live review ~ go wolf ~ t in the park festival, kinross, scotland

General outpourings of emotion is a concept not often associated with the people of Scotland. Indeed, emotion as a concept seems to have been disregarded long ago, in favor of stiff upper lips and a barrage of alcohol poisoning. Which leads us conveniently to T in the Park 2014, a festival that seemingly did it's best to refute this history in a show of fireworks, national pride (no doubt fueled by the 'Yes/No' UK debate) and a predominantly Scottish line-up. Thankfully for us, the Northern Irish flag was flown proudly by electronic-pop act Go Wolf, riding the crest of a wave after their recent signing to Brooklyn based label 'Ooh La La Records'

Playing the prestigious BBC Introducing Tent is an honour not to be taken lightly. This is a mind-set clearly shared by CHVRCHES front-woman Lauren Mayberry, who had earlier told a capacity King Tut's crowd that she had 'Dreamed of performing there since she [sic] was a teenager' and had 'attempted to win a slot on the stage for five years', unsuccessfully we might add, before the alt-pop phenomenon of her current band. With that in mind, it simply accentuates the leaps made in recent years of bands and artists from a country that is developing a well deserved reputation for punching well above our weight...

Setting an early energetic tone, Go Wolf's  electronic elements were fully embraced by the Introducing Tent's weathered spectators. Playing early on the second day of proceedings unfortunately hindered the potential of Go Wolf's audience, as the insanity of the rave heavy 'Slam Tent' and it's late night partying rendered many festival goers unconscious until mid-afternoon at the earliest. Thankfully, those who did make the walk to the introducing stage took no time in adjusting to the up-tempo ambiance of the Belfast bands back catalog. Tracks like 'Slow Burn', with it's art-house delicacy and dance invoking rhythms, proved a welcome respite from the  power chord thrash of many other young artists, perhaps floundering slightly under the momentum of the occasion at hand. In Go Wolf's case, any additional pressure added by that iconic BBC logo overhead was instead embraced by the band, as a casual brass solo flew nonchalantly over the boundlessly casual backbeat provided by drummer Stephen Hackworth. Perhaps that should come as no surprise now, considering the attention heaped on them almost from the outset of their short lived careers by outlets like BBC Radio 1.

The 80's inspired pop hooks of 'One More Night' and debut single 'Voices' unsurprisingly had many on their feet and dancing, allowing front-man Scott Jamison and bassist Chris Sloan to relax into the atmosphere they had created. A casual glance into the crowd perhaps reinforcing just how far the founding members had come, since their early days in the back-alley venues of Belfast. If there was one criticism to make of the four piece, it can only be in the glaring omission of fan favorite 'Even God'. Undoubtedly left out in favor of a more festival friendly set-list, the track has for many come to represent the lyrical and emotional pinnacle of much of Go Wolf's history and would have been a welcome finale. Despite the calls from the crowd, even this failed to deny that Belfast's Go Wolf were a worthy representative for the nation.

A quick overview of the bands and artists who've graced the Introducing Stage in years gone by show that, only the best will continue to climb the stages to super-stardom. Co-Headliner Jake Bugg, Tame Impala and The Horrors are just a few of the acts to emerge from the relative anonymity of early-slot shows and break out into the mainstream. Can Go Wolf emulate their success? Absolutely. On this evidence, that early hype is looking increasingly justified.

Taylor Johnson

For all official Go Wolf news, follow the links below.

Official Website

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