Blessed with blue sky and a warm breeze, the doors have blissfully swung open on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for Hard Rock Calling 2013! The park itself is a festival virgin; this being the first festival staged on the site since the sporting triumphs of last year.
Touching down on the main stage were The Weeks. Fresh from supporting Kings of Leon these Mississippi guitar slingers wasted no time in breaking out big choruses and some trademark southern cries of “OooooHhhhhh”.
Opening the Pepsi Max stage was London-based four-piece Vuvu Vultures who effortlessly proved why they are building such a cult-like status as a live band. Standing directly under a red, pagan-like trio of V's symbol is the gamine and impossibly skinny front woman Harmony Boucher, who demands your full attention. Her melodic vocals sit shamelessly on top of distorted guitar and a thudding bass to produce a uniquely intense and meaningful dark pop. Their final song, and one they seemingly didn't expect to play, was haunting and intense - and sounded like Sinead O'Connor wailing over a Pixies track. Tastemakers take note.
Cruising on over to the Hard Rock Rising stage we encounter Josh Weller. Observantly he notes, it sounds quite rude. Erection jokes aside, Josh got underway with his new single 'I Forgot to Tell You You're Beautiful’. Josh “I've got a hard rock rising” Weller is a natural performer who seems to enjoy every minute, without needing to even try. High energy and with an even higher barnet, he clearly has more highs ahead. So much so, in fact - and somewhat annoyingly - he is an incredibly likeable guy. A talented Mr. Nice Guy.
Prior to Hard Rock Calling we’d heard whispers of the mysterious talent that is Warren Cahill. With the bar on the Hard Rock Calling stage set suitably high by Mr. Weller (Josh, that is!) Warren was set the unenviable task of following. But Warren Cahill, wowza! The talent in that chap's finger tips is something else, with a completely inimitable slap-flick style of guitar playing. This was no gimmick and his cover of ‘Born Slippy’ was something to behold.
Elsewhere, Brighton-based outfit Dark Horses look like they should all be in different bands, but thankfully sound perfectly unified from the very first note. This enigmatic bunch make mysterious music which takes you to a different place and leaves an indelible mark. This spiritual lo-fi indie will not be forgotten in a hurry. Polished psychedelia never sounded so good!
Saturday has plenty more in store. Stay tuned for more news and reviews!