T in the Park review: Frank Ocean, Main Stage

Picture: Greg Macvean
Picture: Greg Macvean
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While his Odd Future compadre Tyler the Creator was cursing his own stage set-up over at the Slam Tent, Frank Ocean may well have had similar grievances with his placing on the Main Stage.

As any T veteran knows, the crowd at the festival’s biggest arena wants one of two things: the hits, or the kind of spectacle that can make amends for lack of said hits. Ocean could provide neither, but this is no criticism of him.

The LA-based New Orleans native’s darkly introspective, minor-key R’n’B is more attuned to end-of-the-night, post-party consumption than being the soundtrack to the party itself. And so the crowd is sparse and only dwindles as his set progresses.

But for anyone who has been listening to his debut album Channel Orange on regular rotation since its release last year, it was a joy to hear Ocean delve into its shimmering, murky depths.

Boasting an extremely talented backing band, Ocean’s remarkable range - one minute he’s cynically skewering consumerism on ‘Super Rich Kids’, the next he’s up in falsetto heaven on ‘Thinkin Bout You’ - means his shape-shifting future soul sounds as astonishing as it does on record.

He opens with a series of tracks from his greatly anticipated second album, before turning back to recognisable cuts from his debut, of which the rasping synth of set-closing epic ‘Pyramids’ gets the best response.

It’s a superb performance on the wrong stage, and it’s plain to see that Ocean shares this view, keeping any mid-song chat to a minimum and casually dropping his microphone to the floor as he exits.

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