With Soundgarden and Iggy & the Stooges
Soundgarden - Hard Rock Calling - Friday

Hard Rock Calling wasn’t going to let a little bit of rain get in the way of anyone’s fun at Hyde Park on Friday. Yes, it rained. Yes, it was cold. But that doesn’t seem to matter when you’ve got a beer in your hand, mud squelching under foot and the prospect of seeing legendary grunge heroes, Soundgarden, live in concert.

They day started off reasonably slowly, with many people possibly opting to finish their working week before heading to the festival. For those that turned up bright and early, Hard Rock Calling did exactly what it said on the tin. Kids in Glass Houses, Red White & Blues and Black Stone Cherry each rocked harder than the last, with big noise and even bigger hair.

Talk of the day was, in fact, Springsteen. The Boss headlines Saturday of the festival and his name was on the lips of many. However, Friday festival-goers had their own rock icon to satisfy those cravings.

Iggy Pop, the first real highlight of the day, didn’t arrive until early evening when Iggy bounded on stage with the Stooges. The impressive energy from the 65 year old wasn’t really reflected in the crowd, with Iggy laughing at one point: “Wake up!” He did his best to grab the crowd’s attention with, amongst many other hits, ‘Johanna’, ‘Open Up and Bleed’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’.

One of the biggest reactions came from a shot of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page watching the set from the side of the stage. “We are the fucking god damn cursed Stooges!” Iggy yelled, stirring up a little more vigour from the audience. Even though he seemed to be limping a tad, he didn’t stand still throughout the whole set, thrashing and thrusting all over the stage. That didn’t, however, stop him hitching a lift from a security guard: “Will you carry me over there? I don’t wanna get muddy.” Fair enough.

Not only were the crowd star struck, but once Soundgarden hit the stage, Chris Cornell took the first opportunity to express his excitement: “We’re happy to be back after fifteen years, and very, very happy to be sharing the stage with the fucking Stooges!”

Soundgarden’s set was an impressive onslaught of hit after hit. Cornell announced that they were playing through all their old records before coming back next year and playing something new. This set of nostalgia mainly focused on albums ‘Down on the Upside’ and ‘Superunknown’ with hits like ‘Spoonman’, ‘Pretty Noose’ and ‘Fell on Black Days’ receiving riotous applause. The rain only added to Soundgarden’s drama. With a downpour starting half way through ‘Black Hole Sun’, Chris Cornell sung “wash away the rain,” but to no avail.

Sound restrictions in Hyde Park meant that the volume could have done with a bit of a boost. Frankly we’ve heard Soundgarden played louder from our angsty teenage bedroom, but it didn’t put too much of a dampener on things. Here’s hoping when Soundgarden come back with new material it’s a return to form, and louder than ever.

Words by Emily Anderton
Photo by Andy Sturmey

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