BST Hyde Park – Pearl Jam REVIEWED!

It’s a busy London Saturday, the tube is hotter than satan’s armpit, but we’re on our way to Hyde Park for BST today… let’s go.

As we head into the arena via the south entrance, we’re filtered straight into the VIP area which is a tree covered shady sanctuary in the heat, along with a few food carts, a bar and an ice-cream truck. It’s a small area but it’s quite cute and has nice loos.

On the way into the arena we hit up the merchandise stall for t-shirts, and there are some incredible Pearl Jam art prints on sale – specific to this event, a really special and interesting merchandise option. They even helpfully have a heap of tubes so you can transport one home safely/let your child use it as a lightsaber. There’s also a little bandstand stage here called ‘The Birdcage’ and absolutely heaps of food choices and water refill points. So far so good!

On the Great Oak stage, Dublin-based singer-songwriter Imelda May is a vision in flouncy Victorian mourning dress. She has such a dynamic stage presence and a stunning voice, we thoroughly enjoyed the Meatloaf ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ cover, and hope to see her on many more festival bills in the future.

Punk rock fury from Petrol Girls on the Birdcage feels particularly prominent after the last few weeks in world events, and it’s pretty great to see them pull a decent crowd of young faces – punk has always existed as a call to arms, and we need it back more than ever.

Welsh rockers James & The Cold Gun give us that shoulder-to-shoulder sticky-club-floor teenage rebellion feeling, very fun but ever so slightly strange in the setting of belting summer sun under the light of a dappled tree canopy.

Elsewhere on site the South London Samba Band hit that sunshine beat with utter perfection, they are absolutely full of energy, which spreads into the crowd around them in the form of some very questionable but joyful dancing. After all of that, it’s time for a drink, and wow are you spoilt for choice here at BST. The bars are shipping containers all made up to look like a row of Santa Clara Cuban restaurants, colourful and interesting with enough different serving fronts to ensure there’s never a horrendous queue.

As we take a walk around the back of the arena, the presence of advertising partners is pretty overwhelming compared to other festivals. Maybe it’s a London thing, or the fact that it’s a small space, but it’s a bit of a bombardment. Having said that, some of it is quite sympathetically done, like AmEx giving out free water bottles and tote bags (as well as access to cold water filling stations, and the option to go into a private rooftop viewing area) seems quite welcome on such a hot day.

Around the corner there is another bar area which looks like something pulled straight from Snow White, a faux beamed pub called ‘The King’s Head’, then there’s the florally adorned Hard Rock area which directly overlooks the Rainbow stage. The Hard Rock Shop is obviously full of their own merch rather than BST stuff, but next door they’ve brought a sample of café items to an indoor food stall, surrounded by roadie cases of BST-relevant memorabilia, like you would see in the real Hard Rock Café. We took a peek at Eddie Vedder’s signed wetsuit, Elton John’s Union Jack biker jacket, and a choir robe signed by Mick Jagger. Oh and, it’s shady and cool in there. Magic.

©Michael Fung for BST

Up next on the Giant Oak we see the iconic Johnny Marr (of The Smiths fame) powering through a fabulous set with his vibrant yellow guitar. It’s a mix of works from various eras of Marr’s musical career – ‘Spirit Power and Soul’ is epic, but honestly the thing I’m most excited about – is getting to hear my favourite Smiths songs sans unavoidable Morrissey bullshit. Johnny sings them well, ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ and ‘How Soon Is Now’ have the entire arena singing along, and ‘There Is a Light, That Never Goes Out’ is so upliftingly, I suppose canonically bright.

During a small break, Marr notes someone standing in the front section on their phone and snarks “I hope you’re texting ‘Johny Marr is a fucking bad-ass’” we all laugh, as the person in question red-faces it to the cameras. “It feels good to be doing this again after all this time, and to see your lovely faces” he tells us, before dedicating his last song to Pearl Jam for inviting him.

On their very own stage in the corner, the chaos creators themselves, arbiters of festival mischief since the dawn of time, The Cuban Brothers – are pied-pipering the hell out of BST. As their set begins with Kengo on the mix, Juan Erection throwing shapes and as he noted to all the kids ‘Uncle Miguel’ brandishing a hosepipe at the crowd. There’s something very comforting about seeing them back on the festival scene, albeit sans iconic brother Archerio who retired last season.

Yelling “I’m gonna pump some gas into you in the correct fashion” Miguel is as much of a bawdy menace as ever, I love it. He manages to cheekily forget that tonight is Stereophonics not last nights’ The Pixies… “I don’t keep an eye on who’s supporting us!”, sing us a verse of Even Flow and get us all to chant ‘Boris Is a Dickhead’ in the space of about 15 minutes. We’re treated to old school hip-hop, Kengo on rollerskates, Juan doing crazy flips and Miguel yelling “Goodbye Boris you narcissistic fucking clown!” which honestly, is just excellent fun. I’ll never not want to see The Cuban Brothers at a festival.

©Lou Morris for BST

Up next, Stereophonics on the Great Oak stage. As someone who listened to a lot of Stereophonics as a kid but not much since, I don’t know that I was expecting too much from them. A bit of nostalgia sure, but maybe not greatness? Happily proven wrong, Kelly Jones’ voice is still grittily excellent and they give us the most epic tour of the classics that we want to hear.

“It’s nearly 30 years to the day I first saw Pearl Jam, supporting Neil Young at Finsbury Park…” says Kelly, before joking that they themselves only have an hour to fit in 25 years and 12 studio albums worth of music to fit in.

‘Bartender and the Thief’ is followed by ‘Hanging On Your Hinges’ but it’s the likes of ‘A Thousand Trees’, ‘Have a Nice Day’ and ‘Pick a Part That’s New’ which really hits you in the memories. The wistfulness for the optimism of the early noughties is ripe for twanging that emotion string, things definitely feel heavier this side of a global pandemic.

‘Just Looking’ flows into closing track ‘Dakota’ with the band squinting into the still scorching hot sun to say “Thank you, it’s been amazing… have a brilliant time tonight!” before leaving to rapturous applause.

We decide to check out the dinner offerings before the main act, and it is absolutely peak London in here. Truffle burger? Bhaat? Steak frites? You got it. Wash it down with some Perrier or a can of Pinot? We chose paneer wraps and churros, both of which were excellent. Festival food has come a loooong way, and I am grateful.

Ⓒ Sandra Sorenson for BST

The heat haze is still shimmering over Hyde Park, the arena is suddenly packed with warm bodies, and every face is turned towards the Giant Oak stage for tonight’s headliner, Pearl Jam.

There mega lighting rig above the stage reconfigures to a honeycomb style backdrop as the band take to the stage to a huge roar from the crowd. Then 10-Club VIP area at the front is definitely the best perk of the upgrade packages, as they get a full close up of Eddie Vedder emerging to The Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’, and images of themselves plastered on the giant wraparound stage screens above.

Without a huge amount of fanfare, the band rolls straight into the first song ‘Corduroy’ and its clear that Eddie’s voice, and the band as whole have lost absolutely none of what made them famous in the first place. It’s as raw and powerful an intro as I’d hoped for. “…hope this night goes nice and slow, we’re so grateful to be here and do it again, we’re gonna try and play everything we didn’t play yesterday” Vedder says, and having looked at yesterday’s set-list already – I know we’re in for a very special and unusual set. ‘Why Go’ is one of my favourite Pearl Jam songs of all time, and it seems I am not in the minority, it absolutely sets the crowd ablaze, with people singing and dancing all around us.

We slip under for ‘Deep’ which is crushingly heavy, another Ten hit, followed by Vedder lamenting on how damn hot it still is this evening, when he notices a situation unfolding in the crowd. It seems like someone needs assistance and Vedder directs medics into the crowd saying “…make a little tributary, everyone clear some space’, making sure the music doesn’t start again until they’re safely out. With the 2021 Travis Scott/Astroworld situation making for very bad headlines last year, I take great comfort that most artists out there do take concert safety seriously, and notice what is happening at their shows.

Not only this, but the well-known and expected outpouring of political and moral opinion by the band is also welcome – we stan a band who use their platform to raise awareness, to comment on what is happening in the world. Eddie talks about gun violence in the US, and about how it affects his family, in relation to track ‘Garden’ which he explains is about tombstones in a cemetery. Following this “…a song [they] wrote and performed with a legend, Neil Young. Tonight we play with another legend, Manchester’s own Johnny Marr” for ‘Throw Your Hatred Down’. It is nothing short of epic to see these legends grace the stage together, this is an unforgettable rock moment.

‘Do The Evolution’ showcases the bands unmistakable delight in playing live, the energy is infectious and seeps into the crowd – contrastingly heavy, under the rainbow pastel summer skies of London. Van Halen tribute cover ‘Eruption’ is fittingly brilliant, and out in the front row the camera pans across a young lad with a “1st Row” sign, dances along as Eddie uses his plaid shirt as a cape for ‘Black’ and manages to snag himself one of Eddie’s tambourines, I am intensely jealous of a child.

A second tributary mention goes to the late great Taylor Hawkins, and is dedicated to his wife and children by the band. ‘River Cross’ is another thoughtful dedication to the people of Ukraine, and as the lighting rig snakes and changes to slither over them, the band drop into arguably their most famous song ‘Alive’. Hearing this live, is a full body experience, the ridiculous bone shaking power that this song has over everyone is absolutely wild. If you didn’t love it, I’m sorry to say, there’s something wrong with you.

Closing out with The Who cover ‘Baba O’Riley’ wouldn’t have been my number one choice to be sure, but adding in a return from Johnny Marr and Andrew Watt, I can’t deny it’s pretty special. It’s been such a different and varied set from last time I saw them, many moons ago at Leeds fest 2006. Grateful doesn’t even cut it – how lucky are we to be back outside after the absolute shitstorm of the last couple of years, witnessing something like this?

Live music isn’t just fun, isn’t just entertainment, or diversion. It’s the lifeblood of what it means to be humans with shared experiences. Pearl Jam tapped into that reservoir tonight, it was clear on so many awed faces leaving the arena. Thank you BST for making sure this happened, despite every setback.

Open’er Festival Review 2014

Set in a military airfield base Open’er Festival is spread across 4 days hosting an array of international artists along with some renowned Polish bands. Uniquely set up, the festival has everything laid out on the edges of the site, leaving plenty of space to relax and explore. Taking full advantage of it’s airfield location, the festival showcases all sorts of entertainment from fashion shows to the silent disco in the elusive bunkers, and if bunkers don’t appeal to you then you can choose between the festivals five stages to listen to your favourite bands. 

The best thing about most European festivals is that they don’t start until later in the day, so if (like me) you’re a tourist from another land, you’ve got time to explore what the city has to offer. The free shuttle bus service runs every few minutes, so no long waits to get you to and from the site! The journey into Gdynia city centre takes around 15 minutes and once in town it’s a 10 minute walk to the beach from where you can explore the town or simply relax on the beach.

Arriving on site I was greeted by a number of food and drinks outlets along with an official merchandise outlet. Sponsored by Heineken the festival has plenty of beer on tap, but if Heineken isn’t your chosen tipple then there are other options including Desperados and Guinness, both on tap along with a wine stall. The downside is that you can’t drink alcohol near the stages. Restricted to the food and drinks court, you can sip on a pint whilst listening to your favourite band from a distance. It’s not all bad as it not only keeps the site clean but also invites you to spend time in other areas of the site.

The main stage, also known as the Open’er stage is where the headliners perform, and to kicks things off on day one was Interpol. Playing to an energetic audience they started things off with Say Hello To The Angels, followed by Evil, C’Mere and finishing their set with Slow Hands. And whilst Interpol were finishing up their set Metronomy were taking to the tent stage. Making my way to the tent I was greeted by I’m Aquarius, followed by Reservoir and The Upsetter

Next up on the Open’er stage were The Black Keys who played a stellar set of songs from all of their albums including their earlier hits Strange Times, The Next Girl, to their latest track Fever. And if that wasn’t enough they came back on stage for an encore and finished with Little Black Submarines and I Got Mine. Closing day one was Haim on the tent stage and Foster the People on Open’er. It wasn’t long into Haim’s set when members of the crowd began shouting out ‘Marry Me’ to which the band members responded with ‘yes, we’ll come to Poland to find our husbands’. Playing all the hits from their debut album they ended with The Wire and Let Me Go. And as the sun settled over the airfield Foster the People ended day one with an hour and a half performance including Best Friend, Coming of Age, Ask Yourself and the much loved summer track Pumped Up Kicks

Photo courtesy of

Day two saw the likes of MGMT, The Afghan Whigs, Jaguar Ma, Rudimental and headliners Pearl Jam take to the stages. Paying tribute to the late Bobby Womack The Afghan Whigs covered the classic Across 110th Street. 

Pearl Jam were by far the highlight of the night with a 23 strong song set list starting with Better Man followed by Even Flow, Jeremy and Alive. Pulling in the biggest crowd Eddie Vedder did not disappoint leaving the crowd hyped up and wanting more.

A tough headliner to follow, the penultimate day saw Jack White headline, but not before Foals played an impressive set which provoked an equally impressive mosh pit. Buzzing from their electric performance I headed straight to the Alter stage to check out newcomers Royal Blood. The duo, aided with just a drum kit and guitar sent the crowd into a frenzy, and if their show is anything to go by then these guys are the ones to watch out for. 

Playing songs from his new album Lazaretto, Jack White kicked off his set with High Ball Stepper, and for anyone wanting to hear some track from The White Stripes then you were in luck as he rocked out to Icky Thump along with Seven Nation Army. The night came to an end when Lykke Li entertained the crowd. Unfortunately her set was suddenly cut short, but not before playing hit single Gunshot and I Never Learn.

Photo courtesy of

The fourth and final day at Open’er did not disappoint. Saving the best headliner to last – Faith No More. But before they took to the stage The Horrors opened the main stage, pulling in the smallest crowd. Unimpressed with their set, revellers flocked to the Here and Now stage to check out Hip Hop artist Pusha T, who delivered a much more energetic performance to a small but content crowd.

Debuting two new songs on a white stage filled with flowers, Faith No More were victorious in their headline set, returning for an encore that included Failing To Pieces, Matador and We Care A Lot. And whilst the rockers had pulled in the largest crowd for the whole weekend Bastille entertained an equally modest crowd on the Here and Now Stage covering TLC’s No Scrubs and ending with Pompeii

And for those that could pull themselves away from Bastille and head to the tent were greeted with an extra long set from Warpaint. Rounding off this years Open’er festival was Phoenix who played an electric set including hits Lasso and Rome.

I left Open’er feeling very content that I’d witnessed some of the most amazing acts, consumed enough Heineken to last a life time. This festival is all about quality music and it shows, here’s hoping thats next years line up will be just as good!

MGMT, Foals, Rudimental and more join Open’er lineup

Joining the Open'er line-up are the ever exciting, live champions Foals and the UK’s premier live dance act  – Rudimental. The new electronic Beat Stage will also have its inaugural year, hosting only the best in international talent with Julio Bashmore as the first DJ/producer for the lineup. 


A sold-out concert and their reputation for an ever exciting live show meant that Foals simply had to return to Open’er festival. The band came onto the UK musical scene in 2007, when they met David Sitek, the founder member of TV On The Radio, which led to him producing their debut album “Antidotes". On 2010’s “Total Life Forever”, the band moved in a different direction, this also marks the first occasion that they brought their tunes to their Polish fans at Open&'er 2011, playing a show so intense that the guitarist's fingers started to bleed. In October 2012, Yannis Philippakis, Jack Bevan, Jimmy Smith, Walter Gervers and Edwin Congreave announed the title of their following release.  "Holy Fire” which was released early last year. With its release, NME announced that  "the Oxford art-rockers cast off their spiky, mathletic shackles and head for the big league", and The Line of Best Fit simply called it Foals' "masterpiece".
There's a strong history of the studio pioneers of British dance music becoming household names in Poland; from Basement Jaxx to Groove Armada, Massive Attack to Chase & Status. The hottest new collective making their mark are the East London quartet Rudimental. With support coming from the likes of Zane Lowe, The XX, Mistajam and Fearne Cotton, they're set to dominate dancefloors and airwaves in the coming months. Adding to that, Rudimental have been nominated for three awards at this year’s Brit Awards: Mastercard British Album of the Year, British Single – „Waiting All Night” feat. Ella Eyre, and British Group. Their debut “Home” went platinum in the UK. It comprises songwriters and producers Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden and Amir Amor, together with DJ Locksmith. Rudimental play the newly founded Here and Now Stage.
Julio Bashmore
Julio may have appeared to have burst onto the scene in late 2009, but the lead up to his eponymous EP for Claude VonStroke's highly influential Dirtybird label was essentially a lifetime in the making. Over the next three years, he rounded off a string of stellar EPs and singles on an array of labels. His vital eclecticism was showcased in his mighty contribution to the Essential Mix series on BBC Radio 1 at the end of the year. Bounce to blissed-out Garage of "Footsteppin", lose your mind to his Mosca remix, or turn out the lights for "Batak Groove" and you'll realise, simply, that it's just something you feel. He did 3 cuts on Jessie Ware’s debut album, including ‘Running’ and ‘110%’, and Ware returned the favour with guest vocals on a version of “Peppermint”. With fresh music for his newly imprinted label Broadwalk Records and a debut album coming in the next months, this might be the most incredible year for him. 

Pearl Jam to headline Rock Werchter

t may have been a long courtship, but the love they share with festival friends at Werchter is more intense than ever. It wasn’t until 2006 that Pearl Jam played on Belgian soil for the first time, at a sold out Sportpaleis in Antwerp. And a year later the American band finally played Rock Werchter. Next year they will take to the festival’s main stage for the fourth time. Pearl Jam headline on Saturday 5 July. And they’ll be giving a full show. Pearl Jam are planning just 11 shows in Europe next summer. They’ll play at only 2 festivals – Open’er in Poland and Rock Werchter. It will be a fine reunion.

Pearl Jam

These days the best marathon shows are given by U2, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam. The UK’s Q magazine recently gave Eddie Vedder & Co. 5 stars for a concert in New York. Above all, the music magazine praised the almost homely welcome they gave the fans. Pearl Jam combine the energy of fledglings with the blessings of twenty-five years’ experience. They are superstars who play like it might be their last concert. Not one note too many, furious and compelling. Constant touring has perfected the band and given them a huge and fanatical following. More than 20 years after the magnificent ‘Ten’ (1991), Pearl Jam is still very ‘Alive’. In that time they have sold about 60 million albums. Did you know: ‘Lightning Bolt’ (2013), the tenth studio album, was their first number 1 in Belgium.

Now confirmed for Rock Werchter 2014, we have Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Jack Johnson, Major Lazer, Metallica, Pixies, Placebo, Skrillex, The Black Keys and Triggerfinger.

Pearl Jam to headline Polands Opener Festival

Open'er is proud to announce that it's second headliner for 2014 is Pearl Jam.  The rock music legends will join fellow headliners The Black Keys in Gydnia, Poland at one of Europe's best music festivals in July.  Pusha T has also been confirmed for the festival.

Pearl Jam announced today that they will embark on an eleven-date European tour in June and July of 2014. The band's summer tour kicks off on June 16th in Amsterdam, NL, and wraps up on July 11th in Milton Keynes, UK, including just two festival headlining slots (including Open'er Festival on July 3rd).

Pearl Jam released their much-anticipated tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt, on Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records on October 15, 2013 in the United States. Internationally, the album was released on October 14, 2013 and distributed by Universal Music Group International. Produced by Brendan O’Brien, Lightning Bolt marks Pearl Jam’s first studio album since the highly acclaimed Backspacer, which was released in September of 2009. 

Pearl Jam to headline Isle of Wight Festival 2012

Also added to the bill are The DarknessFeederProfessor GreenWretch 32, Loick Essien and Clement Marfo & The Frontline. Tickets are available NOW from for what is sure to be a weekend to remember.

Pearl Jam sold more than 15 million copies of their first two albums, leaping from obscurity to superstardom and will now take the headline slot on Saturday 23rd June at the Isle of Wight Festival2012. Responsible for popularising the Seattle grunge sound and style, Pearl Jam continue to combine guitar-heavy Led Zeppelin-influenced songs with Eddie Vedder's charismatic impassioned vocals. This will be a UK Festival exclusive and so make sure you’re there to witness what will be an unbelievable performance!

Pearl Jam

 The truly eclectic line up will see British glam rock band The Darkness take the headline slot in the Big Top on Sunday 24th June closing the Festival weekend. The band, who reformed this year are renowned for their elaborate stage performances, so expect a show you won’t forget in a hurry. 
Since they started releasing records fifteen years ago, Feeder have never been far from the charts or strangers to the stage. After a crowd pleasing performance in 2008 the band will open the Festival’s main stage on Friday 22nd June.
On Saturday 23rd June, Hackney boy Professor Green will bring his slick rap lyrics to the atmospheric Big Top. After recently celebrating success with the number one single ‘Read All About It’,Professor Green comes to the island for a not to be missed performance! Joining the Big Top bill is one of the biggest music success stories of 2011; Wretch 32. Sure to wow the crowd with tunes such as the chart topping, ‘Don’t Go’Wretch 32 is the perfect addition to the Isle of Wight Festival line up.
Loick Essien came to music almost by accident and now brings his sophisticated, smooth, accessible British urban soul style to the Big Top  on Saturday 23rd June.  Next up is Clement Marfo & The Frontline, whose inimitable sound comes from their deft ability to fuse hip-hop, grime and rock and pop in a brilliantly idiosyncratic fashion.
John Giddings, the Festival’s promoter, says‘Pearl Jam completes our American trilogy for this year. They have been on our wish list for a long time and we are proud for them to come to the island for the first time. Meanwhile we intend to provide plenty of other entertainment in the Big Top and Garden Stage starting with contemporary urban entertainment of Professor Green and Wretch 32.’
The much-loved Isle of Wight Festival is one of the most important dates on the summer calendar and a truly remarkable weekend of music and fun. Taking place across three stages festivalgoers can expect unmissable performances from artists including; Tom Petty and The HeartbreakersBruce Springsteen & the E Street BandElbowNoel Gallagher’s High Flying BirdsExample,Noah & The WhaleThe Vaccines, Madness, and The Christians.  More acts will be announced soon…