Live Music + Gig Reviews

Wireless 2011: Part 2 @ Hyde Park, London

3 July 2011

In contrast to Janelle, Katy B cut a lonely figure but, with the audience suitably hyped, she did a fine job of keeping the party going. Sporting new flame coloured locks, she bounced around the stage with as much enthusiasm as the early assembled crowd. Her 30 minute set featured tracks from her debut album On A Mission and the likes of Movement and Louder turned Hyde Park in a hot, beer soaked, sweaty club.

With most of the crowd seeming to favour J Cole and Digitalism over on the Pepsi Max stage, Ke$ha played to a surprisingly thin crowd. Dressed in an outfit which would have made tomorrow’s main stage diva Grace Jones blush, she squawked her way through bubblegum pop hits includes We R Who We Are and Tik Tok, flanked by an army of scantily-clad dancers. Perhaps more suited to yesterday’s bill, her theatrics didn’t impress the club-crowd.

Dagenham’s Devlin drew a huge crowd to the Pepsi Max stage. Hailed for playing with a band and combining grime, rock and rap a la Plan B, it was a disappointing set as much of the tension and angst that made his debut album Bud Swear and Beers is drowned out along with his lyrics, which are indecipherable over the fuzzy PA.

After the grandiose pop of last night and the promise of an historic headline set from Pulp tomorrow, tonight’s headliners seemed somewhat understated. Hidden behind their decks, The Chemical Brothers let their music do the talking and their visuals put on the show. With the sun setting over Hyde Park, they bang out a relentless set including crowd pleasers Hey Boy, Hey Girl, Block Rockin’ Beats and Swoon, while Do It Again/Get Yourself High and Star Guitar kept fans happy. They do exactly what it says on the tin, and while there are no surprises, it rounds off nicely the increasingly eclectic ‘dance’ day.

Its becoming tough to remember when The Horrors weretreated as a bit of a Shoreditch in-joke floppy-haired electro gothswhose arrival seemed to signal the bonfire of the scenesters.Suddenly, and due in no small part due to Portisheads GeoffBarrow honing them into a slick, post-rock shoegaze outfit, theyvebecome one of the most interesting, relevant acts around. Even in themiddle of the day the quintet are a powerful, urgent force that, whilenot exactly inspiring mass sing-alongs among a slightly non-plussedcrowd, show they have the chops to turn in glacial, stadium-sizedanthems. And as Still Life and Moving Further Away from the soon-to-bereleased Skying record are set highlights, you can be sure theyrearound for a few more festivals to come.

Over at the Pepsi Max stage, The Naked and Famous (who aredefinitely not the first, mores the pity, and only fleetingly thesecond) are turning in a workmanlike set of summery Antipodeanelectroclash. While the opening double whammy of All of This andPunching in a Dream seem to signal a muscular, poppy set, they soonget bogged down in some pretty forgettable, synth-heavy dirges, whilelead singer Alisa Xayalith manfully tries to keep the interest of awaning crowd. Only excellent single Young Blood, when it finallycomes, really ignites the audience.

TV On The Radio are a little bit hit and miss live theirjittery, bass heavy funk-rock isnt designed to fill stadiums, so aset in front of 40,000 disinterested Pulp fans could have been arecipe for disaster. Luckily, perhaps inspired by the thoughts ofJarvis Tigger-like energy, they are on top form, blasting out apulverising greatest hits set that nigh-on shakes the leaves from HydeParks distant trees. Halfway Home, Staring at the Sun and Wolf LikeMe sound sexy, lean and immense even in the vast space. Lead singerTunde Adebimpe, resplendent in a natty suit/tie combo whirls aroundthe stage like a dervish, obviously revelling in the attention.

In the straight face off between Foals square mathematicalpost-rock and Grace Jones high-camp pop, most festival goers choose acombination of the latter and lounging about in the sun sippingoverpriced Pimms (Common People, right?). Its a shame as Foals spendthe majority of their set staking a claim as futureheadliners-in-waiting, with a euphoric, angular and ferociouslydanceable set culled predominantly from second record Total LifeForever. In contrast to their slightly oblique presence on record,Yannis Philippakkis band pulls off being swaggering rockstars withaplomb, with Blue Blood and Spanish Sahara especially frenetic,elbows-flailing high points.

  1. Wireless 2011:
    Part 1 | Part 2 |

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