O2 Music Wireless Festival 2005


Hyde Park, London

by Joanna Orland, Isla MC & Marko Domazet

Day 1

JOANNA – Festival season is upon us once again. And of course weather is always an issue. Thank goodness us press people got freeponchos! We may have looked silly, but at least our clothes were dry!

On arrival at Hyde Park (well, actually half hour after arrival when I finally found the entrance gates) I met up with Graham Coxon. I have to admit I was bloody nervous, but we ended up having a very nice chat. We discussed festivals, musicians, life on the road, the Britpop era which he claims he was never a part of, and the trials and tribulations of being a father in today’s society. (read our interview with Graham in our interview section)

Following the chat session with the Coxon, I moved on to speak with Canadian darlings Tegan & Sara. Thank God they introduced themselves to me because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. While the sisters look almost identical, their personalities couldn’t be more different. (read our interview with Tegan & Sara and enter to win a signed copy of their album on our contest page *contest closed)

Then I chipped off to see Mr. Coxon on stage. Just as Graham had said, his set was about the music, not the banter. He slammed through his set with head down, fully absorbed in the music. Not much of a stage persona going on, it was just about a man and his music. It was a strong set with a tight sound that mimicked the studio albums very closely.

My original schedule told me that The Bravery was due to appear at 7pm. Needless to say it was completely wrong, so we got a pleasant surprise when The Bravery appeared on the main stage at half six. A solid performance with songs sounding EXACTLY as they do on the album. The only flaw was the lack of ‘Hot Pursuit’. I didn’t catch it in the set list, but I’ve been going slightly mad lately so don’t take my word for it that it wasn’t included. They could’ve played it while I was distracted by the hairy topless man in front of me.

Next we headed over to the XFM tent to check out Fischerspooner. Maybe it was one of those things where we got there in the middle of the set and couldn’t latch onto the vibe, but it seemed a bit flat and peculiar to me. The costume changes were a nice touch, but the music didn’t really impress. And I spent the entire set trying to remember what that famous hit song of theirs was. I finally gave up and was heading to the Drowned In Sound stage when it Emerged. They closed their set with THAT song. I didn’t bother to stick
around.

Tegan & Sara. They impressed me in the interview, but could they reinstate the excitement I had felt before Fischerspooner? To be honest, they were really good, but the set didn’t excite me as much as I had hoped. The problem was the sound. Maybe it’s because I’m an audio geek extraordinaire, but they were plagued with an extended public soundcheck (never a good thing) and when they started their set the guitars were imbalanced and you could barely hear Tegan’s voice. What I could hear was very nice. Great songs, great voices. Should’ve been on the XFM stage.

Then it was time for Loose Lips faves The Dears. Ah The Dears… what can we say?

Definitely the highlight of the day’s performances. They had a strong turnout, with fans cheering in recognition at the beginning of EVERY song. They are tight, powerful, haunting, melodic, dramatic, epic. It was like watching musical theatre with emotions being drawn out, pulled up and down both lyrically and musically. Murray the singer of the band gave it his all, while George the drummer was spot on in his timing and funky fills. He seemed so absorbed in the music, singing along even though he had no microphone. Audience sing/clap-a-longs and a very pregnant keyboardist revealing her tummy
surprised and lightened the mood to end on a hopeful and inspiring note.

As we had missed Moby’s performance (which we didn’t actually mind), it was left to New Order to finish off the day. They had a severe challenge ahead of them considering how emotionally drained we were from The Dears’ set. They played some classic hits including the Joy Division repertoire, but they seemed like they were just going through the motions, and lacked any kind of performance. Nevertheless, we’ve gathered some classic quotes delivered during their set:

New Order: “Does anyone out there suffer from Hayfever?”
New Order: “Kyou. Notice we said ‘kyou’ and not ‘thank you’.”
Us: “Is it me, or did he just put on CHAPSTICK?

Day 2

JOANNA – Having barely recovered from the previous day’s antics, I put on my dancing shoes (aqua-coloured jelly slippers) and headed back to Hyde Park. It’s a shame it wasn’t a camping included sort of festival – would’ve saved a bit of pocket money on the Oyster Card.

Anyways, yesterday’s weak turnout and torrential downpour didn’t put a shadow on Saturday’s Wireless festival. The sky was still overcast, but determined festival-goers still showed up in vests, shorts and sunglasses to dance the day away.

I didn’t get there right when the gates opened, although I did catch the end of Telepopmusik and, I have to say, they weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. I had one of their albums at one point and it just sounded a bit generic to me. But live, they seemed like a good laugh.

Up next was the wonderful Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band. The sheer energy they brought onto the stage was enough to wake up every sleepy Saturday festival-goer. They didn’t just play the music, they jumped around, did tricks and even added pyro to get the crowd going. At first the crowd wasn’t very responsive and was shouting things like “Get on with the music” and “Less talk, more rock” (okay, no one actually said THAT one, but you get the idea). By the end of it, the band had the crowd wrapped around their lovely chubby little fingers with the crowd chanting, hooting, singing along, obviously as impressed as I was at this lively performance! Any band that’s based their music around drums, percussion and DJs has to be a winner. And of course, pyro never hurts.

We not only had the honour of watching the Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band perform live, but we got a 25 minute glimpse into the lives of the three band members. Actually, it was more like 15 minutes, since 10 of them were spent trying to detach one of them from his chair (we won’t give you his name to save his blushes). Just a day in the life of Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band. (read our interview with the RM & JH Band)

Having missed the beginning of the Stereo MCs set (we missed ‘Connected’ – doh!), we found ourselves dancing about to the second half. I’m always a bit weary of DJ-type samply bands, but bring in a live drummer and all is forgiven. Bring in two diva-like back-up singers, all is forgiven and MORE. Today’s Wireless was all about the diva, which is good because the lead dude in Stereo MCs was definitely lacking something. He was quite haggard looking (could just be a life of too many drugs) and a bit flat. At one point I was worried that he wouldn’t get back up on the stage after diving into the audience. But those fine ladies kicked it up a notch and added the soul power that made this performance dance-worthy and mesmerizing. Go girls!

We closed the night with a dance or two to the sound of Basement Jaxx. Fuckin’ A. Again, all about the divas. Countless lady singers, countless costume changes. With an encore filled with dozens of men in funny hats playing marching drums, with fine ladies shakin’ their booties in showgirl outfits you couldn’t help but love it.

ISLA – Well well well. Day two of the o2 Music Wireless Festival 2005 in London’s Hyde Park! I didn’t look like a minger today (unlike day one) because fortunately the heavens had closed, so I didn’t have to wear my poncho which made me look like a giant condom. Unfortunately I still looked like a spaz. This is because I dance like a malcoordinated version of my mother.

Highlights of today included being in the next toilet cubicle to Lady Sovereign. I know that sounds like a really pathetic thing to get excited about, but I SWEAR I heard her take a shit. And I bet there’re not many people who can say that about the Sov. Also, we got LUSH foot spas and massages into the hideously corporate o2 area. And the joys of being press meant that even though I’m not an o2 customer I still got in. HAHAHAHA!!! Take that o2!! Actually, I could probably sue because my foot spa got so hot my foot went bright red and nearly left me with third degree burns.

Musical highlights (that is the point after all) include Stereo MCs who were only alright, but had awesome lady vocals. Main guy looks ROUGH. Too many drugs in his lifetime methinks. Basement Jaxx were ace. Their costumes were the epitome of fabulousness, as were their lady vocalists. Today is the day for lady vocalists!! The Jaxx’s wind (ha ha) section were kind of creepy though – scary white boiler suits (they also looked like giant condoms) and black make-up. The best bit was the nutty encore with a massive band of people in dodgy tall panama-style hats. HILARE!

The day’s ultimate highlight was Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band from Norway, whose set was wicked cool! They were so enthuasiastic. So enthusiastic in fact that percussion guy (Thomas?) knocked his whole drum kit over! But no matter! He simply hared around the stage with a single cymbal and it was still wicked! Lots of great pyro too. Apparently all their equipment got stolen on the way over here, which they blamed on faux-rivals Royksopp! Ha ha. One way ticket to the tabloids!

Day 3

JOANNA – Today we have RUFUS WAINWRIGHT!!! My personal favourite singer /songwriter/God. I’ve loved his music since his first album came out in Canada about 7 years ago or something ridiculous like that. Sigh… Alas, the public has caught on and gig ticket prices have rocketed and the sell-out rate is enormous. That’s ok – his latest album sucks anyways. Don’t believe the hype. Buy the first (self-titled) and the third (Want One). Then you shall witness the true genius that is The Rufus.

Martha Wainwright (his sister) also played. Isla thinks I don’t like her because she’s Rufus’ sister, therefore not as good as him in my eyes. I’ve tried telling her a million times – I just don’t like chick singers. The only female vocalists I have ever liked in my life have been either cheesy 80’s pop stars (all hail Cyndi Lauper!!!) or electro goddesses (Le Tigre, Bjork and not many others). So why would I like a female singer-songwriter whether or not she’s related to a talented male piano God? I respect her talent – which she possesses, but I don’t think that requires me to like her music. I also respect Neil Young and his songwriting skills, but please don’t make me listen to a eunuch in heat! Don’t even get me started about Morrissey.

Supergrass played. They were great at Glasto last year. What happened since then? Rapid hair loss and the sweats I suppose. Pick up the pace boys!

Keane. Are we the only ones who think the singer is the spitting image of cartoon legend Porky Pig? Take another look and just TRY to challenge me on this one!!!

Right. I’m off to watch some Looney Tunes. Ta.

ISLA – So now it’s day three. And what did this have in store for us I hear you ask. Well… it was a boiling hot day and I arrived dressed for the Arctic. Not to be deterred I simply used this as an excuse to go shopping, which was an excellent start to the day. So dressed in my new hippy robes (does anyone else find that as soon as the summer festivals come round they turn into a crusty?) off we trundled to check out Rufus Wainwright. Now, do not underestimate the power of Joanna’s love for The Rufus – or Rufus the Baptist as one fan titled him. So she buggered off to the photo pit to get as close to her beloved as possible while I lazed on the grass and waited to see what all the fuss was about.

I decided I liked him when he mentioned two of my beloveds, Jeff Buckley and Turner. I thought ‘Now there’s a man after my own heart’. Then when he covered ‘Hallelujah’ I was a goner. At this point it must be mentioned that after Rufus said ‘That was written by a great Canadian – Leonard Cohen’, some drunkard in the audience yelled ‘There are no great Canadians!’ Which was unnecessary I feel – especially since he was thoroughly enjoying The Rufus.

I fell for Rufus’ sister Martha even harder. I really think I love her. There’s something so lovely and warm about her. But Jo refuses to like any non-electro female musicians, or to see beyond The Rufus, so was well pleased when he came on stage during Martha’s set. I, however, was distracted by the fact that he was wearing the TIGHTEST TROUSERS I’VE EVER SEEN. Seriously, I’m worried he’s going to impair his fertility.

Other notable incidents of the day include:

When Gaz from Supergrass had to stop to catch his breath. Was this a joke or are they just getting on a bit? Also he is SERIOUSLY balding which is a terrible look when you’re trying to work one of those indie-boy haircuts.

When I sneezed in the press room and Ian McCulloch from Echo and the Bunnymen said ‘Bless you’. That was cool.

Keane – sexy outfit but Porky Pig face.

For day four’s commentary we hand over to our representatives (since we had to jet-set off to Denmark for the Roskilde festival). Let the festivities continue!

Day 4 – The Return Of The Marko

Marko – I’ve never considered myself to be much of a festival-goer, but then again I was taught to always listen to my boss, so when Isla with the great boobs and Janna of Canadia approached me about doing some Wireless coverage, I knew there was no escape. Also, I really wanted to wear my cowboy boots again. I started doing my research, reading my magazines and checking out the acts that were playing on the day. Still, there was nothing that could prepare me for the drama James, my partner in crime, and myself encountered on that rainy day in Hyde Park.

The actual event was rather well organised. The staff were nice and friendly and the crowds were cool. Our next adventure was an interview with the Norwegian/British band the Cherubs. They were cool and talked about taking over the world. Having just started out, the Cherubs are focusing on promoting their stuff hoping it will result in a record deal. However, they got slightly upset when I called them a boy band (Hello! They’re boys and they’re in a band) and referred to me as a cheeky sod. (read my interview with Cherubs)

One thing that’s as hot as melting butter is The Rakes. The band absolutely rocked and gave a hell of an interview. The Rakes showed refreshingly unpretentious tendencies by taking the time to answer my stupid questions, claiming they were not interested in world domination and showing all of us that there are more things to life than wearing stripes and prancing around (take that 99 % of you in the press area). (read my interview with The
Rakes)

Most of the live sets we saw were pretty cool. Kasabian rocked and if the lead singer would ever be interested in a career change, I suggest he either becomes my PA in charge of fellatio, or gets a job as Ewan McGregor’s body double. Ladytron should consider moving around the stage a bit more and perhaps even smiling (Lord knows you don’t have to worry about wrinkles until you hit 35.) El Presidente deserve a mention as well, mainly because they kept referring to themselves in third person and they have alter egos, which is always cool. It worked for the Spice Girls, right?

All in all, it was a good day. The only mystery I would like to unravel is everyone’s fascination with stripes. The chairs were stripy, as were the majority of the people in the press area. Is it because indie people aren’t as indie as they think they are? Or is there, God forbid, a fashion trend happening that I am yet to be informed about? Since it didn’t say anything about stripes in my latest Topshop newsletter, I choose to believe that the so-called indie people, in their zebra-inspired attires, need to invest in dictionaries and look up the word independent. I propose we introduce a stripe charge at events such as this one. It would make people think twice and introduce a bit of variety. Or I could just get a job as a fashion police officer. Now that would be hot!

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