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
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
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.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?