Wireless Festival 2014: Kanye, Pharrell and Tinie Tempah wow Finsbury Park
As the heaving masses descended upon Finsbury Park on Friday for the first day of Wireless Festival 2014, one word could be heard over and over, muttered amid the rabble: Kanye. It was clear who everyone is there to see.
With a dwindling lineup (previously graced by the likes of The Who, Pulp, Fatboy Slim, and Morrissey) dangling from the coat tails of headliner Kanye West, it seems that Wireless has seen better years. Known for its eclectic performers, young crowds, and unabashed corporate endorsement, Wireless was once considered THE London festival and ranked among the greats, but in recent years its once water-tight lineup has lost its diversity.
Iggy Azalea kicked off the main event with a lacklustre performance that left the crowd wandering to the bar as she muttered along to a recorded track, falling short of her usual energy. This year was clearly about one man, but that didn’t stop both Pharrell and Tinie Tempah wowing the crowd with their performances. Tinie Tempah’s set was the most energetic all day, from start to finish. With crowd-pleasers like Frisky, he delivered the perfect performance. Similarly, Pharrell’s set went from hit to bigger hit, not only including his solo work, but also covering tracks he has been involved in like Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot, and Nelly’s Hot In Herre. There was an odd juxtaposition of inspirational feminist concepts promoting equal pay for women directly before launching into Robin Thicke’s misogynistic anthem for date rape Blurred Lines, but the irony appeared to be lost in the screams left over from his performance of She Wants to Move from Pharrell’s N*E*R*D days.
Finally it was time for the man himself. The crowd was electric and the smoke machines went into overdrive. The second his feet hit the stage the audience went wild, as he launched into Black Skinhead. His newest fashion venture, an embellished full-face mask, made an appearance, and was worn throughout most of the set, assuaging any fears as to the wellbeing of Kanye’s dramatic flair. Fan or not, Kanye is a dynamic performer.
His energy captivated the audience and his music is iconic. His performance of Runaway proved to be a particular highlight, featuring a 20-minute vocoded freestyle rant, which swung between slamming capitalism, the fashion industry, and the media, and mushy sentimentalism. There a very few artists who can take an audience from booing them to screaming to a cover of Jay Z’s Run this Town. Seeing Kanye live, it becomes quite clear how he has built up such a strong, diverse, and loyal following.
For further information about Wireless Festival 2014 visit the festival’s website here.
Watch the video for Kanye West – Black Skinhead here: