Yesterday’s Wireless Festival was one that had me not entirely hyped to go, to be honest If it wasn’t for a free ticket and the promise of beer I may have not made the trip to one of the UK’s most commercialized festival experiences, I’d like to say my mind was changed throughout the day, but with only 2 real, maybe 3 exceptional performances I must say once again I leave a London festival underwhelmed.
Starting well the day kicked off with my favourite African GOOD music member D’Banj, with the crowds packing into the Pepsi Max tent, I mean a lot of packing I could barely get a spot. The African Michael Jackson took to the stage and gave a solid yet kinda dulset performance in comparison to his Hackney Weekender show, the dancing girls were the highlight and obviously my favourite track of all time ‘Gbono Fele Fele’ being a standout.
Next up I turned my attentions to one of the smaller stages, catching the last line of Sneakbo’s set that I hear went down well with the crowd, the tent was blimming pack out. Next up was UK old head Sway who played some old bangers like Litter Derek & F Ur Ex which satisfied my London music glory day fantasies, other than that him starting a crowd chant with ‘When I say Sway, you say Sway’ in what is the least thought out crowd interaction I have ever seen. But you know, I say Sway was ok. (Rhyme intended)
Meeting up with some of the LIVE magazine peeps midway through (shout out to Omari and Zindzi) and collecting 4 beers to down, I felt a little better coming up to Wiz Khalifa on the mainstage, I will say he looked the rockstar part with what I could count 3 bandana’s and scarves droped around him, no sign of Amber but her man performed to a crowd whom seemed to enjoy him, I hate everything Wiz stands for but he did ok, singing raps and poor beats… I’ll stop with the hate now.
One of the UK’s top talents and my favourite UK artist of the last 5 years Labrinth then took to the Pepsi Max stage, piled in bumping up on some people I got a relatively good spot for Lab whose set infused with Guitar solo’s, rocket sounding keyboards and robot vocoders really engrossed me, the beer helped but it was seeing his enhanced stage presence from previous peformances that really took me by surprise, he has really come into his own with the release of his album. My pick of the day If i’m honest, his medley of Tinie Tempah hits ending with his own Earthquake rendition drew the largest mosh from the crowd. Big up Hackney’s finest!
The time a lot of music fans had been waiting for then arrived, with crazy pushing and people being carried out from the crowd the Canadian crooner ‘The Weeknd’ then came out to the loudest singalong and cheer of the day (even bigger than Drakes), “YOU DONT KNOW, WHATS IN STORE” echoes bounced all around the tent and created a very special atmosphere, his vocals were on point, something I had heard differently about his live performances prior and the band were tight, an impressive solo on the evanescent track ‘The Knowing’ gave me some tingles. It was a great set, matching singalong hits with newer calmer tracks as come downs, it was eclectic set placement and a rousing show of his abilities.
Flowing out from the The Weeknd’s performance I noticed a familiar face on the Bandstage Stage, the top lad Mikill Pane brought his ever clever wit and Rick Ross esque beard to the strong crowd who had come to see him on such a small stage. It made for a more intimate affair and a more party like experience, I had beer in hand and watched Dope Chef clad Mikill bounce around spitting real life lyrics that engaged everyone better than most others on the larger stages. He will be in a tent next year, I will bet you money on that.
Nicki Minaj brought the same set at Hackney Weekend to Hyde park in her long support set prior to Drake, with a 3 track Bashment ending and little girls, I’m talking 7 years old shouting out lyrics like “I tell em pussy clean, I tell em pussy squeaky” she has definately managed to break into mainstream pop. I was pleased to say I’ve seen her live, would I pay to see her again on tour in November, possibly not.
Last up on my day at Wireless was the man everyone had come to see, Drizzy Drake took to the stage Jay-Z lateness-eqsue 30 minutes to be exact, drawing rapturous applause with the opening track Underground Kings that really riled the crowd despite the rain pouring down by this point. Singalongs galore and many different tales of lost love and treating women right poured out from the Rap Superstar’s lips, launching into a tirade about treating girls as women not bitches then flowing those segments into tracks like No Lie contradicting the sentiments prior, that’s one problem I have with Drake, his persona and lyrics often differ in contrast throughout his albums, mixing the hard and soft. But the Bitches LOVE IT! (Had to say that). Tracks like ‘Im On One’ and ‘Take Care’ (minus Rihanna whose playing today) went down a storm and I will say Drake’s stage presence much like Labrinth’s has improved massively despite the sound being quite low for a main stage performance, he holds a crowd better than he did, looking directly into all the adorning faces more often than not now. Drake has his time in the limelight, he conquered to an extent, not a performance great yet, but his time will definately come.
My picks of the Day: The Weeknd, Labrinth & Mikill Pane.