BST Hyde Park - The Strokes, Beck, Future Islands

BST Hyde Park - The Strokes, Beck, Future Islands

by jessicajolly / Jun 19, 2015 / 0 comments
Thursday, 18 June 2015

BST stands for “British Summer Time”, and the weather paid off the name perfectly. The Hyde Park festival commenced with a glorious London evening, as the sun set behind 65,000 fans dancing away to Britain's best loved American act of the 00's.

Age and sobriety have taken nothing away from Julian Casablancas. In fact, it's given him a precision that makes for an unshakable performance. He still has demons to battle, as evidenced by the angry faces he pulls as he howls through his back catalog. He's as tormented as the day he wrote “Take It Or Leave It”, and every person in the crowd shared that frenetic energy when the Strokes ended their set with that final tune.

The band was on fire, performing each track with jukebox-like accuracy and a musicians passion. I saw them in the early days in NYC, when the mystique of the band almost overshadowed their songs. But seeing them now, after the sun has set and the media has moved on, it gives us the ability to truly love the material. The setlist included numbers from each of their 5 records, and hearing them all mixed together live, you realize just how consistent they were at pumping out great tunes.

Before The Strokes took the stage, Beck treated the festival-goers to a light, California Sun-soaked set of hits. At age 44, the pasty blond looks exactly as he did in the 90s. (We'd like to order a jar of whatever unicorn fetus filled Scientology face cream he's using.) He vacillated between somber songs like “Lost Cause” and funny old dittys like “Loser” without a hiccup. A particular highlight was when he teased us with the high notes in “Deborah”, leaving mid-way through the track as though we were the disposable girl in the story.

Earlier in the afternoon Future Islands performed to a gathering crowd, that was shockingly small, most likely because they began before most people's work days had finished. Their set was stellar, and those attending Glastonbury next week are in for a treat at the Other Stage. Some have surmised that the band's breathtaking performance on Letterman was a mere trick of the tv and the band may be on the road to one-hit-wonder status. I disagree, and feel that they will be on the track to “next big thing” after they win over Britain in Somerset next Sunday.

Given the success of the first night of BST Hyde Park, we feel the UK is in for a fantastic festival season.

Rating out of 11: