TRNSMT | Glasgow Green | Star rating: ****
Whether by accident or design, TRNSMT held over its best line-up for its final day of almost freakishly sun-drenched festivities. Local rising star Lewis Capaldi, a self-styled “chubby guy singing sad songs”, was almost apologetic about bringing down the Main Stage mood at an early stage in proceedings.
Capaldi is well on his way to greater success, certainly in front of his home crowd, where his winning self-deprecating humour contrasted with the banality of some of the songs.
Lost On You was typical of his sound, which tends towards middle of the road piano balladry delivered in the gruff soul style of Paolo Nutini.
Edinburgh singer Nina Nesbitt sauntered on for a low-key guest slot ahead of her own headlining set on the King Tut’s Stage which also hosted the sultry indie rock of Juanita Stein, frontwoman of Sydney’s Howling Bells, the rock’n’roll antics of fellow Australians Gang of Youths and Glasgow indie rockers Catholic Action with their freewheeling garage songs about Paisley accommodation and bold cover of Television’s See No Evil.
Back on the Main Stage, Friendly Fires’ funky indie with bonus brass section for added tropical flavour was a great late afternoon tonic. The band celebrated returning after a six-year hiatus with a lovely rainbow confetti shower before the other FF - Franz Ferdinand – generated the first real fuss of the day with fans flocking into the Golden Circle, the prime festival real estate in front of the stage.
By Franz standards, this was not a peak performance but by any other barometer, it was still the best set of the day, with frontman Alex Kapranos temporarily relieved of his guitar to throw some shapes and keyboard player Julian Corrie presiding over the supremely danceable newer songs in a set also stuffed with deathless favourites such as Take Me Out and This Fire.
Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry was representing in her Girls Can Do Anything t-shirt. Her band’s pure synth pop has expanded to an epic, at points pulverizing sound now that they are no strangers to stages of this size but in doing so the trio, now supplemented by a live drummer, have picked up some of the hollow anthemic traits that populate many a festival bill these days.
There was no point competing with The Killers for pomp. The Las Vegas band continue to embrace the flashiness of their home with a colourful display of neon signs, but also nodded to their hosts with a couple of Scottish cover versions, pounding through The Waterboys’ classic Whole of the Moon and the softer Side by Travis, and an impromptu guest spot on drums from audience member Tony.
Frontman Brandon Flowers is a gentleman thief, nicking sounds and styles from David Byrne, Bruce Springsteen and Bono, plus late 70s industrial Bowie on set-opener The Man. Meanwhile, the band hammered away behind him to deliver, in the adopted vernacular, a “proper belter” of a set, before heading to King Tut’s to play a midnight show in the 300-capacity venue where they made their Glasgow debut in 2004.