Live Review: Sunday at TRNSMT Festival

By Sara Paciaroni / Pic credit: Jack Dunsmuir

While the line-up for the third and final day of TRNSMT promised a fantastic finish for the festival, the weather did not look as good. However, the rain didn’t discourage the music fans flocking to Glasgow Green to appreciate another day of sensational headliners and talented emerging bands.

After a long walk to reach the box office on the east end of the park and the queue at the entrance, I made it just in time to see the last of The Strypes on the main stage. Despite their youth, the Irish band skilfully blend blues, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet from Cavan, due to play the Garage next October, perform some of their most well-known tunes taken from their three-album discography, including ‘Blue Collar Jane’. They conclude by shouting “Scumbag city blues!”

After a short break, where I indulged in some overpriced tea to beat the cold, I am back at the main stage for The View. The Dundonian band, veterans of T in the Park festival (where they played eight times), boast a solid fan base in Scotland. Obviously, they could not miss Scotland’s brand-new festival and the chance to blow away their audience with their pop-punk tunes, e.g. ‘Tragic Magic’. They mainly play from their 2007 debut album Hats Off To The Buskers, a popular choice, judging from the reactions of spectators of all ages.

Next on are Blossoms from Stockport, drawing a huge crowd to the main stage. The band led by the white-suited Tom Ogden, play their biggest hits including the famous ‘Charlemagne’, ‘Honey Sweet’ and ‘At Most A Kiss’. He then dedicates ‘My Favourite Room’ to all the lonely hearts in Glasgow, in particular to the recently dumped Michelle in the audience, and invites the crowd to boo her ex Chris.

I took advantage of the break between sets to wander around the festival site. Carefully avoiding the mud, I move to the Smirnoff House Stage to enjoy Syreeta’s DJ set, after grabbing food from the countless stalls scattered throughout the park.

I headed back to the main stage to see Twin Atlantic open their set with a rain of blue confetti exploding to the first notes of ‘Whispers’. The band do not disappoint their hometown crowd with an excursus through singles from their four albums. For ‘No Sleep’, from their latest album GLA (the airport code for Glasgow), the band shoot red streamers into the crowd, after Sam McTrusty throws himself into the pit. Twin Atlantic made for a pleasant distraction from the bad weather, as the frontman shouts, “Make noise if you don’t give a fuck about the rain!”, animating the crowd before closing with their most famous song ‘Heart and Soul’.

Two Door Cinema Club bring a dance party to TRNSMT and the crowd love it. The trio from Northern Ireland open with ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’. The audience are entranced from the first few notes. Every song, from the singalong classics like ‘Undercover Martyn’ and ‘Something Good Can Work’ to the most recent ones included in their latest album Gameshow, is welcomed with enthusiasm. Alex Trimble does not fail to address the weather either, mentioning the “beautiful summer day” – but at this point, the revellers do not seem to notice the rain. After the last banger ‘What You Know’, the mood is set for The 1975.

It does not come as a surprise to hard-core fans that Matthew Healy of The 1975 makes a habit of drinking and smoking onstage and turning up topless, but to the mere appreciators of the hits like me, it comes as a shock. I spend the beginning of their set wondering how the frontman has enough lung strength to sing in-between cigarette drags, only to be blown away by the perfection of every song’s delivery. The set-up, an intricate game of lights and perspective illusions, truly amazes the crowd. The carefully-chosen setlist has all the popular hits, like ‘Love Me’, ‘Chocolate’, ‘Girls’ and the concluding tune ‘Sound’, but alternates to skilful technical interludes performed by the other members of the band, and tender ballads, such as the moving rendition of ‘Loving Someone’, a tribute to the LGBTQ+ community.

Cries of “’Mon the Biff!” are raised. A hoard of t-shirts reading “Biffy F*****g Clyro” approaches the main stage after a long wait for the closing headliner and act of the festival. The arena welcomes Biffy Clyro with a roar and the band answer with a spectacular performance of ‘Wolves of Winter’, complete with blue and white streamers that leaves the crowd in awe. The set-up consists of a series of concentric frames of light with big screens at the back projecting breath-taking light shows. A few notes are enough for the audience to recognise every single song and start singing along, adding emphasis to the already bewitching atmosphere of the show.

“We’ve been all over the world this year,” says bassist James Johnston. “It doesn’t take much to see that Glasgow is the best.”

The Ayrshire band are truly amazing on stage and deliver every track with incredible energy throughout the two-hour set. The set list varies from the immediately recognisable rock anthems such as ‘Who’s Got A Match’ (complete with flames coming out of the stage), ‘Bubbles’ and ‘The Captain’, to softer ballads like ‘Re-arrange’, ‘Biblical’ and ‘Many of Horror’, known even to the less keen on the genre.

Simon Neil concludes, “Not to blow smoke up your balls but this is the best show we’ve ever played”, before bringing a close to the festival and to an extraordinary performance with ‘Stingin’ Belle’ and spectacular fireworks.