I said, lets all meet up in the year 2011, be there at 2 oclock by Hyde Park down the road yes, you guessed right, this weekend just gone was host to Pulp headlining the Wireless Festival, where, ironically, I couldnt get a wireless signal on my phone. Wireless was a highly anticipated music milestone this year, as it was the first announced live show that Pulp would have played in nine years. And the special guests were also very notable Foals, currently riding the waves of success on their second album, Total Life Forever, The Hives, a Swedish rock band known for their, um, rather energetic shows, and TV On The Radio, the versatile music-men from Brooklyn who I swear have played every genre of music known to man, as well as inventing a few new ones. Obviously there was not going to be enough time to check out every single band playing at the festival, so I concocted a plan to bounce between the Main Stage and the oddly sponsored Pepsi Max Stage I decided instantly to forsake both the Barclaycard Unwind Stage and the Bandstand Stage entirely, because they were host to some very small-time bands and compared to some of the acts playing on the other two stages, it really was not worth it. First up on the Main Stage was Vintage Trouble, who I can only describe as a mash-up between the late James Brown and ZZ-Top. Hailing from Los Angeles, theyre a very recent band, having only been going a year, but have already been featured on Jools Holland, so theyve made a very promising start. I urge you all to drop everything right now and go listen to them. Tracks I recommend are Nancy Lee and Blues Hand Me Down. Zig-zagging my way through the growing crowds and passing through the delightful coolers (a small tent which literally rains on you), I checked out Yuck on the Pepsi Max Stage. In all honestly, they had the charisma of a corpse, and their songs, while certainly not bad, were very forgettable. Even after I exited the tent I struggled to remember any of their choruses. The three compliments I can give them are these: the lead guitarist showed off some very nice electric slide guitar work, the bass player had the guts to wear some sort of pyjama-onesies, and the drummer had the most brilliant white-man-afro. I spent most of their set tempted to leap on stage and stick my hand right in it, and see if it would resurface or not. After that disappointment, I managed to catch the end of Metronomys set on the main stage, and having never heard their music before, came to the conclusion after one and a half songs that they were a cross between Foals and Hot Chip. But I may be entirely wrong! Following Metronomy were the brilliant Hives, who were without a doubt one of the highlights of the day for me. Pelle Almqvist is one of the most brilliant frontmen Ive ever seen, and the band as a whole had great energy. Playing classics such as Hate To Say I Told You So as well as new material from their forthcoming, yet-to-be-named fifth album, The Hives really got the crowd going, and Almqvist regularly leapt into the crowd, insulting us all and proclaiming that The Hives were one of the greatest bands in the world, and at one point, he even made a field of 55,000 people sit down. Yes, you read that right! Those who refused to sit down he proclaimed The village idiots. Theres one in every town, and apparently they came here to Wireless. An absolutely brilliant performance! TV On The Radio succeeded The Hives on the main stage, but I admit I didnt pay much attention to their set sad to say, they just lacked the infectious energy The Hives had, so I went off to the highly recommended (by Jarvis Cocker himself!) pizza van and then slowly made my way back over to the Pepsi Max Stage for the much anticipated Foals set, which I think was the reason half the young kids were there. But It was a set mired by technical difficulty. Halfway through their second song, Total Life Forever, the drummer, Jack Bevan, somehow managed to break the kick drum, of all things. After the song, the lead guitarist, Jimmy Smith, claimed that every time play in London, theres always some major technical catastrophe. Well, it must have been a very London show then, because the technical failures kept coming Smith proceeded to spend half the set fiddling around with the monitors, leaving lead singer Yannis Philippakis to sing the first third of Spanish Sahara completely acapella. Most disappointingly, the band decided to miss out their early hits Mathletics and Balloons off their set list, and then walked off without a word to the crowd after playing their final song Two Steps Twice. Foals, if at some point you happen to stumble across the article while googling yourselves, all I can say to you is this: please dont break your drums or guitars mid-set, it makes for a rather let-down performance. Pulp! Yes, after Foals came the big cheese on the Main Stage. Taking their time to hype up the crowd with various messages on a giant TV screen, such as You ready? Okay, lets do it, the band finally unveiled themselves and launched into Do You Remember The First Time?, and sounded as if there were in the prime of their career again. In other words: Pulp were back in full force, and it was brilliant. Hello! Welcome and stuff. Were Pulp, but youd know that if you can read, said frontman Jarvis Cocker, gesturing at the giant neon lettering spelling out the bands name. Turned out Cocker was quite fond on rattling on during songs, and paid tribute to the late Jim Morrison, singer of Doors, who died forty years ago on Sunday. Cocker also paid tribute to his mother on the song Babies, which he deemed wildly inappropriate once you hear the lyrics. The band played a storming set comprised of mostly hits. Heres the list:
Do You Remember The First Time? Pink Glove Mile End Mis-Shapes Something Changed Disco 2000 Sorted For Es And Wizz F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E I Spy Babies Underwear This Is Hardcore Sunrise Bar Italia Common PeopleFinishing up with arguably their most famous song, Cocker intended it as an insult against all the rich people who live at the back of the park, and the show finished with a tumultuous blast of confetti as Cocker joked See you at the next reunion, probably in fifteen years time. Along with the millions of Pulp fans, I sincerely hope its a lot sooner than that.