Saturday at TRNSMT

Glasgow Green, Glasgow

Jonathan Geddes

four stars

MEET the new festival, same as the old festival. Of the three days at Scotland’s newest event, Saturday veered closest to the past traditions of T In The Park, with indie rock guitar bands all over the place. That meant there was a cohesion to the main stage line-up that worked nicely, rather than jamming some disparate acts together.

Still, it was a pleasure when Stormzy emerged for an afternoon slot on the main stage, partly because he at least offered something different. Not totally different though, given that he managed to kick-start perennial crowd chant favourite "here we, here we, here we f****** go” within about five minutes. A relentlessly energetic performer, he carried himself like a star. By the time he fired through his version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You and a closing Shut Up he’d provoked not just chanting but a full on party.

Earlier the main stage had seen Circa Waves try to prove there’s life in the indie template yet, with hummable tunes that are easy to casually pump a fist to while wandering across the grounds, and T-Shirt Weather seemed particularly fitting given the sunshine.

The weather didn’t aid every band. Brighton outfit Yonaka tried hard on the King Tut’s stage, but their melodramatic rock felt like it should be in a darkened club, not a sun-soaked stage. Perhaps they’d have fitted the Jack Rocks tent better, which instead offered up Judas, a band who seemed like a "Now That’s What I Call Driving Anthems" record made human. Such straightforward rock could do well, but was very predictable. Their set was eclipsed by some of the Scottish acts. The Van T’s go from strength to strength with each display, and a snarling Laguna Babe and a Fun Garcon that was full on pop banger were stand-outs in an alt-rock showcase from a band growing in stature.

George Ezra is a likeable bloke with nice tunes, but his appearance clashed with not one but two of Scotland’s most exciting acts, going head to head in an unfortunate twist of fate. Gerry Cinnamon’s name was being chanted long before he arrived at King Tut’s, and he could have read the phone book and still been greeted rapturously. His words carry authenticity, his songs are consistently catchy and bigger stages await. In contrast Medicine Men’s groove-heavy tunes are perfect for small sweatboxes as opposed to wide open spaces and the Glasgow quartet were on fine form inside the tent, with the fizzing Krautrock toned finale Into The Light one of the weekend’s finest tunes.

As evening arrived, there was time to spy Catfish and the Bottlemen, who’ll be headlining festivals soon enough. That is a dreary prospect, because their meat and potatoes indie rock carries the predictability of a lazily scripted Scooby Doo episode, even when they drop a bit of Bruce Springsteen in. Much better were the LaFontaines. Frontman Kerr Okan might have given Stuart Murdoch a run for his money in the cheesy patter stakes, but the band are a genre-defying party machine, cherry-picking rock, rap, pop and funk. A thumping King and swaggering Release The Hounds oozed confidence, with a sea of fans up on their pals' shoulders by set’s end. When Okan spotted one youngster up there he told him that gigs wouldn’t get any better. That’s a stretch, but they were great fun.

That left Kasabian to wrap up the Main Stage. As safe a bet as you can get for festivals, there was never any Radiohead-esque debate over what they might play. This was going to be the hits, big anthems for communal sing-a-longs, celebratory dancing and pints being chucked. That is exactly what was delivered, albeit with a few sound wobbles early on.

The group’s co-frontmen, Tom Meighan and Serge Pizzorno, know how to work the crowd, and the setlist smoothly motored along, from You're In Love With A Psycho’s fleet-footed pop to a jubilant Club Foot and impressively visceral Empire. They aren’t as one-dimensional as some critics’ claim, however they do temper any experimental ideas with whacking great big football terrace choruses. Yet it is undeniably effective, especially in settings like this, and on L.S.F and Fire they delivered the chantable finale required.