Wireless Festival preview: north/south collide
Photographer: John Bownas13 June 2007
It all takes place in London's Hyde Park and Leeds' Harewood House, from this Friday until Sunday - with an extra date in London on the Thursday. Tickets are still available to buy HERE.
With a line-up as diverse as both cities' cultural fabrics, Wireless Festival successfully avoids the obvious pitfalls (it has the shortest beer queue for one) and makes for an experience that makes festival going easy. While some see festivals as an idyllic, back-to-nature experience others just don’t buy into all that, and would rather remain close to their home comforts than sit in a muddy field eating noodles out of a soggy tent. It’s for these urban souls that the O2 Wireless Festival was devised. Fair weather festival goers, this one's for you!
The festival has settled on a four-day event in London, while extending its reach to include a three day weekend in Leeds, and presents the kind of bands you would usually expect to have to travel for to see in the great outdoors, but with some of the reassurance that comes with being only a short journey away from your own toilet.
Wireless also boasts a more gastronomic take on festival fodder and the civilised vibe extends to an on-site beauty salon, perfect for last years London revellers, who included Peaches Geldof and Princess Eugenie. The celeb quotient was also heavily made up of the usual ‘Indie Cindys’ including Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Sadie Frost and the queen of them all Kate Moss. In actual fact, it was easier to spot a celeb than land yourself a frozen margarita or a Pimms from the branded double-decker bus.
If we’re honest, Wireless is not strictly a festival, rather a collection of separate outdoor shows, headlined this year by The White Stripes (Thursday - London, Friday - Leeds), Faithless (Friday - London), Daft Punk (Saturday - London, Sunday - Leeds) and the Kaiser Chiefs (Sunday - London, Saturday - Leeds). Other massive acts playing over the four days include Queens Of The Stone Age, Air, Editors, Kelis, LCD Soundsystem and The Cribs.
But look out for some of the newer acts on the bill. Here are just a few you should check out:
London - Thursday, Leeds
• Laura Marling – “Hailing from Reading, school-going Marling is the Home Counties’ Joni Mitchell, a girl with more emotion in her little finger than a whole army of Katie Meluas.” We think the Guardian has got the measure of Miss Marling. Expect big things…
• Connan and the Mockasins - A “blues/pop” band originally from New Zealand their psychedelic sound draws comparisons with both Captain Beefheart and The Beatles…they really need to be heard!
• Pete and the Pirates – with more personality and attitude than your average indie band, Pete and the Pirates deliver stirring melodies amongst their noisy guitars and furious drumming.
• The Lea Shores – Peckham’s finest; The Lea Shores have already impressed the likes of Kasabian and Oasis’ Andy Bell with their psychedelic pop that shows heaps of promise.
Friday - London
• Cat Empire – this Australian six-piece have already enjoyed success down under and are now turning their attention to winning over the rest of the world with their fusion of ska, rock and funk with “heavy Latin influences”… Intrigued? You should be.
• Robyn – this Swedish singer-song writer’s latest offering is as far from her squeaky clean pop roots as possible. Since launching her own label she has secured a cult MySpace following with the track ‘Konichiwa Bitches’.
• Lethal Bizzle - You may remember Bizzle for ‘Pow!’, which made London clubs erupt into full on fights and was actually banned from mainstream airplay. Recent outings with Pete Doherty have led to heightened anticipation for his latest release.
Saturday - London, Sunday - Leeds
• New Young Pony Club - Their moniker is meant to be “quirky, kinky and fun”, taking their inspiration from the disco era and the Studio 54 scene. Their lead singer Tahita Bulmer has become a new rave pin-up and their single ‘Ice Cream’ has become somewhat of a new rave anthem.
• Metronomy - Joseph Mount a.k.a. Metronomy along with backing band The Food Groups have been gathering plaudits and steadily building up a die-hard fan base and a reputation for charming live shows.
• Rosie Oddie – Daughter of Bill, Rosie and the Oddsquad are north London’s latest ska/pop offering. Rosie’s quirky lyrics have already won her song writing accolades for the track ‘Genni’s Song’.
Sunday - London, Saturday - Leeds
• Good Shoes - Good Shoes specialise in fast, tightly written guitar pop that draws comparisons with contemporaries like the Futureheads, but also classic bands like The Jam and the Buzzcocks.
• 1990s – The indie rock three-piece from Glasgow were signed to Rough Trade after they were spotted at only their sixth gig. Their recently released debut album Cookies is full of catchy melodies and daft lyrics, definitely not to be missed live.
• Kate Nash - Kate Nash is a Harrow-bred singing storyteller who fuses techno beats and acoustic ballads with a large helping of humour. Just don’t call her the new Lily Allen!
• Los Campesinos! - With their unique, dare we say twee, breed of indie pop these Cardiff University students have just been signed to Wichita and provide the kind of tunes that summer was made for.