Love Music Hate Racism, Britannia Stadium, Stoke

Rock against racism – the comeback

Imagine Donna Summer turning out for a "Rock Against Racism" gig in the late Seventies. That is essentially what we had in Saturday's line-up in Stoke-on Trent, which brought in former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland standing up against the British National Party.

The "Love Music Hate Racism" campaign claims descent from those Seventies pioneers who brought together reggae and punk. In the Nineties, the flame was passed to the Manic Street Preachers and The Levellers, while recent carnivals have featured Belle & Sebastian and indie-friendly rapper Lethal Bizzle.

Now, though, LMHR feels more like a Radio One roadshow, with a younger, more exuberant crowd.

Stoke City football club was certainly showing its more welcoming side, at a ground that earned a fierce reputation as the Premier League's most intimidating. Some 20,000 kids had the run of the stands and even the dugouts from where managers harangue their teams.

Pete Doherty brought with him a couple of dancers once he sauntered on late, insouciance personified. At least he managed to show; for two previous anti-racist gigs he was either arrested or imprisoned. Now two winsome girls in tutus performed ballet moves to "Last Of The English Roses", a highlight from solo album Grace/Wastelands.

This is an acoustic diversion for the ex-Libertine, and while on record he sounds more focused than in a long time, live he undermines his often beguiling lyrics with vague, slack delivery. He lost concentration for "Down In Albion", just about managing to shout out to Hanley and Newcastle (presumably the nearby Under Lyme), yet still maintained the ability to charm, closing his abbreviated set with the number that any fan would want to hear today: "Time For Heroes".

There were sops to festival veterans. The Beat's ska punk remained as spikey as ever, though in the New Beautiful South the acerbic wit of Paul Heaton was sorely missed. Alison Wheeler was in vibrant form on "Don't Marry Her", but Dave Hemingway sounded bashful showing off the hits under the beating sun. The Clash's Mick Jones, brought his latest project The Rotten Hill Gang, a pseudo-Victoriana gang in waistcoats and top hats that meld rap, soul and, from Mick, some primitive Keith Richards riffs, with a distinct lack of tunes.

Beverley Knight cemented her reputation as one of our best soul singers. The most memorable part of her set was not her own material, but a lung-bursting take on "Piece Of My Heart", felt and heard throughout the stadium.

Then Rowland showed immaculate vocal control, introducing her numbers with acapellas before the heavy R&B backing tracks kicked in. While Beyonce gets the O2 and Barack Obama, her former band-mate exuded pleasure at a Saturday afternoon in the Potteries.

Accompanied only by her two dancers and a DJ, Rowland's sound is less intense than Beyonce's booty-shaking thrills. Better than the simpering "Dilemma" is a full-blooded house number devised by David Guetta.

We were left as headliners with Reverend & The Makers. This also-ran outfit are led by gobby Sheffield chancer John McClure, who came to fame on the back of the Arctic Monkeys' recommendation. Supposedly inspired by poet John Cooper Clarke, live he instead relies on generic punk-funk rhythms, successfully at least on the rousing "Heavyweight Champion Of The World". He did, though, suggest: "You should be proud of where you're from" – which seems a reasonable grounding for grassroots activism, and Stoke certainly did its bit this weekend.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine