REVIEW: Wireless Festival @ Hyde Park, 3 July 2011

There is no way I can do a review of the third day of the Wireless Festival without mentioning the insane queue that we all faced to get in. I understand that it’s important to check what people are bringing into a festival but the level of searching going on could have given an airport a run for its money and considering that half the festival was off its tits on various narcotics and there were glass vodka bottles on the ground, I don’t necessarily think it worked that well.

After an hour and a half of waiting we eventually got in at about five, which meant that we missed Metronomy but caught half of The Horrors’ set. Unfortunately The Horrors did nothing to change my opinion that they’re *horrifically* boring live. I like The Horrors but they’re so deadpan live that it’s almost impossible to pay attention to them for more than a few minutes at a time.

In direct opposition, The Hives, came on and tore the whole festival apart. Goodness knows what possessed them to wear top hats and tails in 27 degree heat but they’ve never been known for their “sanity”. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist was on top form rambling and leaping around, attempting to convince the audience that a lack of adequate response was not only a danger to their personal safety but also denoted low intelligence. There is no question that every Hives song sounds virtually the same but they brought the energy that Wireless needed and got everyone smiling and dancing.

TV On The Radio followed with a sublimely bluesy soulful set. Sticking to the more upbeat side of their repertoire, Tunde Adebimpe’s powerful vocals swept across the crowd at the main stage, bringing out the best of the sundrenched early evening. Wolf Like Me was particularly triumphant but I would have loved to have heard some of the slower more low key songs. Probably not the best for a festival though.

From there we headed to the Pepsi Max tent to check out Foals. It was a bit of a mixed set. While the crowd was definitely into them, I found the twenty minute long shoegazy jam session they indulged in a bit much for seven in the evening, but then if I was off my face I would have loved it. Unfortunately we never got to find out what was next because their bass drum broke and proved impossible to repair cutting the whole set short.

The Foals’ disaster gave us the opportunity to stroll back to the main stage and catch the end of Grace Jones’ set. You have to hand it to her; she’s 63 and looks better in a thong than most twenty year olds. I can’t tell what was going on and why she had a hula-hoop on the go for the last two songs but she’s impossible to ignore. Go on Grace, you mad old bird!

Of course the band everyone was there for was Sunday’s headliners, Britpop sensations, Pulp. Charming from the little lyric snippets they projected on the backdrop before their grand entrance, it was hard not to get caught up the in the hysterical nostalgia. Although I wish the woman behind me had gotten slightly less caught up since she was managing to drown out the band. Seeing Pulp live reminds you just how filthy their lyrics are but watching Jarvis Cocker leaping around like that maths teacher you never should have fancied couldn’t help but inspire a teenage frisson of excitement. The set was hit-laden with old favourites like Pencil Skirt, F.E.E.L.I.N.G C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E., Misshapes, Bar Italia, I Spy, Babies, Sorted For E’s And Wizz and Disco 2000 inspiring massive sing-alongs before the inevitable crescendo of Common People brought it all to an end in a hail of tickertape. There is no question that Pulp still have it… probably more than any of the other  reunited 90’s bands I’ve seen in an attempt to relive my Britpop youth. Long may they continue to tour.

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