If you're in London this week-end, there is a lot going on around the Capital. If you love music, your choice is pretty clear: Set sail for Clapham Common's shores and drop the anchor at Calling Festival. Headlining tonight was America's greatest Rock and Roll Band and Rock veterans: Aerosmith. But before this epic show, there is a day packed with great acts.
On the Main Stage, The 3 Dudes opened the show : With bags of energy and confidence, Sam, Jack and Roger Ploch are the three teenage brothers behind the 3 Dudes. They sang their main title Superheroes, as well as cover such as Blur's Song 2 amongst other titles.
Running towards the Pepsi Max stage, Chantal Claret is performing. She is very happy to be part of Calling Festival and surprises the crowd: witty, funny, cursing at times, and a voice to die for. What a performer! In the middle of her performance, she sang in the middle of the delighted audience, a song dedicated to the dads called "The pleasure seeker". She also included more recent songs like "Bite your tongue" and Light it up". Dancing, making faces, jumping, Chantal Claret pleased the crowd throughout her performance and felt very honored to perform at the Calling Festival as Aerosmith was the first act she saw on stage.
Where to get a bite to eat? Calling Festival provides an impressive choice: from Thai food, to Mexican, with Crepes, or Strawberry and cream, It will satisfy all tastes and wallets. We opted for Saul's Hog Roast for lunch but Mrs Gauthier offers a mouth watering menu as well. For a sugar treat, Churros Garcia is a very popular option as festival goers are queuing all day.
Back to Main stage for Heaven's Basement: the lead singer, Aaron Buchannan has a great engagement with the crowd and even shyly attempted a handstand supported by some daring fans. They don't hold back in their performance and are also very humble. Throughout the show, the crowd was smiling, jumping, dancing. I really enjoyed the song "Nothing else to lose" and will follow this band from now.
By the time Radkey is ready to start, It is raining quite heavily but the crowd keeps the spirits high and wants to listen the three brothers from Missouri. Dee, Isahia and Solomon Radke a.k.a Radkey are listed amongst the bands to watch by the Guardian. Even though their style is more grunge or 80s hardcore than rock, the vocals are far from metal. Dee Radke has a punk crooner tone. Check out some of their powerful songs like Romance Dawn or Cat & Mouse.
Heading back to Pepsi Max Stage for Tax the Heat: I have been told and read that this is a band to watch! Four smart-dressed lads producing ballsy rock music. The venue is fully packed by fans but also festival goers looking for a shelter who won't believe their luck finding this gem of a band. Alex Veale wowed the crowd with his amazing vocal range and energy. He also cracked jokes between songs like Fed to the Lions or Caroline. There was a queue waiting outside Pepsi Max Stage; all of us were charmed by these boys from Bristol.
On my way to the Main Stage, There is a group of women celebrating a Hen Do. They chose the Calling Festival as the perfect event because the bride-to-be is an avid fan of Aerosmith. They had matching outfits and tshirts made for this occasion.
On the Main Stage, Richie Sambora is performing. Wearing very tight red trousers, a leather vest and a red leather jacket, Richie charmed his fans as soon as he arrived. He performed some classic songs of his last album Aftermath of the Lowdown but the highlight was the long guitar solos and instrumental performances especially from guitar queen Orianthi Panagaris.
Another highlight of the day was Thunder. A lot of fans travelled from around the UK to Calling Festival to see them perform. As they were about to start, a ray of sunshine reappeared as well and more people seemed to have joined the event. Danny Bowes really engaged with the crowd. Everybody was singing, clapping in unisson. Some songs generated gasps or screams like She's so nice. The last song "love walked in" was the crowd pleaser and closed the show on a high note.
Now back to Pepsi Max Stage for Walking Papers. The venue is already full with the crowd clapping and screaming. The American band from Washington was introduced on stage using a Enio Morricone track with castagnetes. Each member of the band was announced but the crowd really went for it when Duff McKagan arrived on stage. Even if Walking Papers were formed in 2012, Benjamin Anderson, Jeff Angell, Barrett Martin and Duff McKagan are experienced and recognized musicians that don't need introductions. The crowd was excited and screaming wanting more songs.
Heading back to the Main Stage, I only had the time to watch the end of Joe Bonamassa's performance. His blues voice, guitar solos and amazing musicians surrounding him never disappoint. The Jezabels, Lonely the Brave, Toseland, No Hot Ashes and Yellowire completed today's line up! The crowd was getting bigger, tightly gathered opposite the Main Stage and our minds were now focused on Aerosmith. The weather was also playing up but the sun came out three minutes before Aerosmith came on stage. We enjoyed a pink sunset over Clapham Common tonight and everybody was happy and excited.
Photo courtesy of Calling Festival
The veteran 5-piece rock band arrived on stage to rock Clapham Common. They.Steven Tyler's entrance was epic arriving on stage dragging his microphone stand. Wearing leather pants, leather vest and animal print scarves and shirt he wowed the crowd with his psychedelic dance moves and flaunting his scarf in the air like a bull fighter and his cape. Opening the show with "Mama Kin", the crowd already at their feet. Before starting "Love in an Elevator", Steven Tyler used the camera close up to do a massive burp. The tone is set! After Joe Perry's "Oh Yeah", we all started singing "Cryin" during which Steven played the harmonica and used his leopard scarf as a headband. When did he have the time to do that? Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, a.k.a the Toxic brothers showed us that music is about friendship and a group of mates making music together. Their voices did not change over the years and are still harmonious and powerful, their songs timeless and ageless. The Demon of Screamin' went down and sang with lucky and hysteric fans "Same old song and dance". During "living on the Edge", Steven invited his friend Richie Sambora to sing along as he was in the crowd. The biggest crowd pleaser was "I don't want to miss a thing": Everyone from front row to back of the park was singing and smiling. They decided to perform a song from the Beatles "Come Together" a la Aerosmith! The cover was amazing, followed by "Dude looks like a Lady" and "Walk this way", which made everyone dance in the park. we thought it was the end but Aerosmith came back for a beautiful piano version of "Dream on", Joe Perry playing the guitar standing on the white piano. the very last song was "Sweet emotion" with a big finale with confettis and Steven Tyler with fluorescent face paint. Aerosmith are always the band who deliver the goods and tonight was no different. I was seduced and overwhelmed by the generosity and energy of this band who are still eager to give an epic show and entertain the fans. They get so much love and respect but it is nothing compared to what we lived tonight. Everybody left smiling, singing, dancing from Clapham Common and it was all because of these Bad boys of Boston.