James: Kenwood concerts off to a rocking indie start
- Credit: Courtesy of Heritage Live
The first weekend of live concerts saw 25,000 music fans partying in the grounds of Kenwood House.
After previous year's events were cancelled due to Covid or wet weather, it must have been a relief to organisers Heritage Live to see unmasked crowds enjoying themselves in glorious sunshine.
The opening festival of indie rock on Friday threatened to be derailed when issues with the stage meant two bands - The Sherlocks and Cruel Hearts Club had to be cut. Fans were held back from the front arena until the closing number by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.
But by the time Maximo Park had warmed things up, and The Charlatans took to the stage, all was forgiven.
Sporting a peroxide mop and the kind of anorak that passes the fashion baton from Madchester to Liam Gallagher, Tim Burgess was in fine voice, delivering a short but sweet crowd-pleasing set. The organ riffs of early hit The Only One I Know were the perfect soundtrack for the summer evening and clearly all that yoga and meditation is doing Burgess good - he's looking lithe and relaxed for a man in his mid 50s.
Headliners James have always been an uplifting, dynamic live act and Tim Booth reminded audiences that he first joined the band after being spotted dancing in Manchester's students union bar as he rocked out - looking as though he'd raided the city's fashion emporium Affleck's Palace for his flares and Afghan coat.
It soon came off as he surfed the crowd and shared the love during a set that left out several best known hits but still got fans singing along to Come Home, Sometimes, Say Something, and of course James' anthem for the dispossessed, Sit Down. A mid-set tempo dip for lesser known tracks was bolstered by a band and backing singers on top form with a thumbs up for the title track to latest album All The Colours of You.
Rag 'n' Bone Man and Dave Rodigan and his Outlook Orchestra played the following two nights, with gigs by Nile Rodgers and Chic, Culture Club and Bananarama, and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds to look ahead to next weekend. Visit www.heritagelive.net/whats-on