Wireless celebrates the dancefloor with a bill that spans over 20 years

Wireless 2011 review

published: Wed 6th Jul 2011

around the festival site - Saturday (2)

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd July 2011
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
£130 for the weekend, £49.50 Fri (sold out), £48.50 Sat/Sun
last updated: Wed 29th Jun 2011

While yesterday's Black Eyed Peas-headlined extravaganza was an ode to pop and tomorrow's Pulp-led bill harks more heavily towards the indie and rock side of the music spectrum, today's Wireless line-up is bringing it to the dancefloor with a bill that spans over 20 years of massive tunes.

around the festival site - Saturday (2)
It's a chronic injustice that someone as talented and outrageously good live as Janelle Monae is left to open a bill under relative damp squibs like dubstep superstar Katy B and rubbish electro-pop douchebag Ke$ha, but she still steals the show from the aforementioned twosome and just about everybody else on the bill today. Labelling her the female Prince or James Brown would be doing her no favours – she is as unique as they come, and bangers like 'Cold War', 'Tightrope', 'Dance Or Die' and an ace cover of Jackson 5 classic 'One More Chance' demonstrate exactly why she and her brilliant live band should be headlining festivals like these one day. A stage dive into the crowd caps off one of the the sets of the festival and adds a neat lick of rock 'n' roll mania to her soulful swing-hop vibes.

Really now, how can someone who peddles music as limp and vacuous as Ke$sha match that? Well, she doesn't – and not even a weak effort at showmanship with a confetti canon and naff backing singers can save her set from being about as pumping as a beige cardigan. Seriously love, just leave this kind of thing to Gaga.

around the festival site - Saturday (2)
Chromeo do slightly better thanks to a bigger production and a thumping bass that gives their own electro-house sound a solid live push, but strangely, The Streets proves to be one of the disappointments of the day. You'd have thought that Mike Skinner would have nailed a crowd like this five years ago, but today his heart just doesn't seem in it, and the crowd reflect that only too well. Shame.

While Chase & Status bring some arena drum 'n' bass to the masses on the main stage, the one and only Aphex Twin destroys the Pepsi Tent with a pulsating monster of a set that leaves just about everyone packing out the place momentarily deaf, blind and dumbstruck. You never know what to expect from one of electronica's most legendary and unique sons, but a ripping live show packed with impressive stage visuals, lights, live videos and an epic laser show – all slightly veiled by a huge black net hung over the front of the stage, giving everything a neat sense of the mysterious – ensures that the man known to his mum as Richard James puts in one of the best sets of the whole festival.

It sets a standard that even The Chemical Brothers can't quite match as they close out the main stage, but this is perhaps more to do with the fact that they're been touring with a very similar-looking live show for years now, and newer numbers such as 'Swoon', while still being great songs in their own right, just can't match the impact of anthems like 'Block Rockin' Beats', 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' and 'Galvanise'. Still, not many dance acts can match the duo for a greatest hits set, and they prove a reliably solid way to see out the night. Job done, lads.

around the festival site - Saturday (2)
review by: Merlin Alderslade

photos by: Fiona Madden

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd July 2011
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, England MAP
£130 for the weekend, £49.50 Fri (sold out), £48.50 Sat/Sun
last updated: Wed 29th Jun 2011


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