London has always been the centralised base for Wireless Festival, in its tenth anniversary year this year, but this year is a bit of a ground breaker where they venture out of the capital and come to ‘Yam-Yam’ land, the second capital city, yes of course it’s ‘BRUM’.
Over the years Wireless has boasted some of the biggest stars including P!nk, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, starting back in 2005, the festival has come a long way since then, over that first weekend in 2005 Kasabian, New Order, The Bravery, LCD Soundsystem and Basement Jaxx were the order of the day.
This year sees a more Americanised R’n’B line up with headliners Kanye West and Bruno Mars taking centre stage, with a few good old British artists thrown in to boot including Wireless veterans Basement Jaxx and the lush British Songbird Ellie Goulding, plus Newbies Clean Bandit and John Newman.
The site in Birmingham is based near the Alexander Stadium at Perry Park, as with V festival there are a couple of stages to visit (three in fact), but obviously all the action is on the main stage, it’ll be good to do a comparison with V festival especially as I’ve attended about ten of those!!?? Can Wireless compare, I did actually see the first one back in 2005, but only one of the days and yes it did rain and I got abused for putting my brolly up, so I had to get drenched!!
This is Wireless’s first year in Birmingham and it seemed kinda quiet on the Saturday, I got to the front for every act, which is usually a near impossible task for V Festival and T in the Park, we were moseying on over to each stage with relative ease, which was good for us, cause it meant we didn’t miss any of the acts we wanted to see. This changed on the Sunday, the arena seemed filled to capacity, it might have been the added attraction of Pharell Williams and Kanye West. The age range differed somewhat from day-day with it seeming younger on the Sunday.
Was the weather gonna hold up this weekend, it had forecast rain for the whole weekend, but as we get nearer the event the weather seems to be a bit brighter, wet weather gear at the ready me thinks! Where’s the covers for the camera? It did actually rain intermittently over the weekend but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, it was mostly glorious sunshine throughout, this bought out the face paint, hot pants, crop tops, obviously the must have festival accessories ‘Hunter’ Wellies, it was baking hot and they were still wearing them.
We got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, as we nearly always do, went for a leisurely bike ride, a bit of brekkie and then headed to the site. Parking for the weekends festivities is a bit steep to say the least, £15 a day, come on talk about rip off Britain. This will be the first festival where I’ve had to pay for parking??? £45 for three days parking that’s just so far fetched. But in essence when you think about the individual ticket price for each act, I guess it does seem fair.
Day tickets for todays delights were priced @£68.75, obviously dearer in London, if you wanted a weekend ticket they would set you back @£210.00, Friday and Saturdays tickets sold-out for Birmingham quite a while back, seeing festivals isn’t cheap is it? (Thank god I’m a reviewer/photographer!)
The site – The stages were far apart enough so you didn’t get any music interference, we only visited main stage and stage 2 throughout the festival. Stage two was a massive tent, so sweaty in there, a bit sauna’ish. It got packed with some of the more popular acts like Ella Eyre and Basement Jaxx.
The Merchandise was the norm, £20 quid for a Wireless T-shirt and they were selling artist T-shirts which were £20 and £25 quid respectively. Food and drinks were the usual festival prices, was a bit gobsmacked when we bought a bottle of lager and cider and a glass of lemonade which knocked us back £12 quid!!?
The audience is full of twenty something’s (on both days), not old farts like me, but hey-ho, I’m a seasoned festival veteran, I’ve even done knee deep mud at Glastonbury, never again. Obviously here for a good time, to get sloshed and to listen to some quality music.
Music on the agenda over the weekend at Wireless:
Clean Bandit are newcomers to the business, I have seen them live before supporting Basement Jaxx, to be honest I wasn’t that keen, but maybe today can show me something else? After their massive number hit can they actually sway me? They did actually suprise me, they were honed and very tight, like a pair of undersized tights, it was a pleasure to listen to them.
Salt N Pepa – Back to the good old days, ‘Push it’, these girls are one of the reasons we agreed to come to Wireless, its good to reminisce about your childhood days, especially when you were a kid, and these girls certainly make you do this. I wanted to die when I found out they have been in the business twenty five years, made me feel very old indeed. They were certainly one of the highlights of the day. The most shocking thing is the twenty-something’s knew every word of every song, it was gobsmacking as they were just twinkles in their dad’s eyes when Salt and Pepa originally came out. They set the tone for the day, a feel good factor, bought a constant smile to my face.
John Newman – I find his singing quite weird, could he pull off the festival vibe? He is the funniest dancer in pop. With a couple of hits under his belt can he sustain the momentum? With a full band and backing singers Newman came on stage with a military style jacket on and the tightest trousers I have ever seen anyone wear, no wonder he danced like a demented chicken, he kept cocking his leg up at every opportunity like he had dog shit on his shoe. He pleased the audience with songs from his debut album ‘Tribute’, they lingered on every word, not my cup of tea, but he seemed to please the consensus.
J. Cole – I didn’t know anything about this guy at all before today, still don’t know anything now!! An Amercian rap star, the girls were swooning and all the kids in the audience were lapping him up, every second word was ‘Fuck’ and he had great delight in sticking his index finger up, pure quality (lol).
Ellie Goulding – Britain’s current queen of pop?! I never tire of this women, managed to catch the back end of her tour last year at the Liverpool Echo Arena and boy did she rock. Saw her Glastonbury performance which was absolutely stonking and apparently had the most views on iplayer over the weekend. If that performance was gonna be anything like tonight’s we were in for a right treat.
Ms Goulding has become ‘The Queen’ of pop in the UK, even making it over in the good ol’ US of A touring with Bruno Mars, there isn’t anyone in the UK that hasn’t heard an Ellie Goulding hit, surely. She has the voice on an angelic angel and certainly knows how to sing a sure fire hit.
One of the UK’s hardest working women in pop, how many gigs can you do in a year? Ask Ellie Goulding? She’s like dog poo, she’s playing everywhere:
She was worth the ticket price on her own, we were treated to a 60 minutes set of 11 songs of pure delight., it was one of the sets of the day for me.
Outkast – Another beauty in the line-up, never had the chance to see these guys live in any way shape or form, so tonight was gonna be either amazing or poo. They have a back catalogue to die for and certainly make you have your dancing feet on. They were the crowd pleasers with hits like ‘Ms Jackson’ and ‘Hey-Ya’, it set the pace for King of pop Bruno Mars.
Bruno Mars, the small guy with the big talent, well firstly, no photos, which annoys me somewhat, especially as we were there to review, wonder if he had a spot he didn’t want us to see. An extravaganza of cheese, all the usual Bruno Mars hits in a 90 min set, with fireworks’ thrown in to boot. I’m not a big fan, too cheesy for me, I wanted to see if he could change my mind, but he couldn’t.
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