British Summer Time: Green Day/Rancid/The Living End/The Hives/The Damned/Bash & Pop/Jesse Malin – London, Hyde Park – 1 July 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley   
Sunday, 09 July 2017 04:00

Now, I was in a bit of a quandary as to whether to troop up to London and see Green Day or not. Sure, they put on a show but a festival in a field with a bazillion other people and the new crop of 'event goers'?  Then slowly the supporting cast came out: Rancid - sure great band, but seen them a bunch of times – ‘though not in a field. Oh, The Hives you say? Sure, I'll have me some Hives because it's been too long and they'll suit the big surroundings. Then boom! The Damned, Bash & Pop, Jesse Malin, Beach Slang and The Living End. Fuck it… pass me the credit card: I'm in!

 

Green Day BST header

 

I know these events are not to everyone's liking, but a line-up this good just couldn't be missed. Getting in early meant leaving the house at half five in the morning to get to the smoke: passing through tight security was a breeze - something the organisers should be commended upon, as it was easy and the security were mega polite. And wow! The sun is even shining! 

 

Heading straight to the Barclaycard stage just in time for the festival opening act. The one and only Jesse Malin hit the stage bang on 1pm proceeded to knock out a short but oh so sweet 30-minute set of some fantastic songs peaking at 'All The Way From Moscow', before playing a new song from his new EP. Way too soon he signed off with a great rendition of his favourite Clash song 'Rudy Can't Fail'… and then he was gone into the balmy summer haze.

 

Jesse Malin 2

Photo by Dom Daley

 

Up next was Tommy Stinson’s Bash & Pop - now I know it's not the best name for a band, but, hey it's Tommy Fuckin' Stinson for Gawd sake. With a lot of people barely stumbling into the field, it's their loss that they head for the main stage because the real action is going down over here on the Barclaycard Stage, where rock and roll royalty is kicking out the jams, motherfuckers.  The set is light in banter and the band run through the set with consummate ease: its highlight is the days finest tune being aired, in the shape of Stinson's other band Perfect and the brilliant 'Make Me Happy'… boy, it made this scribe happy, I know that for sure. Well played Tommy: that was quality!

 

BASH pOP 2

Photo by Dom Daley

A quick 90 degree turn and it's two minutes to the mainstage because The Damned are on at half two! Yup: Half Fuckin' Two in the afternoon.  Will Vanian be able to finish the set because that sun is getting pretty hot?  Try topping an opening salvo of 'Love Song' followed by 'Nasty'?  No not many, if any, can; then it was a solid romp through the good and the great with the obvious blip that is 'Eloise' - and then to follow it with another cover was a shame considering the songs they could have played: but, I'm being a bit stupid, I know.  The masses couldn't fail to be impressed by The Damned they sounded great (if not a little quiet), looked like they were having a ball and should have picked up a bunch of new fans – so, job done.

 

The Damned Evil Spirits header

 

We were to stay with the main stage, because up next were our European cousins The Hives, who again ran through a superb set of their best and biggest hits. Howling Pelle was his usual shrinking violet self - not! It didn't take him long to have the huge crowd on board as he took the piss out of Brexit. The band ripped through a greatest hits set that was punctuated with Pelle being the perfect host and most excellent front man that he has always been. From 'Lex Hives', 'Come On' to 'Tick Tick Boom', The Hives owned Hyde Park and so far the bands haven't disappointed at all.  Now, how about a new album please gentlemen?

 

The Living End PR photo

Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/thelivingend/

 

After a short refreshment break, we headed back to the Barclaycard Stage for some Down Under rock ‘n’ roll from The Living End… by now the crowd had swollen to a very healthy size as the three piece proceeded to play a “best of…” set with energy and verve that was noticeably well above average.  'Prisoner Of Society', 'Second Solution', 'West End Riot' and 'Roll On' were awesome and Living End had just stolen the best performance of the day award.  Man, they rose to the occasion and absolutely smashed it.

 

If the rest of the day was half as good as what we'd already witnessed, then this was turning into a memorable day of live music, and the fact that 60,000 people were here supporting punk rock and alternative music was testament to its quality and durability. It's just a shame that it was impossible to watch everyone and Gogol Bordello had to be missed, as did SLF and The Stranglers - and we didn't have any time at all to make it to the third stage where we really wanted to catch Beach Slang: but, alas, it just wasn't possible.

 

Rancid

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/rancid/

 

Anyway, Rancid. The sun was still blazing, which was a bit surreal for us Brits, as Rancid dish out a fantastic set of classics (sure ‘Wolves’ was heavily represented, why wouldn't it be?), with the new songs fitting in perfectly. Not that it was particularly fair to ask people to get a circle pit going in that heat - but oblige they did and all around it seemed like pandemonium with the best soundtrack ever.  'Track Fast' was brutal and 'All Fall Down' seemed appropriate.  A healthy dose off the new record was greeted like old friends and Rancid proved to be worthy special guests as expected.  

 

Onto the headliners and a band that has been able to divide the punk rock community (often unfairly)… sure, I got what they were about in the early ‘90s, but they are a very different beast in 2017 - and they totally deserve the adulation and success they now bask in.  Sure they hit pay dirt and superstardom was thrust upon them because they worked hard and wrote great records; sure they had lady luck looking down on them: '21st Century Breakdown and 'American Idiot' blew them into a different stratosphere - but the bottom line was the music was honest and most importantly bloody good. Sure, the constant stretching out of songs gets a bit tough, but remember they are playing to 60,000 in a field with a huge cross section of people: it's not something every band is able to pull off - and on the whole they do a bloody good job. Whether they're playing '2000 Light Years Away' or 'King For A Day', they've never sold out and stayed true to their roots - which is incredible when you dig into what they've been through.  The Green Day machine must be huge, yet they put together the best line up anywhere this summer, bar none – and, like Billy Joe stated, there are some of his favourite band playing today and some of the big bands of the future… and I believe he genuinely means it.  

 

Green Day PR

 

The songs off 'Revolution Radio' sat next to well established classic Green Day. In fact, the highlight of the set was 'Bang Bang', which sounded ferocious.  Sure there were T-shirt cannons and water jet sprays and kids pulled out of the crowd (even ones who couldn't play), but it's what they do and they do it well.  I'm happy to state I love me a bit of Green Day, and the next time they announce a tour I'll happily pick up my ticket and join the masses.  As much as I'm not a big fan of huge outdoor festivals, today was a great day out watching some amazing bands: not one was below par and all rose to the occasion.

 

Right, now all the positive points are out of the way, I have to say that the policy of the front section being exclusive (at a fee), then adding the second level of exclusivity doesn't sit well with me – but, most of all, my bug bear was the PA.  I've heard louder PA's in clubs. The last thing I want to hear at an event is some butes talking about work or how hot it was for their mams’ dogs whilst Rancid are playing or people whinging about the dope smoke during Green Day played whilst noshing a £10 hot dog and washing it down with a £26 bottle of cheap (cough, cough) plonk… But, the volume aside, British Summer Time was a resounding success and I thoroughly enjoyed every band I saw.  Green Day: I salute you: please feel free to come again, because you rock!

 

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