Kanye West at Wireless 2014 review

'Kanye West's set Falls Down after rant'

Kanye West at Wireless 2014 review

Photographer: Al De Perez05 July 2014

It’s been a sweltering day in London’s Finsbury Park and the audience, suitably lubricated from a day of drinking in the sun, are looking for a party tonight on the main Wireless stage. As the dark storm clouds approach, the air becomes heavy and you sense a change is afoot as Kanye West (4) takes to the stage for his headline performance. Kanye, donning a full face mask and an American army style uniform, is joined on stage by just one DJ. A large screen at the back projects a bright red light into a sea of darkness surrounding the stage. The set opens up with the crunching guitar riffs of ‘Black Skinhead’, fitting for the mood being created in north London. However what follows is a brooding, bass-heavy set including ‘Jesus Walks’ ‘Stronger’ ‘Can't Tell Me Nothing’ and ‘Clique’.

This is followed by a ten minute rant by Kanye about how the media and various designers hate him and that he is awesome (he does kindly concede that his fans are also awesome). Inevitably this is met with boos from the audience who simply want to party. As the rain starts to fall the crowd thins as people beat a hasty retreat for the early tube home. The guitar refrains of ‘All Falls Down’ stop some in their tracks. This is quickly followed by ‘Good Life’ and ‘Touch The Sky’. However, for an audience who wanted to party these needed to come out far earlier in the set to redeem the performance. Finale ‘Bound 2’ fused with Sigma’s ‘Nobody To Love’, gets the crowd moving but as soon as there is movement and a sniff of enjoyment being had Kanye simply cuts the song, walks off and ends the set.

Festival veterans Basement Jaxx (9), joined by Brazilian Samba dancers, take the audience on a dancing tour through the best party tunes during their headliner set on the Pepsi Max stage. ‘Romeo’ gets the band and audience dancing around like they are part of a dance troupe in a Bollywood movie, whilst the jazzy ‘Do Your Thing’ gets everyone busting out their best Charleston moves. As the juddering caterwaul of ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ echoes around the tent, the audience goes mad with all shouting the words and jumping around. (Kanye take note - this is what you call a headline festival set).

Pharrell Williams (9) educates the audience through his extensive and varied back catalogue. N*E*R*D’s ‘She Wants to Move’ and Snoop Dogg’s ‘Drop it Like Its Hot’ are evident crowd pleasers, but it’s his own single ‘Happy’ which gets the audience participating in a mass karaoke style sing-a-long in the late afternoon sun.

London boy Tinie Tempah (8) treats his hometown audience to his back catalogue of hits, which you really didn’t realise were his until this set. Debut single ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Written In The Stars’ are evident set highlights.

If you are feeling particularly energetic or a massive Rudimental fan you can dash between stages to see Rudimental’s female vocalists Ella Eyre, Sinead Hartnett and Foxes, who take to the three stages at Wireless at the same time. Hartnett's (7) version of her Rudimental collaboration of ‘Hide’ fused with Justin Timberlake's ‘Cry Me A River’ gets the audience singing and nodding their heads. Over on the main stage, Foxes (7) mash-up a cover of Pharrell's ‘Happy’ with Massive Attack's ‘Teardrop’. Whilst not an obvious mix of songs, Foxes’ sublime vocals carries the fusion well.

By Julia Farman.

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