Hard Rock Calling, Hyde Park, London

3.00

Despite Glastonbury's moves ever further mainstream, London's mud-free alternative remains distinctive. Who could imagine Somerset hosting a tent-full of fans crooning "Lifted" by Nineties soul-poppers Lighthouse Family?

Otherwise, the three-day Hard Rock Calling relies on stellar headliners with little strength in depth. On Friday evening a sizeable main-stage crowd ignore impending drizzle and James's more quixotic material to bellow "Sit Down". Kaiser Chiefs unite students and office workers with epic takes on "Ruby" and "Oh My God", while showing a more contemplative bent on their current album The Future Is Medieval. It is best served peppered with metallic heft, as on "Little Shocks" and "Long Way From Celebrating".

Elsewhere, The Kills hone their tense garage grind, before The Killers close the night. The next afternoon, Ray Davies, fresh from Meltdown, fronts a rollicking bar-room band. In good spirits, he reminds us of The Kinks' gritty edge with a little too much of the irascible choir master – "If you don't know it, learn it."

Unsurprisingly, given they boast last year's highest grossing tour, Bon Jovi are the weekend's most well-oiled machine. They are especially formidable with guitarist Richie Sambora back from a spell in rehab, though a near three-hour set reveals limits to their common man shtick: more recent tunes resemble knock-offs of earlier efforts, with "We Weren't Born To Follow" rehashing "It's My Life". Even worse is the eponymous Jon's reinvention of "Hallelujah" as a cock-rock ballad, possibly the worst version yet.

On a blazing Sunday, Adam Ant avoids controversy on his first outdoor set since Live Aid, though weak vocals and a goth-metal backing band handicap the hits. Stevie Nicks, by contrast, is still the beguiling rock princess on her first solo UK date for 20 years. Bar one number, her comeback album In Your Dreams is ditched in favour of injecting hard-won wisdom into older solo rockers and Fleetwood Mac standards.

Later, she joins headliner Rod Stewart for a tepid run through "Young Turks", leaving Ronnie Wood to cut through the supper club schmaltz on "Maggie May" and "Stay With Me". Rod has one eye on an upcoming Las Vegas residency, though such reliability pleases Hyde Park just as well.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea