Festival Review | Calling 2014 – Aerosmith

Calling Festival – Aerosmith
Clapham Common, Saturday 28th June 2014

Re-branded, relocated to Clapham Common and on a smaller budget after sponsors Hard Rock International pulled out, Calling Festival is back after a two year absence, with Aerosmith and Stevie Wonder as the featured acts across the weekend. Fake-Geeks headed down to the Saturday to check out some bands:

Heaven’s Basement A good start to our day at Calling, even if they never quite managed to excite the crowd. Perhaps lacking that one killer song, but a good act nonetheless. 3/5

Radkey – Described as a punk band, Radkey were more pop-punk-rock with lead vocals deep enough to be from Barry White. They were one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing, but there was something about them that didn’t translate so well to a live performance. Maybe their up-tempo, high energy grove command you to dance and bop around, something you aren’t want to do on a wet, miserable afternoon. Or maybe they would benefit more from playing indoors, where their beats can surround you in a more intimate environment. 3/5

Richie Sambora A technically impressive set, but Sambora was perhaps let down by a lack of distinctive, stand-out material of his own. A former lead guitarist and songwriter for Bon Jovi, by several country miles the stand-out track was his cover of Wanted Dead or Alive. 3/5

Thunder A very professional performance from the veteran hard-rockers, laced with good humour from singer Danny Bowes. An enjoyable set passed quickly and Love Walked In was one of the highlights of the day. 4/5

Joe Bonamassa – The guitar virtuoso is obviously a hugely talented musician – and a thoroughly dull live act with a set of endless songs that seem to be stuck on repeat. At home, when you can be doing something else, he can be a joy to listen to, but standing watching his lifeless act was the longest hour of the day. 2/5

Aerosmith – The Bad Boys from Boston concluded their tour with the headlining set at Calling. Very early on it seemed like the tour had taken its toll, as Steven Tyler’s voice was more gravelly and restrained than usual, but, working loose over the opening tracks his voice became as rich as we’ve come to expect and with effortless range.
Ever the showman, Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry lead Aerosmith through an excellent set-list covering big rock ‘n’ roll hits (Love in an Elevator, Dude Looks like a Lady, Walk This Way), fan favourites (Mama Kin, Same Old Song and Dance) and powerful ballads (Cryin, Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing) and for the encore, Dream On is still as beautiful a song as ever – if their choice of a piano intro slightly drowned out Perry’s guitar work, which had been exemplary throughout. 4.5/5

Other considerations:

Food – The widest range this reviewer has ever seen at a UK festival, and of good quality – by festival standards. 4.5/5

Prices – £5 a pint in London isn’t beyond reason anyway, without taking into account inflated festival prices. Outside of beer, cider and soft-drinks (such as spirits) prices did rise sharply though. Food and merchandise prices were in line with other UK Festivals, so not exactly a bargain but as standard. 4/5

Facilities – Mixed. The glamour station (a row of mirrors on the exits from the toilet blocks) is a grand idea; but their simply were not enough toilets, leading to long queues for everyone. Everything else was about on par with other festivals. 2.5/5

 

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