T in the Park: Top 5 retro acts

NOW entering its 19th year, T in the Park has become one of the leading festivals in the music calendar. Balado in Kinross is expected to welcome around 85,000 fans for this year’s festival, which sees the return of Madchester darlings The Stone Roses, a debut Scottish festival date for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and a ‘homecoming’ gig for a number of Scottish artists including Amy Macdonald, Calvin Harris and Simple Minds.

However, with a lot of the focus on raw up-and-coming bands, or internationally renowned artists such as David Guetta or the Swedish House Mafia, we’ve chosen to look at five bands who have been around for more than a few years.

The Stone Roses

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How could we not look at the return of the Madchester quartet after a 15-year absence? Known for songs such as Waterfall and Fools Gold, Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni are due to headline at T in the Park on Saturday, and have spent part of this year playing a few warm-up gigs. Rumours of a bust-up following a concert in Amsterdam, where dummer Reni appeared to storm off stage before the band were due to play an encore, turned out to be greatly exaggerated, with die-hard Roses fans only too aware of the band’s history and reputation for being awkward characters.

Their inaugural T in the Park headline slot looks set to eclipse their now-legendary appearance at Spike Island in 1990, as their reunion combined with mass appeal is sure to attract thousands of fans.

Did you know?

Ian Brown initially played bass in the band, but an early gig which saw him take over vocal duties for their final song whilst a roadie filled in on bass convinced him to switch roles. Brown later sold his instrument to buy a scooter and went on to front the band, with his stage presence and larger-than-life personality making him the perfect frontman.

Where and when?

Main stage, Saturday 7 July

Recommended listening: Fools Gold

New Order

Borne from the ashes of Joy Division following Ian Curtis’ tragic suicide, New Order are best known for marrying New Wave with electronic music, with 1983 single ‘Blue Monday’ a perfect example of the band’s ‘signature’ sound. Cited by many bands as a great influence and inspiration, the band has split up twice previously, but returns to T in the Park in a third incarnation. Bassist Peter ‘Hooky’ Hook might have left the band, but Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert remain from the original line up.

Hits such as ‘True Faith’ and ‘Thieves Like Us’ have remained timeless synth-pop gems, and this year sees the band playing at T in the Park for the first time since 2005.

Did you know?

Whilst in Joy Division, the band made a pact not to continue under that name should the lineup change. Apparently, the remaining members were seeking a name following the death of Curtis whilst manager Rob Gretton was reading a newspaper article, headlined ‘The New Order of Kampuchean Liberation’. Gretton then suggested ‘New Order’ as a band name. Sources allege that ‘The Witchdoctors of Zimbabwe’ and ‘New Order’ received two votes each, and it was only Peter Hook’s refusal to participate in a band called ‘The Witchdoctors of Zimbabwe’ that rescued the band from a rather unfortunate name.

Where and when?

Main stage, Friday 6 July

Recommended listening: True Faith

Shed Seven

There’s no mistaking that riff at the beginning of ‘Dolphin,’ from Shed Seven’s 1994 album Change Giver, a song that epitomises the band’s sound. It’s perhaps a little unfortunate for Shed Seven that they emerged at the same time as Oasis and Blur, who went on to enjoy significantly more success in the Britpop genre. That said, 1996 saw them amass five top-40 hits, with ‘Going for Gold’ reaching #8, remaining their most successful hit to date. A handful of gigs since reuniting in 2007 after a four-year gap have drawn dedicated and sizeable crowds, suggesting that the band’s appeal lives on.

You might also recognise the band’s single ‘Speakeasy’ due to its re-emergence as a jingle for mobile phone retailer The Link. The Yorkshire band first appeared at T in the Park 17 years ago - before the festival had moved to its new home at Balado Airfield.

Did you know?

It’s an unusual name, but the reasons behind the band’s moniker are varied. The most popular (or believable!) explanation is either that some members of the band, growing up in the railway hotbed of York, used to play games in railway shed number seven or that the band were returning to York by train, and noticed a railway building called Shed Seven. We like the first explanation for nostalgic reasons, but it’s more likely to be the latter reason - or something equally straightforward.

Where and when?

Main stage, Saturday 7 July

Recommended listening: Dolphin (live)

Happy Mondays

Discovered whilst performing in a ‘battle of the bands’ contest at Manchester’s infamous nightclub of yore, the Haçienda, Happy Mondays released their debut album in 1987, the impressively-titled ‘Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)’. Three years later, ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’ was released, to great acclaim, spawning the single ‘Step On,’ viewed by many as one of the defining ‘Madchester’ sounds. Formed by Shaun Ryder and brother Paul, the ‘Mondays successfully fused indie pop guitars with sounds more suited to the house and funk genres. Incredibly, the band has managed to split up and reform four times, with Shaun Ryder announcing on Xfm Radio in January of this year that the original lineup would be reforming and playing some of the UK’s major festivals.

Did you know?

Dancer and percussionist Bez has been formally declared bankrupt twice, using some of the money he received after winning a series of Celebrity Big Brother to pay off his debts. He also put a sum of money towards customising his London taxi.

Where and when?

Main stage, Sunday 8 July

Recommended listening: Step On

Simple Minds

Starting out life as an uncompromising punk band (calling themselves ‘Johnny and the Self-Abusers), Simple Minds - named after the David Bowie lyric from ‘Jean Genie’ - have been on the go in some incarnation or another since the late seventies. Peddling a sound not too dissimilar in parts to New Order, Simple Minds are best known for their hits ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’, which appeared on the soundtrack to the John Hughes film ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Alive and Kicking’ and ‘Belfast Child.’ The band, fronted by Jim Kerr, have released 15 studio albums, as well as a handful of live and cover albums. Along with Kerr, Charlie Burchill is the only other original member, with the others having joined the band at various times since the early 1980s.

Did you know?

Simple Minds were not the first choice to record ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’. The song was offered to Billy Idol, Bryan Ferry and Cy Curnin from The Fixx before Steve Schiff, one of the song’s writers, suggested the Glasgow band. Simple Minds initially rejected the chance to record the song as well, before changing their mind following encouragement from their management team. Bizarrely, the band refused to acknowledge what turned out to be one of their biggest hits for years - it reached number one in the Netherlands, Canada and the USA - eventually putting it on a ‘Best of’ album in the early 1990s.

Where and when?

Main stage, Friday July 7

Recommended listening: Don’t You (Forget About Me)

• For further information on T in the Park, see the official T in the Park website.