O2 Wireless: Day Three
Fatboy Slim gets the party started
Daniel Fahey on 11 July 2008
They turn out to be the latter and Hyde Park suddenly feels like it might just explode into a festival jamboree and (costumes
aside) it sort of does, in the way Lorraine from accounts may allow herself to have one gin too many at the Christmas bash.
Swells of fans have turned up early for the first of the festival's weekend days and the site, which is already packed with advertising profanities, expensive food stalls and bar queues that are only out sprawled by those for the ladies, is rammed. Fans are laid on the grass as if the festival's fences had never been erected while others are checking out the acts in tents, sheltering from the heat.
The Tuborg Tent simply isn't big enough for the crowds trying to catch a glimpse of punk-dance combo Audio Bullys. Many are trying and turning away, unable to get in, but those sticking around to at least listen, are enjoying brutal cockney knees up. The duo's lesser known tracks outshine their big hit 'Shot You Down' with lead MC Simon Franks working the stage like a true professional. New single 'Gimmie That Punk' a ravenous clout of dance music, while their earliest work 'We Don’t Care' seems to mirror the feeling of the tent.
On the main stage Bootsy Collins, a man that tonight's headliner Fatboy Slim is a documented admirer of, is going back to his roots as James Brown's bassist. Performing tracks that Collins and the other 'Original' JBs recorded for Brown in the early 70s like '(Get Up I Feel Like A) Sex Machine' and the illustrious 'Soul Power' the group show just how prolific the Godfather of Soul truly was. Donned in a red pimp's hat and accompanying suit, Collins is joined by a James Brown look-alike and an afro-wielding dancer in platform heels for nearly the entire set. Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' is the act’s standout track and the number that gets people off of the grass and onto their feet, a place their likely to stay until Norman Cook takes to the stage.
But first, many try their chances in the Sandisk Tent to try and catch Underworld, but the stage is too small to accommodate such a large act. The seminal dance troupe, famed for 1996 single 'Born Slippy NUXX', aren’t even on stage yet, but nobody else is allowed into the tent. Employing a one-way entry and exit system, the guarded stage is impossible to get enter. Simple solution – put big acts on big stages.
Instead it's down to Deadmau5 to warm up for Fatboy Slim. The Canadian DJ is currently the man to call on for remixes with Daft Punk and Mickey Slim both on the receiving end of a re-edit recently. His progressive house is as empty as the epic tracks from the days of prog rock, but his massive blue mouse mask makes up for his music. The mask is the size of his shoulders and twice the height of his head and it's large eyes and wide smiles mirror most of the crowd in front of him.
As always with DJs, it's not a long change over and Fatboy Slim takes to the stage to drops his own 'Praise You' to woops and cheers from the massive crowd. After a rather dark set at Glastonbury, the superstar DJ is obviously in more of a party mode. The hot remix of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' by Herve sweeps in for a while before the Mickey Slim Vs Deadmau5 re-working of House Of Pain's 'Jump Around' makes the crowd explode. At larger events Norman Cook's mixing is usually suspect, but this evening it has rather hit form again, even throwing in an accapella cut of Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip's 'Thou Shall Always Kill' that's had it's lyrics changed to "Fatboy Slim…just a band."
The crowd also get to see that rare angle of a DJ – the legs – as Cook comes from behind the decks to dance along and sit on the edge of the stage clapping to the beat. A 1999 mash-up of The Rolling Stones' '(I Can't Get No) Satifaction' with Fatboy's 'The Rockerfeller Skank' gets a rare outing and big beat buddies The Chemical Brothers are thrown in the mix with 'Block Rocking Beats'. Cook's new project Brighton Port Authority also gets some shameless self-promotion with the DJ playing a funk infused track that features Iggy Pop on vocals - the BPA are also all over the site with naked playing cards emblazoned with the band logo currently being stamped into the ground.
Cream's 'Sunshine Of My Love' and an epic cut of 'No Cars Go' by Arcade Fire round the set off nicely before Slim plays an old Chems trick of finishing with a remix of the song he started with. 'Praise You''s female vocals echo out across Hyde park before they are squashed by the horns from The Chi-Lites' 'Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)' – they're not as squashed as the tubes on the way home though.