We headed down to east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to catch all of the festivities at this year’s Wireless Festival…
Kicking off on Friday, we ventured through the main entrance of the Olympic Park and along to our very own stage to catch performances from Ceezlin, grime duo Brotherhood and the Bakery Boys, before heading off to catch an expectedly wild and energy-fuelled performance from Waka Flocka at the Yahoo! Stage.
Next up on our list of must-see acts was John Legend on the main stage. Legend emerged from backstage dapperly dressed in a suit and serenaded the crowd with a 45 minute set of some of his most-loved hits such as Ordinary People, Green Light and Used To Love You.
Following John Legend, we dashed back to our own tent to catch a performance from Jacob Banks. In what was only a short performance, Banks did well to calm the lively festival audience with his sooth and soulful vocals. Covering Bob Marley’s Is This Love and Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, as well as performing tracks, Rainy Day, Worthy and Homecoming and from his debut Monologue EP.
In line with the RnB vibe, we headed across to the Pepsi Max stage to watch Frank Ocean’s set. As part of his European tour, Ocean performed a host of hits from his respective projects Notalgia Ultra and Channel Orange, including; Novacane, Crack Rock, Super Rich Kids, Bad Religion and Thinkin’ Bout You.
Concluding the night was headliner Justin Timberlake, providing some much-needed calm to what was a rather hot, humid and excitable day. Justin wowed the crowd with past classics, Cry Me A River, Sexy Back, Rock Your Body and Senorita, before delving into brand new 20/20 Experience cuts Pusher Love Girl, Mirrors and, of course, Suit & Tie.
Saturday highlights included a performance from Norwich-born up-and-comer Context. Performing recent hits 1.4 at 12 and Small Town Lad Sentiments (the latter of which was recently remixed by The Streets’ Mike Skinner), as well as lesser known tracks Capital and 20 Somethin’, Context did well to inject some energy in to the crowd and added some much needed homegrown talent to a line-up which was, for the most part, a real US affair..
Other Saturday highlights included Kendrick Lamar’s performance on the main stage. Performing a set laced with classic mixtape and album cuts, Lamar did well to balance his set list to appease both his longtime and newly found supporters. Tinie Tempah also made an unannounced appearance on Saturday night. Visiting the Pepsi Max stage, Tinie came out to his international hit, Written In The Stars, before rifling through his back-catalogue and eventually premiering his brand new single, Trampoline, much to the appreciation of the lively festival crowd.
Come Saturday night, it was Jay Z’s turn to headline the main stage. Performing a huge 1 hour and 40 minute set crammed with hits including, 99 Problems, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, Big Pimpin’ and P.S.A, among a selection of brand new MCHG tracks, Tom Ford, Somewhereinamerica and Picasso Baby, Jay also did well to blend his past and present hits. However, with a back-catalogue as extensive as Hov’s, there is never a shortage of crowd pleasers. With some great interaction with his audience, Jay Z really stole the weekend with this confident and impassioned performance.
Sunday saw the likes of the A$AP Rocky hit up the main stage alongside the A$AP Mob, performing the likes of 1 Train, F**kin’ Problems, Goldie and Peso. Fellow US chart-topper 2 Chainz was also present at the festival. Arriving late, the Atlanta-native led an uninspired performance on the Pepsi Max stage, rifling through a set of what seemed to be more geared towards his notable features than his own material.
Elsewhere, Giggs shut down the Yahoo! Stage with bangers, Don’t Go There, Monster Man and Look What The Cat Dragged In, as well as performing a fresh and previously unheard track from his forthcoming sophomore album, When Will It Stop, ultimately proving his ability to rock a festival crowd. Main stage next year? We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Besides Giggs, Nas also led a performance full of his notable classics, dropping gems; If I Ruled The World and Hate Me Now, before moving on to more recent hits, Daughters, and, Cherry Wine, as well as performing his emotive remix of J. Cole’s Let Nas Down.
As the sun dropped over London, and the heat only slightly, it was time for the finale of the weekend; Jay Z and Justin’s double headline performance. The pair performed a set of both solo and collaboration tracks, with Justin filling in for vocals on some of Jigga’s biggest hits such as, I Just Wanna Love U, Izzo (H.O.V.A), and, Excuse Me Miss. Eventually rounding things off with Suit & Tie as an encore, the duo did well to strike the balance between their own respective audience and sounds. Besides the similarities in their levels of notoriety, many people wouldn’t expect a show between JT & Jigga to run so smoothly. Despite this, the song choices and overall production of the show appeared to be meticulously planned to flow effortlessly throughout. In what was a gargantuan set spanning over two and a half hours, they provided the crowd with a more than value for money performance, which even included a cameo appearance from Rihanna for Run This Town and, ultimately, laid to rest a weekend of great music, good weather and all-round awesome vibes.
Watch our highlights video from Wireless right here.
Review by Ash Houghton.