London's British Summer Time kicks off with Strokes, Beck and Future Islands
Andrew Trendell

09:49 19th June 2015

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The Strokes performed their only UK gig of the year, and perhaps ever, with a stirring sunset performance at London's Hyde Park. See our report, photos and the full setlist below. 

The band headlined the first night of this year's British Summer Time series, ably supported with brilliant sets by Beck, Future Islands and more. After guitarist Albert Hammond Jr revealed that he was uncertain of the band's future and that this gig could well be their last, anticipation was high. 

The park was packed and the likes of Alex Turner, Miles Kane and Bobby Gillespie were in attendance. The band took to the stage at the end of a scorching summer's day in West London, clearly feeding from the blissed out summer vibes of the crowd and seeming in quite high spirits, with frontman Julian Casablancas frequently smiling through banter with the band and crowd as he led them through a career-spanning and high energy set. 

Kicking things off to a familiar start, the band opened with the classic 'Is This It', before bursting into 'Barely Legal', before more recent material landed well among the London masses with 'Welcome To Japan'. 

"I remember the last time I was he here," he smiled before faltering, "I only come to Hyde Park to play here."

At one point, he teased the crowd of a special guest, saying "Beck was gunna come out for this one, he's not now" - instead teasing that they'd instead be joined by Shabba Ranks before turning to smile at the band and joke "Fab believed me!"

Closing with the fast and furious 'New York City Cops' before returning for an encore of 'Juicebox', 'You Only Live Once' and a closing 'Take It Or Leave It', it was a pretty flawless evening. While chemistry between the band as a whole remained in question, there's little - with Albert Hammond Jr proving himself very much a guitar icon of his age. Nothing was said of a return, but we can only hope they come back on a form as fine as this. 

The Strokes played:
Is This It
Barely Legal
Welcome to Japan
You Talk Way Too Much
Someday
Heart in a Cage
Hard to Explain
Automatic Stop
Vision of Division
Last Nite
Reptilia
Machu Picchu
Under Cover of Darkness
One Way Trigger
New York City Cops
Encore:
Juicebox
You Only Live Once
Take It or Leave It

"Summer time is officially here," beamed Beck, "We arrived from California so we thought we'd bring it with us". Indeed he did, as we and his band soaked up the last of the early evening sun with a brilliant set worthy of a headliner, albeit far too short for an alt-rock icon of his stature. 

With elastic dance moves, exquisite showmanship and one hell of a back catalogue, Beck united Hyde Park in groove - flowing through college rock staples such as 'Devil's Haircut', The New Pollution' and 'Gamma Ray' - throwing in a Donna Summer cover for good measure and with 'Sexx Laws', 'Debra' and 'E-Pro' proving highlights, before sealing off the stage with police tape before returning for an explosive closer of 'Where It's At'. Come back soon please Beck, and play all night.  

Beck played: 
Devil's Haircut
Black Tambourine
Think I'm in Love / I Feel Love (Donna Summer cover)
The New Pollution
Qué Onda Guero
Gamma Ray
Hell Yes
Soul of a Man
Blue Moon
Lost Cause
Go It Alone
Loser
Sexx Laws
Debra
E-Pro
Encore:
Where It's At

While Temples and Public Service Broadcasting also performed in the evening, many left work early to flock to see a late afternoon set from Future Islands, whose visceral grunting and primal dad-rock dance moves would seem like a gimmick, if it weren't backed up by incredible open-road anthemics. The future looks bright too, with new track 'The Chase' packed with that classic Springsteen meets synth-punk sound, met with futuristic and cinematic tones of the Drive soundtrack. That's all very well and good, but make it known - summer officially began when Future Islands performed 'Seasons (Waiting On You)' at Hyde Park. 

Future Islands played:
Back in the Tall Grass
A Dream of You and Me
Walking Through That Door
Balance
Doves
The Chase
Light House
Seasons (Waiting on You)
Tin Man
Spirit

British Summer Time continues with performances from Blur, The Who, Taylor Swift and more. For tickets and information, visit here

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Photo: Emma Viola Lilja