With our tickets in hand months and months ago, we've spent a long time waiting for this day to arrive and today it was finally here.
We set off for Hyde Park in central London for the 2008 O2 Wireless Festival headlined by Fatboy Slim.
It was quite a cross country dash, but we made it to Hyde Park just after 2.15pm and so just in time to see the last couple of minutes of The Whip. It seems strange that I hadn't heard of this band until one week ago but it just goes to show how much can change in a week. The Whip are an exceptionally talented indie electronic band and they have just released their first album, X Marks Destination. If you like The Faint then you'll like The Whip. Their show was really live and these guys are really energetic and confident on stage. They kicked the day off in excellent festival style. I imagine that I'll have to buy their album now because they are that good.
I've been raving about Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip for several months now and was pleased as punch when Chris got me their new album Angles for my birthday. These guys are brilliant and I really, really like their lyrics. I'm not usually into hip hop, which this band are, but I just can't resist the charms of a band that says "Radiohead - just a band". A show like this is hard to judge because much of their music is sampled and accompanied by live lyrics. Nevertheless, it was great to see them in the flesh and to see their dynamic up on stage and all in all they were pretty enjoyable and I got to dance around and sing at the top of my lungs.
We had a bit of lunch after that and then I watched one or two songs from Cut Copy. The guy has got a great voice but I definitely needed a bit of a rest after the first two bands.
I have this silly little habit where I categorise all my music into genres so I can navigate my collection easier on my iPod. Well, Allmusic.com got this one spectacularly wrong because Sam Sparro is as indie electronic as Marilyn Manson is gospel. In fact, I've been fighting the whole week against liking this artist because I was unsure whether he was perhaps too mainstream for my liking.
Silly notions of music snobbery aside, Sam Sparro is the best surprise I have had in years. It is easy to see how talented he is just by listening to his music but it took the live show to blow my mind. He was phenomenal and it was one of the biggest mistakes of the festival to put a man with this much talent in a small tent off the main stage. Well, he almost blew the top off that tent and the tent was packed to capacity. He seemed honestly surprised at the reception he received and seemed to really appreciate it. I guess that's the last time any festival is going to put this man in a small tent. Expect big things from him in the future.
The best part of his set (yes, he deserves three paragraphs) was him covering Black Box “Ride On Time” and Crystal Waters “Gypsy Woman (La da dee da da da)”. It was just so ad lib and so... entertaining. Brilliant show.
Unfortunately, the next couple of hours turned a possible 10/10 festival experience to only a 7/10 one. First, I waited about 45 minutes to go to the portaloos. I'll give them credit in that the facilities remained spotless right through the event but the organisation was horrid and you just can't ignore the calls of nature. I emerged after 45 minutes and managed to catch the last remaining refrains of “Weird Science” by Does It Offend You, Yeah? I'm really disappointed by not seeing this band.
We decided to get some drinks and to check out the main stage. Then we went back to the ridiculously small tent to catch some MSTRKRFT and to grab a spot for Underworld. Well, we weren't the only one with that idea and over an hour before Underworld was to begin, the tent was full to capacity and the organiser had closed the gate thereby disallowing any further access to the tent. Actually, we missed seeing Underworld. I think I'm going to have to give the festival a 6/10. How on earth do you make not one but two mistakes of putting massive acts like Sam Sparro and Underworld in tiny little tents when it is obvious that they should be main stage acts?
Moving on swiftly, we did catch Deadmau5 who puts on a very cute techno DJ set. Chris wasn't too impressed but then he never has liked Deadmau5. I reckon I would seek out this guy if he was ever doing a DJ set at another festival or something - he wasn't too bad at all (if you like banging techno) - but I wouldn't buy his stuff.
Eventually the man himself came on. For Deadmau5, we had a spot right at the front near the stage (on account of not being able to get into the Underworld tent). However, the Absolutely Smashed people around us got a bit too much for us and we moved right out for Fatboy Slim's set. We were pretty exhausted by then and we tried to dance a bit but he just wasn't as good as he was when we saw him at the Colab in Centurion in South Africa. He rocked my socks off at the previous gig!!! In the end, we decided to go and we took a leisurely stroll towards the exits stopping for hot dogs and pancakes and wondered why we hadn't just spent the entire day on these super-comfortable sofa-type things by the food area.
As we were leaving, Fatboy Slim played “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream vs The Hoxtons. I remembered when he played that at Colab and I was blown away that he was pretty much playing an entire Cream song at a dance gig! All in all it was a good day with great memories. While we were disappointed in some respects, the are always going to be situations like today where you just can't predict the popularity of a rapidly rising star (no excuse for not realising the pulling power of Underworld though). Spending 45 minutes in line for the toilet is never going to go down well and that certainly could have been better marshalled but as I mentioned before, those facilities were spotless by the end of the evening and you really can't fault them on that.
All in all I'll give the day 8/10 then because I just know I'll be singing Sam Sparro all week.