face.
Pegging it between sets to the girls’ portaloos that were, of course, in the opposite direction to the Main Stage would be my only gripe of the weekend. We got back just in time for Catfish and the Bottlemen and vowed to wait it out for Biffy Clyro when the time came.
Bar Biffy, Catfish may have been the highlight of the festival for me. They could have quite easily topped the bill the way they packed out Glasgow Green around the stage. The crowd went mad and sang along to every song of the indie rockers’s setlist, equally taken from their albums The Balcony and The Ride. Van McCann owned the stage and got up to hijinks with the rest of the band. He sang ‘Glasgow’ with the crowds which was pretty special, with whoops from the audience erupting every time Sauchiehall Street or Glasgow got a mention. Van didn’t need to have climbed onto the top of the speakers for their trademark finale ‘Tyrants’ – they were already leaving on a high.
Hanging back for Kasabian’s performance, ‘Fire’ still managed to spread to the peripheries of the sardine-packed audience after a set boasting all their many hits. Begbie himself even made an appearance, with Robert Carlyle watching on from the side lines.
Depleted, we headed into the city centre, buzzing with festival goers, for a much-needed end-of-the-night takeaway. We passed the columns of the GoMA, the Glasgow City Chambers and wandered through George Square before finding Laquila – the place had it all. You know a takeaway is good when it boasts fish and chips, pizza, pasta and burgers on the sign, right? Well, the larger-than-our-face-pizzas and small talk with the locals were well worth the trek there and back across the river to our Airbnb.
Day Three – Sunday 9th July 2017
The heavens opened for day three (our day two) of the festival, giving Glasgow Green a whole new atmosphere that wasn’t unwanted after the heat of the day before. Fuelled by Greggs sausage rolls, we headed back to Glasgow Green, stopping off at The Old Ship Bank again on the way, only to find that the festival goers had wiped out all the shot drinks they had – unless it was the old men who had downed all those Sourz.
Catching the tail end of indie-pop group Blossoms, which of course meant ‘Charlemagne’, we headed further into the crowds for Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic. Lead singer Sam McTrusty strutted about the stage and clambered onto the barriers during their colourful set, complete with Sam’s striking red and white outfit, red streamers and raining confetti. Their high-energy performance was gearing us up for the rest of the night.
The weather only got worse for The 1975’s and Biffy’s sets, but they were perfect in the rain. A topless Matty Healey took us through The 1975’s pop hits that included ‘Somebody Else’, ‘Chocolate’, ‘The Sound’ and a beautiful rendition of ‘Loving Someone’. At one point, he got the crowds cheering for the Scottish bands playing that day, “Twin Atlantic”, he paused for applause, “Biffy Clyro”, he paused for an even bigger applause, before ending on “and your favourite band, The 1975!”. I still don’t know whether he was egging on the proud Scots or not.
After chatting with a couple of locals in the drinks queue on the Saturday about Biffy Clyro and hearing that Biffy were just “too Scottish” for them, it was comforting to hear the alternating chants of “here we, here we, here we fucking go,” and “Biffy, Biffy, Biffy fucking Clyro” from the loud and proud Scots as we stood waiting, wet and bedraggled, between sets. Everyone was tired but spurred on by the anticipation of what was to come.
Following the trend, a collectively bare-chested Biffy let rip with their visceral rock, one year on from their latest album release, Ellipsis. Fire, streamers, flashing light displays and fireworks punctuated songs while wet and sweaty madness reigned in the lyric-perfect crowds. Mosh and rowing pits made an appearance throughout the set that featured ‘Wolves of Winter’, ‘Biblical’, ‘Black Chandelier’, ‘Friends and Enemies’, ‘That Golden Rule’, ‘Re-Arrange’, ‘Medicine’, ‘Mountains’, ‘Many of Horror’ and a much-needed four-song encore that included ‘Folding Stars’ and ‘Stingin’ Belle’ feat. that bagpipe solo. While songs like ‘Bubbles’ had everyone tearfully screaming at the top of their lungs, songs like ‘Who’s Got a Match?’ provided the mayhem, and by the end of it you were feeling nothing but euphoric.
Tired but exhilarated, we wandered back into the heart of the city to Glasgow’s O2 ABC for Twin Atlantic’s DJ set via the mural of The Big Yin, aka, Billy Connolly. All I remember is a lot of dancing, and when our feet were tired, and we were propped up on the curb outside the O2, an Uber was swiftly ordered to our location – we were propped up on Sauchiehall Street.
TRNSMT Festival returns to Glasgow Green this year from 12th-14th July 2019. Tickets are available here.