Wireless Festival 5th July 2015, Finsbury Park London
Normally a pilgrimage north up the Victoria Line takes us to Seven Sisters to get the overground to White Hart Lane. Not today. We got off early for the marvellous Finsbury Park. Its amazing that a capital city the size of London has so many large open spaces, such as this. Perfect locations for a concert or festival.
The bill at this year’s Wireless was really strong, sadly we only made it for the Saturday, but we were to be given the marvellous treats of Tanashe, Mary J Blige, Gorgon City, Stormzy, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and Avicii. There were lots of other acts on show, but these were the highlights and/or big names.
We get there just in time to see the end of Raleigh Ritchie‘s performance. He belted out his known tracks, supported by a great band. He displayed amazing energy and covered more ground than your average cross country runner. His vocals were on point and he genuinely entertained the early largely female biased crowd.
Later Tanashe was to emerge performing some newer material and also her biggest tunes. If I am honest, I was a little disappointed. Her vocals were OK and the tracks were known, but it just felt a little like she was going through the motions although she obviously had a few fans in the audience as she got them joining in.
Mary J Blige on the other hand. Phenomenal! Performing her tracks through the ages, the crowd was starting to get going and the numbers grew. The girls were singing and the boys were nodding their heads. Mary J gave a performance for the ages. Cracking out hit after hit and really got the crowd buzzing. She was cutting shapes to a much great scale than any acts that went before her, much to the appreciation of the crowd. Real Love was my favourite track of the great set. Mary J Blige was simply superb.
Gorgon City came on and to be honest, another disappointing set. Maybe its just my lack of interest, but again they seemed to engage the audience and I left to go for a drink as the sun beat down on me.
However, the same could not be said for Childish Gambino. My god that boys has skills. DJ Charley and Paul Rosenberg had a tongue in cheek battle before his appearance, with Rosenberg showing great appreciation for the UK scene. But Childish Gambino was immense. He got the crowd going for him. Every lyric was rapped back at him and he proved why he is such a big name on the US Hip Hop scene at the moment.
In what was a real shameful piece of scheduling, Stormzy was on towards the end of the Childish Gambino set. So as he finished we rushed to the Capital stage. Stormzy suffered a little from poor sound as you could still hear some of the music from the main arena. However, he really got his, albeit smaller crowd, going to his tracks. Producing a fine display of album material and some of his best known material. He was also let down by the distraction of a little bit of a disturbance somewhere in the crowd. Seemed to be a bit of a scuffle.
Then there was a gap in proceedings as far as I was concerned as I waited for the main act. Yes I know Avicii was headliner but for me, this was all about one man. Kendrick Lamar. Boy he didn’t disappoint. Hit after hit after hit. Before the show I wondered if his psychedelic music would play out to an open space and whether he could deliver his rhymes in such an environment. There was no reason to fear. The boy was fire. The crowd didn’t stop moving from the first to the last minute and at times they were so loud it was a struggle to hear Kendrick himself.
Swimming Pools was amazingly well received, although no surprise there. In fat the whole set had the crowd buzzing, from start to finish. The main disappointment was the lack of new material. His new album his stunning yet there wasn’t enough from To Pimp A Butterfly. That was a minute criticism, with me trying to find something to pick on. It was a ridiculously good show from Kendrick.
Then there was Avicii. We went home straight after Kendrick. Sorry 🙂