Music reviews: TRNSMT Sunday | Wilson Dixon

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TRNSMT Sunday

JJJ
Glasgow Green

On the third sweltering day in a row at TRNSMT, the longest queues were for fresh drinking water and the most-prized spots were in the shade by the pretty street food glade and the rowdier DJ shed.

Not quite the right environment, therefore, for a number of the Main Stage acts for whom daylight, let alone sunlight, appeared to a foreign concept.

The manicured Britrock of Nothing But Thieves chuntered along like an annoying but well-meaning friend intent on expending energy while the rest of the world relaxes. New York indie rockers Interpol, who generally wear any colour as long as it’s black and only come out after dark, were reliably driving and pseudo-intense; great, if you like that sort of thing.

Despite frontman Tom Ogden’s requests for some factor 50 suncream, Stockport quintet Blossoms’ inoffensive indie pop was reasonably well suited for a summer’s day, mildly recalling better bands from The Las to tonight’s masterful headliners.

Over on the King Tut’s Stage, there was enthusiastic home support for local indie rockers Fatherson, who got stuck into their moment with strong, controlled vocals from Ross Leighton, who was able to cut loose without resorting to the pained wailing of a number of his peers, and was rewarded with arms aloft in the crowd for the superficially stirring numbers.

Norwegian pop starlet Sigrid is the BBC’s Sound of 2018, which might go some way to explaining why a line-up so stuffed with supposedly bright young things could sound so uninspired. You can only work with what you’ve got, right?

In a set of perfunctory pop, the breakthrough hit Don’t Kill My Vibe passed for a stand-out track. Sigrid herself was confident and likeable but, through no fault of her own, suffered an Arctic Monkeys-induced exodus at the appointed hour.

TRNSMT have scored big in securing the only UK festival appearance this year by such a rightly revered band. Their new album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, has been a relatively divisive release though the fuzz guitar-infused loungecore of set opener Four out Of Five was happily devoured by the hungry masses before the band assuaged any concerns this might not be a “proper” festival set by ripping through a brace of their early funny ones from Brianstorm and Don’t Sit Down ’Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair to the headlong Teddy Picker.

Matt Helders provided a drumming masterclass on Pretty Visitors, but inevitably most eyes were on magnetic frontman Alex Turner, who was at his most seductive when in pleading, interrogatory mode on Why Do You Only Call Me When You’re High?, Do I Wanna Know? and RU Mine?

However, the introspective falsetto croon of Star Treatment was not the most arresting way to retake the stage and, even with the frenzy of I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor and a guest appearance by Turner’s best bud Miles Kane on a climactic 505, this was overall a somewhat muted comeback by stellar Monkeys standards.

Fiona Shepherd

Wilson Dixon

JJJ
The Stand, Glasgow

Nine years have passed since Wilson Dixon last performed in the UK. But time moves slowly in Cripple Creek, the Colorado backwater where the pitch-perfect country troubadour pastiche resides.

Notwithstanding a fleeting reference to Donald Trump and his wall-building mania, Kiwi comic Jesse Griffin’s enduring alter-ego might be performing at any time in the last quarter century, so timeless are his sorrowful tales of women trouble and faux-enlightened, philosophical musings.

Which rather invites the question of why he’s returned? For The First Time Again feels like an intermediary show rather than a comeback, the songs artful and entertaining parodies, if lacking in variety, the monologues dryly witty without ever truly surprising, the overall result one of gentle, meandering amusement over a late afternoon hour.

Even behind sunglasses, Dixon emanates a soft, understated charisma, his easy good humour and wry equanimity making him pleasurable company, albeit with an almost lullabying, soporific tendency. More subtle than say, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Rich Hall’s jailbird take on the country inclination to self-pity, he’s also less memorable.

Though Dixon himself is progressively right-on, his family and surrounding culture are less so and he mildly rebukes the inbred ignorance around him, safely mocking some stereotypes by reinforcing others.

Strummed ballads like That Thing You Do, Please Don’t Do It ostensibly chart the course of love gone bad, but invariably take the chance to pick apart some well-worn aphorisms and the enterprise of homespun wisdom dispensing.

All but neglecting to address America’s seismic recent changes, this feels like an opportunity missed to develop an established character.

Jay Richardson