Hardwick Live returned this weekend with a bigger and better lineup than ever before.

The two-day event hosted at Hardwick Hall Hotel deep in the heart of County Durham drew a diverse bill of music legends along with many artists tipped to be the next big thing.

Jake Shears was a firm favourite on Saturday afternoon putting forward a high energy set that traversed his whole discography. The quintessential showman arrived onstage donning a red and gold sequin catsuit and black platform shoes.

Shears performed several cuts from his new solo album such as “Good Friends”, “Clothes Off” and “S.O.B” along with a healthy dose of the Scissor Sisters greatest hits including “Laura” and “Take Your Mama” before capping his set off with the anthemic “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”.

LA-based rock and soul outfit Vintage Trouble won over a whole new raft of fans in the North East with their electrifying, and thoroughly entertaining set. The crowd couldn’t take their eyes off frontman Ty Taylor for a moment. His onstage acrobatics and crowd surfing antics captivated the Hardwick crowd.

Old favourites like the slide-fuelled, foot-stomping “Run Like The River”, the anthemic “Blues Hand Me Down” and the euphoric “Strike Your Light On Me” sat side by side tracks from the band’s forthcoming release such as “Crystal Clarity” and “Rollin”.

The quartet brought their set to a close with a beautifully poignant airing of “Not Alright By Me”, which resulted in a sea of swaying cell phone lights illuminating the night sky. This, in turn, created somewhat of a special moment on Saturday evening.

Day one headliners the Kaiser Chiefs made the short journey up the A1 from Leeds to be in Sedgefield this weekend. Songs such as “Everyday I Love You Less and Less”, “I Predict A Riot” and “Ruby” were enough to have their fans singing wholeheartedly and at the tops of their voices throughout. The Kaiser Chiefs explosive performance was the perfect way to bring the opening day of the festival to a close.

Over the course of the weekend, the cream of the North East music scene was well and truly represented between the festival’s two main stages. Performances from the likes of Beth Macari, Dansi, The Voluntears, and The Social Room all being highlights of the weekend.

A dance tent featuring world class DJ’s such as Danny Rampling, Brandon Block, Alex P and Graeme Park attracted the club music fraternity. And for those who wanted to escape the music, a fairground equipped with waltzers, dodgems and all manner or rides and attractions provided a welcome momentary distraction.

Day two of the festival featured a whole raft of indie heavyweights and rock royalty with the likes of the Happy Mondays, Shed Seven, and PIL fronted by the Sex Pistol’s John Lydon all making an appearance.

Local outfit Smoove and Turrell ushered in a soulful Sunday as the crowds flooded in through the gates before Heather Small made a welcome return to the North East following a recent appearance at the South Tyneside Festival in South Shields. The powerhouse vocalist showcased many 90s classics including M People’s “One Night In Heaven”, “How Can I Love You More”, along with a spellbinding performance of “Proud”.

PIL switched up the pace mid-afternoon. John Lydon giving an incredibly passionate performance. Tracks such as “Public Image”, “Rise” and the unmistakable “This Is Not A Love Song” being stand out moments. 

Echo and the Bunnymen are currently celebrating their landmark 40th anniversary. The band walked their fans down memory lane with many of their Top 40 singles featuring in their set. The likes of the incredibly infectious “Lips Like Sugar” and the anthemic “Bring On The Dancing Horses” transported the band’s loyal fan base back to the 1980’s.

The Hardwick crowd savoured a Feeder set that was crammed with rock anthems drawn from their 25-year career including hits like “Pushing The Senses”, “Just A Day” and “Buck Rodgers”. Feeder is on a mission to get old school rock music back into the charts, and if there is anyone who can achieve this monumental task it’s this band.

During the mid-90s, the sound of Britpop music ruled the airwaves in the UK. Twenty years later and Shed Seven are still laying down their distinctive indie rock sound. The York-based outfit came out with all guns blazing at Hardwick Live with a set full of timeless classics such as “She Left Me On Friday,” “Going For Gold” and “Dolphin”. 

Manchester legends The Happy Mondays drew the curtain on Hardwick Live 2018. Led by Shaun Ryder and spurred on by the enigmatic Bez, who prowled the edge of the stage armed with his maracas, the Mondays got the crowd moving from the off particularly during the likes of “Kinky Afro” and “Hallelujah”.

Over the course of the weekend, this boutique festival had something for everyone. We look forward to more of what is to come when the festival returns next year.

Hardwick Live
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Event Date: 18/19-Aug-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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