Wireless Festival 2014 - Sunday review

'A party weekend and salute to home-grown talent'

Wireless Festival 2014 - Sunday review

Virtual Festivals on 10 July 2014

For a festival which showcases the best in live dance, hip hop and drum and bass music in a field in north London, you would be forgiven for not donning your best going-out dress or shirt or your fancy dancing shoes. However, as the curtain (quite literally) drops to reveal Bruno Mars’ (10) stage set, equipped with disco lights, two large glitter-balls, and a dancing platform you sort of wish you had a quick five minutes to sort yourself out, dust off the grass, wash and style mud and rain soaked hair and rejoin the party.

As the horn section trumps up some ska-lite beats, Bruno runs onto the stage accompanied by screams of girls and boys cheering (seriously there were guys covered in tattoos, sporting New Era hats and Oakland Raiders NFL tops who were ecstatic to see him appear and not in a ironic way) and starts singing ‘Today I don’t feel like doing anything…’ from ‘The Lazy Song’ you hear the audience more than you do Bruno singing the lyrics back at him. ‘Treasure’ has Mars and his horn section putting on some well oiled formation dancing, which the audience reciprocate in kind.

It’s clear that Bruno and the rest of the band have toured together for some years. The whole performance is perfectly choreographed, sung and the audience interaction (getting the crowd to clap, dance put hands in the air) is textbook awesome for how to put on a show. As Bruno later explains, his days of touring small night clubs playing covers before writing his own work is where he and the band learnt the trade. Picking up a very shiny bright red Les Paul Gibson guitar Mars starts crunching out the intro to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’, mixing it with the lyrics of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We do It’, before finishing with Jackson’s ‘Rock With You’. The unlikeliest of mixes works – this just demonstrates how professional this set up is. 'When I Was Your Man’ has the audience putting arms around each-other (even people who only met at the start of the set) and join Bruno in his lament to his lost love.

The encore sees Bruno show-off a five minute drum solo and you start to wonder if there anything this man cannot do (hell he even cued a double rainbow in the sky over the stage when he first came on.) This leads into ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. For a London crowd who wanted a proper headlining performance, we finally got it tonight with Bruno.

Everyone’s favourite odd married couple OutKast (10), celebrating their China wedding anniversary with a round the world tour, have got to the stage in their relationship where between songs they garble nonsense at each other (audible to all over the mic) which they understand and everyone else is left absolutely bewildered. Their early evening set is an absolute riot. Possibly peaking a little early by opening with a rather topical ‘B.O.B’, their set is hit after hit. Andre 3000’s ‘Hey Ya’ sees girls from the crowd entering the stage to lead the audience’s shaking like a Polaroid picture moves, whilst ‘I Like The Way You Move’ sees Sleepy Brown joining Big Boi to sing the chorus - although with the audience leading the chorus this really was not needed. For OutKast fans, seeing Big Boi and Andre 3000 together again is long awaited. After their amicable separation eleven years ago, they did not disappoint.

Over the last nine years Wireless Festival has evolved from being a part dance, hip-hop and rock festival to purely being about dance and hip-hop music. This year’s movement of the festival over to north London’s Finsbury Park, added an extra feel of this being a locals festival. The majority of the British acts this weekend came from the London area and this added to the performances as the acts felt like they were playing to their friends and neighbours. Jess Glynne’s festival opening set on Friday where she had the audience singing Spurs and Arsenal songs during her set, encapsulated the hometown spirit and set the tone for the rest of the festival. The other standout performers this weekend  - Wilkinson and John Newman -  grew up in the area. The invite to their overseas friends was hit and miss. Some let their egos and self importance get the better of them (Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks raise your hands) at the sake of realising they were at a festival and here to entertain and interact with the crowd. Others (J.Cole and Salt-n-Pepa booty-shake step forward) understood that there was an audience in need of entertainment. For Londoners this was a proper party weekend, and a proper salute to some home-grown talent.

By Julia Farman.

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