Hard Rock Calling Festival: Kasabian rock day one debut at Queen Elizabeth Park
Rewind a year and Hyde Park hosted this festival, Springsteen broke the curfew and the plug was pulled on the sound. To avoid any more moments like this in 2013, Hard Rock Calling comes to east London to mark the first live music event at Queen Elizabeth Park since the 2012 Olympic Games.
The weather finally welcomes in summer and the venue is put to great use. With four stages across two areas joined by bridges over the canal, the park could prove itself to be a fantastic festival space. The main stage area, covered in artificial grass saw revellers camping out in the glorious sunshine from the word go. Live music and sunshine are the perfect partnership!
The Weeks open the main stage with their alternative rock sound and the sound desk showed off an incredible sound system, clear and loud, perfect for the rock acts gracing the stage. Kodaline draw a huge afternoon crowd to the main stage and sound divine. Soaring vocals and inspiring audience dance participation, lifting the spirits of the crowd.
Scottish band The View play to a packed tent at the Pepsi Max Stage, their blend of pop, folk, punk and rock going down a treat. Plenty of dancing on shoulders and hands in the air moments, followed by Tribes who also get the crowd bopping.
Over on the main stage, warming up for headliners, Kasabian, Miles Kane and the legendary Paul Weller play their hits, inspiring plenty of sing-a-long moments. Despite the swelling crowd, many are left queuing for the bars of which there doesn’t seem to be enough. Either side of the stage is flanked with a queue stretching the length of the main arena for most of the day, some complaining of waiting over an hour for a drink. The organisers will have to add a few more bars to stop a repeat performance of this over the rest of the summer’s events.
That aside, the day truly belongs to Kasabian. The legions of fans that sport their name on t-shirts and vests pour into the main arena to catch a show stopping set from the Leicester band.
The main stage transforms to a classy, all white finish and is lit with flashing spotlights throughout, Kasabian look slick and polished. It’s evident that this headliner spot means a lot to them and they tear up Hard Rock Calling with attitude.
Opening with Days Are Forgotten, singer Tom Meighan’s voice sounds better live than on record. Guitarist and songwriter Serge delivers style and he oozes charisma onstage. Meighan is a fantastic frontman, racing about the stage and whipping the crowd into an excited frenzy.
Kasabian deliver a fan pleasing set of all their best material and a few added covers including The Korgis Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometimes and Fatboy Slim’s Praise You. Meighan dedicates the epic Empire to Paul Weller to many cheers and applause. Kasabian’s sound is quintessentially British rock. With more edge than the likes of Oasis or Blur, they rock out and get the crowd rocking out with them.
The ballad Goodbye Kiss provides their own sing-a-long moment before a triple encore of Switchblade Smiles, Vlad the Impaler and Fire. The final track tops off a brilliant set and cements Kasabian as one of the best bands on the live circuit: they start their set with a mission to blow minds and many are blown.
After a day of rock in perfect sunshine, despite thirsty punters, the crowd seem satisfied and raring to go again.
Kasabian’s monster set pleased everyone who didn’t get a Glastonbury ticket this year. Once the organisers have sorted out the bar situation and teething problems, Queen Elizabeth Park should be a comfortable home for outdoor live music in London.
For further information and next year’s dates visit Hard Rock Calling’s website here.
Watch the video for Fire here: