Live Review

Hard Rock Calling 2013

Somerset wasn’t the only home of music this weekend.

Somerset wasn’t the only home of music this weekend. For those of us unlucky, or not quite brave enough to take the Glastonbury plunge, this weekend was also host to a rather grand affair located in the depths of East London.

Following on from a rather tumultuous run at Hyde Park, 2013 played host Hard Rock Calling’s big move, all the way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. A shorter weekend than we’re used to - this year’s was a compact two-dayer, in comparison to last year’s triple threat – it’s also a much more varied line-up. Not often, for example, will you glance two headliners quite as different as Kasabian and Springsteen, but so is this weekend’s charm.

Whilst Saturday’s event boasts a much more, well, lad-rock-esque vibe, it’s contrasted perfectly by the relaxed amble of bluesy rock and roll possessed by Sunday’s performers. You can, however, unearth some different gems across the fest’s three stages. We’re privy to the return of Twin Atlantic – whose mid-afternoon set is a refreshing welcome sandwiched between the likes of Kodaline and Miles Kane. Their first UK performance in a handful of months is undoubtedly a challenge, but their brand of anthemic rock is enough to have even the most cynical audience member swayed by the time they finish up. We’re also treated to two new, but electrifying, numbers which are apparently being performed for the first time, alongside a slew of their greatest ‘Free’ hits.

Hearing the distant sounds of Paul Weller, as he takes to the stage for an audience with many a similar haircut, we’re more allured by what’s going on in the Pepsi Max tent. As Klaxons make another of their somewhat mysterious live appearances – we’re still not entirely sure what exactly they have up their sleeve for the future – their nine-song set serves mostly to get the reasonably sized crowd revved for the stage headliners.

Ten years old and still going strong, The Cribs are in undoubtedly fine form and that’s proven by the rapturous reception that greets each of tonight’s song choices. Opening with ‘Chi-Town’, they quickly blast through the likes of ‘We Share The Same Skies’ and ‘I’m A Realist’, instantly inciting a real feeling of excitement within the crowd. Launching themselves around the stage, the trio’s intensity is palpable as they embark upon a career-long journey in just fourteen songs. Also marking the beginning of their festival plans, their riotous brand of indie rock is invigorating enough to want to watch all summer long.

The following day, we bear witness to a rather special moment in Deaf Havana’s career, as they showcase their newly-expanded line-up on the main stage, before Alabama Shakes make an effortlessly impressive appearance. Leading her band through an array of tracks from their outstanding debut, Brittany Howard is both wonderfully cool and enigmatically talented, her vocals really quite unbelievable throughout.

What is, undoubtedly, the main event of the weekend, however, is the final performance of Sunday. Walking upon stage at just ten past seven, The Boss arrives in his all glory to, once again, shake things up at Hard Rock Calling. Performing for the second year in a row – no one needs reminding of the circumstances in which he left the stage last time around – this year’s set is met with just as much fervour. Emblazoned against the warm evening sunshine, he leads the E Street Band through all manner of classics. Their performance is nothing short of their regular euphoria, as Springsteen leads his crowd in the religious-like experience that they’ve come to know and love.

Split into three parts, we’re at first treated to an array of tracks from latest record ‘Wrecking Ball’ along with a handful of classics, before Bruce ever-so-casually addresses the crowd. “In Wembley, they got ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’, in Coventry, they got ‘Born To Run’, so tonight… you’re getting ‘Born In The USA’.” And just like that, those iconic guitar chords kick in and the whole band launch the entire way through one of Springsteen’s biggest albums.

The effect of such a move is glorious; the singalongs are euphoric and by the time the album draws to a close, and we’re treated to a handful more songs, it’s hard to believe that three hours could’ve actually passed. Yet, as the sun sets and he rounds things off early – a move which could be seen as either good behaviour or a message to the organisers – he draws things to a quiet close; proving that, whether stood afront a massive band, or stood with just an acoustic guitar, Springsteen has the power to champion it all, and leave his followers content for yet another year. Until 2014…

Tags: Features

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY