Hardwick Live Festival 2018 | AUGUST 2018 | Hardwick Hall Teeside
By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)
Set in the vast grounds of Hardwick Hall Hotel the annual Hardwick Live festival this year spread itself over two days. This was the first time I had been to the festival and I have to say it really impressed me! The one down side, for me that is, is its location there’s a lot of walking even before getting to the entrance and although it’s through a beautiful woodland setting it’s crippling if you’ve got any mobility issues.
Once through the gates the discovery stage was already in full swing with Beth Macari and her band belting out a set of soul, funk and pop which Beth’s voice suits perfectly adapting to each style with ease. Next up on the same stage I caught a bit of Wild Front with a very good indie pop-rock vibe I can see these guys moving up the bill at fests in no time at all Off down the field to the main stage for Lucy Spraggan and even at this early stage in the day the arena has filled nicely and she is given a great welcome and rightly so as her songwriting has an honest quality telling stories everyone can relate to!
A quick sit down and then back to main stage for Jake Shears and I have to say this was the revelation of the day!! Yeah, I expected an energetic showman having seen him with Scissor Sisters but this was off the chart !! Start to finish he never stopped he must have completed a marathon in the space of the hours set !! A brilliant performance of high energy pop with a fantastic backing band (featuring Mr Hudson on bass and My Morning Jackets drummer). The crowd absolutely loved it especially when he pulled out Scissor Sisters hits Laura, Take Your Mama and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing in between songs from his solo album!
Ash are up next and once again prove why they are still around and being invited to perform at festivals far and wide as well as headline tours ! Everyone ( who isn’t a big fan ) thinks they know only a couple of songs until they start belting them out Goldfinger, Kung Fu, Shining Light, A Life Less Ordinary, Burn Baby Burn all received like long lost friends Orpheus reminds me of just how heavy a riff they can write and of course Girl From Mars just causes uproar!!! Tim Wheeler still looks like he’s not long out of school and Mark Hamilton still wields his bass like he’s having an epic light sabre battle. Rick Murray completes the trio keeping the beat perfectly and reminding everyone just how good these three are together.
There’s just no way to review Vintage Trouble and convey how good they are live in just words and pictures. Hell, even the albums don’t do that and they’re great!!! They’ve toured the world opening for the biggest bands of our time and every gig they just have that crowd in the palm of their hands! The mix of rock, soul, gospel and showmanship all come together and get you right where it counts!! Ty Taylor is the perfect frontman not only does he have the moves and THAT voice but also the ability to connect with every single person in a crowd no matter how big it is putting his trust in them crowd surfing from the sound desk to the stage and frequently joining them from the stage. But the music is as it should be too BLOODY GOOD!! Blues Hand Me Down and Nancy Lee never get Old and the new songs aired today are destined to be fan favourites in no time.
A quick hobble back to the Discovery stage to catch part of Nick Pride & The Pimptones set and the band is already in full swing with their mix of jazz funk and soul. Latest singer Eliza fits right in with the boys and it’s clear to see she sees herself as a band member and not just a guest vocalist! They are so tight and together but what comes across most is they are having a great time and a lot of fun up there.
Headliners Kaiser Chiefs have a big job in front of them; following VT but they take the challenge head on coming out in front of a huge KC neon sign and lights blazing straight into Everyday I Love You Less And Less. Ricky Wilson kept up the day’s theme of energetic frontmen bounding about the stage leaping from the drum riser etc throughout the set to an elated audience. Ruby & I Predict A Riot are the obvious massive crowd pleasers but they keep the tempo high all the way and also throw in Pinball Wizzard for good measure!! I had to set away towards the end of the set to make sure I could actually walk back to the coach stop but had an absolute blast of a day Such a shame I had to miss the second day with a line up of PIL, Echo and the Bunnymen, Feeder, Happy Monday’s and more . Next year I’m booking a room in the hotel!!
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow
View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library