Wireless Festival 2014: dancing in the rain to Bruno Mars and Outkast
The last day of Wireless 2014 began with overcast skies, but soon the sun peeked out and warmed the skins of the young Finsbury Park crowds. John Newman is the man blessing the main stage with his presence when the first rays hit the green, making the audience sing along to tracks like Disclosure collaboration Not Giving In and Love Me Again. Hiding from the vitamin D, Bleachers plays their arena-friendly pop-rock in a tent. Riding on the Imagine Dragons/1975 wave with smoothly produced rock and big sounds they would have been better suited on a bigger stage sound-wise. Maybe next year.
Following rapper J Cole, Ellie Goulding hits the main stage mid-festival dressed in see-through sweatpants and a Mickey Mouse bralet. Recording the gig for MTV, she seems to be giving it her all, creating an atmosphere perfect for her music. Her raspy voice is truly unique and completely captures the listeners’ attention. She delivers songs like Starry Eyed and I Need Your Love and it’s clear she is a hit-making machine.
It is not until Outkast enter the main stage that the party really gets going though. As if on cue, the moment they go on stage the grey clouds in the sky lets go of the rain. Immediately Outkast takes control of the whole of Finsbury Park, uniting all the festival attendees with monster tracks like Hey Ya! and Ms Jackson. The rain don’t stop the masses adorned in flower crowns from dancing as if there was no tomorrow and the hip-hop duo shows everyone what they’re about.
Meanwhile, on a different stage, Robin Thicke has gathered a crowd. Bathing in purple light and sat by a grand piano accompanied by backing singers in little black dresses and wind instrumentalists, Thicke could easily have held his show in a casino or similar sleek space. He feels a bit out of place, and does not manage to engage for the most part of the performance. Maybe it’s the controversy surrounding him lately, with sexist tracks and divorces, that still lingers in people’s minds and lies as a film of scepticism over the performance. When the questionable Blurred Lines comes on the crowd goes crazy, and is seems that what was mistaken for some well-needed scepticism was just the impatient wait for the massive hit. He also attempts a cover of Michael Jackson’s Rock with You that might have blended in well with his own songs, but simply falls flat without much personality put into the performance.
The headliner of the day takes the stage with a setting sun and a rainbow after the cloudburst. Bruno Mars opens the show with one of his biggest hits, The Lazy Song. The crowds continue on the same joyful dancing line that Outkast started, and many seem to have come here today first and foremost for Mars. Like some of the acts earlier on the day, radio music has a tendency to sound bleak live since there is sometimes little soul invested in the music. Mars seems to be the opposite of this: he makes the songs vibrant with his stage presence and the happiness he emits. It is refreshing with an artist the size of Mars to see that he allows himself to just smile and not keep up a cool façade. Standing in the huge crowd, it really strikes you how many hits the Hawaiian songwriter has accomplished in his career so far when you know the lyrics to each and every song.
Someone who pulls off Rock with You a bit better than Thicke is Mars himself. He has just the right fullness to his voice to fill the song with the right vibes. And he has the moves! Mars is a natural at dancing, the girls in the crowd swooning. Synced dance routines with his lively onstage team and pyrotechnics frame what in the end is a great performance, and when the cavalcade of hits finally peters, he bids farewell to Finsbury Park, rounding off Wireless for this year.
For further information about Wireless Festival 2014 visit the festival’s website here.
Watch Bruno Mars’s video for Treasure here: