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Issue 1089

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02 WIRELESS FESTIVAL SPECIAL: Hyde Park (London) Part one - fri 3rd July 2008

The Bigger picture... Jay-Z Headlining Wireless 2008
The Bigger picture... Jay-Z Headlining Wireless 2008 Jay-Z Headling Wireless 2008 Mark Ronson & Lilly Allen @ Wireless 2008 Wiley @ Wireless 2008 Alice Smith @ Wireless 2008 Kano @ Wireless 2008 David Jordan @ Wireless 2008 Roisin Murphy @ Wireless 2008 Roisin Murphy @ Wireless 2008

Londonâs biggest music festival - Wireless is now in its 4th year. The festival is usually notable for its diverse and eclectic mix of artists and styles and this year proved to be no exception...

Dance acts, soul and hip-hop artists are prominent alongside rock acts. Here is a review of some of the best talent on earth as well as some personal recollections of the best moments of the festival.

Thursday 3rd July 2008...

*********************************************JAY-Z**********************************************

An intimate crowd of some 30,000 were to be treated to a spectacular. Fresh from his turn at Glastonbury and away from the rap versus rock controversy that surrounded it, he appeared far more in his element in front of the London crowd. To the Intro of âSay Helloâ (to the bad guy) and the cinematic backdrop of the cover to âAmerican Gangsterâ, he sauntered onto the stage with the confidence that comes from being the alpha-male of American hip-hop. Freely and easily interacting with a highly responsive audience he teased âOh you want the rowdy stuff, well thatâs fine cos Iâm into thatâ. Well the ârowdy stuffâ was soon to appear in the form of a rap duet with Memphis Bleek on â99 Problemsâ. This number replete with rock riffs proved a show stopper, sent the crowd wild, and any silenced any doubts about the merits of mixing the musical genres. This was just the start of many memorable moments in the show. The back projection was original and sometimes hard-hitting as dollars bills featured on the defiant âA billiâ and a picture of George Bush was roundly booed during Minority Report, an accusatory track with a damning indictment of Bushâs role in the Hurricane Katrina affair. The politicized part of the set ended on a note of hope with âPublic Service Annoucementâ and pictures of Barack Obama and the Union Flag.

Jay- Z exhorted the excited crowd to participate in singing the chorus of âJigga Whatâ and then got everyone waiving their hands during âShow me what you gotâ. He looked after the ladies at the concert too telling a male member of the audience who was behaving badly âHey Big Guy! Cut that outâ and devoting a section of the show to smoother mellower tunes as he launched into âCryâ, during which he conveyed a surprising level of emotion.

There were other surprises in store in the form of some charming anglo-flattery. Amy Winehouseâs Rehab received the full Jay âZ treatment. Furthermore, a nod to something typically English â the weather. After rapping to the Rihannaâs âUmbrellaâ he encouraged everyone to open their brollies and shake them up and down, which they duly did while he laid down a cool rap to Estelleâs âAmerican Boyâ. Then, the comic moment of the set- a rhyme that sent everyone into stitches. â London Bridges are falling down.. . Not bridges but britches when Jiggaâs in town. .. Ladies show us knickers⦠.âThen â¦. âquick run before the tabloids come, we might end up in the Sunâ .

Towards the end of the show Jay-Z got all 30,000 people in Hyde Park singing the chorus âHard Knock Lifeâ and then told the crowd simply âLondon, Iâm impressedâ And so were we: with the equally impressive unique cover of U2âs âSunday Bloody Sunday and in the encore by âWhat more can I sayâ during which the power and command with which the lyrics were delivered were spine tinglingly awesome. The show reached its final spectacular crescendo with âNumb/Encoreâ leaving everyone in no doubt that they had witnessed the undisputed king of hip-hop at his most glorious

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~MARK RONSON~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mark Ronson set to work for his second appearance in two years at the Wireless festival. As Mark pointed out this is his 4th London gig in one year (the first being Wireless 2007). However, whereas one year ago at this same venue his tunes sounded fresh, funky and exciting, it felt like too much radio airplay may taking its effect as many pockets of the crowd appeared blasé and it took a long time to get some sort of atmosphere going. That is not to say that the overall performance was bad. In fact, the musicians trying to animate were generally consummate professionals. South Londonâs Tawiah was her usual stalwart self and belted out âValerieâ as she has done at most live shows, proving an excellent substitution for Amy Winehouse. There was a surprise guest appearance from Tim Burgess from The Charlatans singing âThe Only One I Knowâ and a not so surprising second guest appearance for Wiley. The set also featured a version of Amy Winehouseâs Back to Black. Rappers Plastic Little were on hand to inject some pace into the show and this did perk up the crowd. However, the most talked about performance came from Lily Allen, who wandered on stage carrying beer bottle in one hand and cigarette in the other. Twice forgetting her words and once her cue, her contribution to the set was hardly inspiring. Thankfully, she received a let off due to great singing from the audience onâOh My Godâ and this anthem suddenly lit up the atmosphere in Hyde Park. Greatly missed was Alex Greenwald of the Phantom Menace whose crowd surfacing and scaffolding climbing antics thrilled crowds in venues across the nation last year. Daniel Merriweather once again provided a fitting finale with âStop Meâ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ROISIN MURPHY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Apart from a few spots from the cloudy skies above, the rain had held off during David Jordanâs set. The same could not be said for the next act Roisin Murphy. A torrential downpour 15 minute downpour sent many without umbrella or waterproof running for cover. Other brave souls some stayed, moving and grooving in the rain to enjoy one of the best sets of the festival. Aside from the rain, the set was as remarkable for the ex-Moloko singerâs beautifully haunting voice, the smoothly pulsating 80âs style electro beats and the 4 or 5 costume changes into outfits that could have come straight from a Visage new romantic video. Murphy and her two backing singers had lots of fun. They made their way slowly, one by one, onto stage with deliberately exaggerated robotic motions, Murphy wearing extremely futuristic shades. Then, there was the 3 way girly dancing to the infectious rhythms and finally, a play fight where they all ended on top of one another. Hard to pick out highlights in a set of this quality but amongst the most memorable wereâ, the high-NRG track âCry Baby|â , hit single âSomebody to Loveâ, and the title track from the latest album âOverpoweredâ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~DAVID JORDAN~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London based David Jordan was one of the early acts to appear on Thursday performing a half hour set. A small group of a couple of hundred had formed to watch at the front but as it was only 4pm most people were spread out across the grass enjoying what little sun there was as David Jordan strutted onto the cavernous Main Stage. Sporting mirror shades and what looked to be leopard print trousers (pants) his pop-soul flavoured act began. As he sang material from debut album âSet the Moodâ his moves bore an uncanny resemblance to Prince as did the song âPlace in My Heartâ. Highlights included the song âSet the Moodâ, which combined a chilled out intensity with passion filled crescendos and the folk-soul tinged anthem âSun Goes Downâ. This latter number would not have sounded out of place at a Stonehenge summer solstice celebration and brought an enjoyable half hour set to a close.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~KANO~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moving across to the tented SanDisk stage enabled some poor rain sodden individuals (including this reviewer) to dry off and appreciate the verbal dexterity of Hip-Hop/Grime artist Kano, whose collaborators now include such illustrious names as Damon Albarn and Craig David. His sharp and penetrating lyrics felt like rhythmically riding the rise the crest of a wave. Such favourites as âThis is the Girlâ were played and there was a live collaboration with Wiley during the set that sent an already ecstatic crowd into raptures.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ALICE SMITH~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Special mention must be made of valiant New York based Alice Smith who despite a miniscule audience in the SanDisk tent that fluctuated between 20 and 200 or so, technical problems including feedback and a bad adjusted mike stand, nonetheless, turned in a terrific performance. At the more traditional ballady end of R ânâ B, her voice pitches in somewhere between the sexy low vibrato of Eartha Kitt and the dramatic tonality of Grace Jones After a shaky start, her four octave voice soared. On âKnow that Iâ towards the end of the set her voice was simply spellbinding.
Words DARREN LEWIS

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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