Basement Jaxx steal the show making the crowd 'Jump n Shout'

Wireless 2009 review

published: Thu 9th Jul 2009

Basement Jaxx

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th July 2009
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
£45 for Saturday, Sunday early bird £40
last updated: Mon 8th Jun 2009

Despite the ever-imposing threat of stormy, wet weather being thrown out by the Met Office and various weather forecasts, hip hoppers and dance heads alike flocked to Hyde Park for the sold out Wireless festival on the surprisingly pleasant, sunny day of 4th July.

Tommy Sparks
At 3.30pm I found myself in the 2nd stage tent expecting to see the likes of Tommy Sparks onstage, however I instead found myself caught up in an Ibiza – like thrall of bodies, glow sticks and ravers bouncing about to exceptionally played tunes and slick dance beats. I soon discovered that a slightly annoying change of artist stages and times had been made to the printed programme, which had cost £5 to purchase, and that I was being treated to the sounds of the legendary Paul Oakenfield spinning out some of his best mixes.

Although the mix about in the schedule was unexpected and caused a small grievance among some, I was extremely grateful for getting a chance to bop along with the rest of the packed tent to Paul Oakenfold's exquisite dance set of new and old tunes with vibrant beats. On leaving the tent, it was hard to believe that it was still only the middle of the day and we had all been raving along like the best of them in Ibiza.

I reached the 2nd tented venue of the Tuborg Stage just in time to catch a pink-haired Tommy Sparks bouncing on to the stage in an oversized 'Elmo' costume. It was Sparks' chance to prove he was much more than a one hit wonder and he produced a lively, tuneful set with a great backup band, including an original version of 'Music Sounds Better with You', which had a strong, vibrant bass that had the whole crowd singing and bouncing along; and of course he ended with a crowd-pleasing rendition of 'She's Got Me Dancing'.

Jack Penate
Jack Penate's performance on the main stage was a surprising treat of the day, as the relatively new, alternative warbler really managed to fill up his performance space and interact with the crowd. His personality clearly shone through, as he snaked his hips with his usual fast-paced and eclectic dance moves and chatted to the crowd throughout his vocally strong set. At one point, early on in his set, he became so frustrated with his guitar strap twisting and getting caught up that he played up to the audience with a 'rock n' roll move' and smashed it into the pit in front of the stage.

As well as belting out his classics such as, 'Spit at Stars' and 'Tonight's Today', with vocal precision and energy, Penate also clambered into the front row of the audience near the end of his set causing his eccentric gold jacket to be ripped off his back, which he quickly got rid off with very little disregard after jokingly commenting that he was furious because it had been ripped.

Penate's backing band must also be commended for their varied use of instruments providing his performance with a more funked up, rockier beat than the more ballad-like Jack Penate that first entered the charts, proving that he is definitely one to look out for this year.

The Streets
Mike Skinner and The Streets were the next act that I caught and although there was a definite buzz about it in the crowd and a clear movement of people towards the 2nd stage tent, the general consensus was that The Streets should have taken the main stage instead of the scheduled Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force that had that time slot.

This oversight led to many people unable to fit into the 2nd stage tent for the performance, which Mike Skinner ruefully referenced throughout the gig. Nevertheless, Skinner was on true form throughout the performance, bounding through most of his big tunes over his several albums, as well as inserting a few new ones into the mix. He bounced about the stage belting out hits such as, 'Fit But You Know It' and 'Don't Mug Yourself', in between sharing banter with the audience.

At one point Mike's backing singer, Kevin Mark Trail, beautifully lead the audience in a soulful rendition of 'Ain't No Sunshine'. Skinner ended The Streets full set by telling the audience to turn to a stranger and declare love for each other, which led to the 2nd stage tent being filled with extremely happy Streets fans embracing each other and joining in the chorus of the perfectly played final tunes.

Dizzee Rascal's performance on the main stage did not fail to deliver either, as the East London MC entertained the masses with his wide range of familiar tunes, that had his more loyal fans chanting along lyrics with him. Among the tunes that got the audience jumping and grinding were, 'Stand Up Tall' and 'Fix Up, Look Sharp'. Dizzee's performance of 'Bonkers' caused a huge sea of people as far as the eye could see, to bop up and down without a care, and bust out some of their more crazy dance moves in union. The only problem with his set was that the sound system on the main stage seemed to be quite poor with the speakers being very low, which led to some of Dizzee's vocals being lost.

The final act of the evening was a show-stopping performance by Basement Jaxx on the main stage. The 2 Caribbean ladies that front most Basement Jaxx tunes took to the stage with charm, vigour and energy, dancing and winding their way all over the stage whilst singing impeccably to the delighted crowd.

Basement Jaxx
The Jaxx boys were less quiet throughout the gig, as they exquisitely played the funky beats and tuneful riffs from their instruments and bopped along to the music. At one point, they played a brilliant dance remix of the Kings of Leon hit, 'Sex Is On Fire', which got the crowd rocking out.

The band played out most of their big tunes in a way that had the whole park jumping and feeling the bass right through them and as the gig drew to a close there was much speculation over what their final tune would be; Basement Jaxx did not disappoint, as the fast salsa beats of 'Bingo Bango' flew out of the speakers and injected the audience with an ecstatic feeling.

As the show closed and the happy but exhausted ravers made their way to the local tube stations, there was a definite buzz in the air as it was clear that Basement Jaxx had definitely been the perfect headlining choice for that event.
review by: Fiona Madden

photos by: Fiona Madden

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th July 2009
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
£45 for Saturday, Sunday early bird £40
last updated: Mon 8th Jun 2009

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