The View
King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent Friday 9th July 2009
T in the Park, Balado, Kinross

It’s been a day of surprises. First the weather: hot, sunny, cornflower blue sky, the ground so hard you can’t batter in tent pegs, happy queues  and too much choice for a Friday.  Tonight, King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent has been transformed into a quasi football stadium/cathedral.  Half an hour before the entrance of the unpresuming creators, the tent billows with ‘You take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before you’ and  Oasis’ ‘Rock ‘n’Roll Star’.  Flags are waving, barriers are bulging and four men outside are slapping each other.

‘Fuck the Kings of Leon. This is where it’s at!’ calls Pete as they enter stage, scorching the already fierce air with the arching, aching chords of ‘Glass Smash’ which has the crowd calling and reaching for the top of the tent.  Kyle is brandishing a new St. Andrew’s flag style guitar, ripping straight into the riff  which catapulted them far, far away from their hometown three years’ ago:  ‘Wasted Little Deejays’.  Bodies begin to bounce over the barrier but the fury of the songs doesn’t stop.  ‘Five Rebbeccas’ is dedicated by Kyle to his niece of the same name. Their performance is pitch perfect, numbing the jealous sceptics, cynics and critics – largely their own peers.  The fluorescent army of security have a full-on job, freeing broken bodies, stopping the endless surge and producing binfuls of iced war to dish out in paper cups to the wilting frontliners pressing up against the barrier.

But the beautiful aching roar continues with ‘Temptation Dice.’  Bodies are raised onto shoulders,,flags are waving, the audience chanting, the guitars livid. There is a poetic violence about their music: it’s so raw, so alive, so tactile you smell blood, salt, tears. Yet it is put together in such melodic ballads and crashing symphonies, it is above and beyond the mundane.  It has taken the bleak, violent, desperate elements of life in Dundee and rearranged them into poetic classics which anyone from anywhere can understand as the attack on your senses and heart is so immediate.

‘Oggy, Oggy, Oggy!’ calls Kieren (for some reason only known to himself).
‘Oi, oi, oi!’ replies the audience.
‘Alright, T in the Park.  My name’s Kieren. This song’s dedicated to my family: my mum, my dad. Do not worry. Kyle will be back in a minute.’
Kyle has not left the stage but Kieren takes the vocal for the next three songs.  ‘Gran’s for Tea’ is the anthem of most post fifteen year olds in Scotland.
‘Where were you when I needed you?’  This is followed by ‘One off Pretender’: ‘This song’s for the boys in blue’ – another diatribe against the police.
‘Skag Trendy’ finds the whole tent up and pumping the air with fists, crowd-surfing out of control.
Kieren:  ‘It’s a pleasure being here.’  This is followed by ‘Realisation’ which Kieren feels is ‘the greatest song The View has ever written.’
It is hard to disagree with such a claim. From content to structure, it certainly defeats all expectations and boundaries.  The whole crowd goes crazy at this bizarre guitar-led anthem.  ‘Realisation you’re not ten feet tall, realisation you don’t know it all. World domination makes me feel so small. Realisation of it all.’  To carry a simple theme chord in so many ways and so many structures is the work of an Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The tone suddenly shifts:  ‘This is what you’re going to be doing tomorrow!’ is an appropriate introduction to ‘Comin’ Down.’  ‘Wasteland’ is a frenetic pogo feral cry with a complex, iron-smart wit. It seems to be a battle of energies: the crowd versus the band with the poor fluorescent infantry on the frontline between the two.  ‘ Typical Time 2’ is again an example of the unique songwriting which makes The View so special.  How can a couple of verses and simple tune become seared into a collective consciousness?  It’s not the shouting, raging songs which people whistle and sing in car parks or get sampled in umpteen TV programs.  Almost a decade of  cover-playing and songwriting have helped nurture this and next we move into Kyle’s forte and starting point:  the singalong with Reni on piano and Kyle on acoustic for ‘Covers’. 

This is a sweet, cheeky and sensitive song about a relationship and Reni’s harmonies sound realer than Paolo’s.  The crowd are screaming and whistling and then the whole tent is hushed unprompted to silence.  You could (and it really wouldn’t be a cliché) hear a pin drop.  The place is as still and holy as a cathedral when the scoping visionary opening of ‘Distant Doubloon’ starts up.  Kyle and Steven are alone on stage to carry it through and the audience is utterly silent, their breath hung in the air grasping to the sounds and stories about their lives.
‘Metaphors are easy just to talk about…don’t dwell upon your wooden leg, your fucking limp is boring me.’
The audience finally break their muteness with the last line and roar with appreciation.  Kieren brands Kyle the ‘Lord Mayor’ of T in the Park.  Kyle mutters something about wondering why all the birds are waiting about: ‘We’re all skint!’

‘Face for the Radio’ is received by glowing phones and waved lighters, largely sung by the audience, a warm banter followed by the irrepressible ‘Double Yellow Lines’.  There are a few frantic problems at the start of the last song but finally Kyle introduces his big (actually very tiny) sister, Kim Knight, a well-known and accomplished singer and performer in her own right.  Her  strong sweet vocals lilt easily over Kyle’s and the audience embrace both.  The song has a bittersweet rebel heart to it which is the defiance of simple fun and joy over the complications of glamour.  It is a fitting end to the set. The sound is real, thorough and inspiring. But there is too much fun going on for the production team who scurry around, pulling at hair, looking at watches and notepads.

‘We’re running out of time!’ snaps Kieren with a wave of his hand. The band are determined to do an encore so belt out  ‘Same Jeans’ and ‘Superstar Tradesman’ with the same energy and perfection as one hour fifteen minutes earlier.  You get the feeling they could play all night.  Crowd surfers and the yellow coats are in full battle.

The finale, ‘Shock Horror” rips into the blistered air. The torch that was lit four years ago at T in the Park continues to burn even brighter, regardless of critics who’ve forgotten how to clap their hands, credit crunch and other crises.  The undeniable spirit of belief despite all the odds bursts through and slaps it all in the face:
‘I’ll be at the bottom having fun!’

The View prove yet again that they are not easy to fathom, not easy to control and impossible to stop.