Monday, June 18, 2007

Gig review: O2 Wirless Festival

James Murphy, lead singer of LCD Soundsystem, is annoyed. It's 20 minutes into his set at the 02 Wireless Festival in London and he's still not happy with the way he sounds. He's constanrtly gesticulating to an off-stage sound man, trying to tweak something - his monitors, his microphone, a portuguese prostitute's nipple… we're not sure, but it's clearly irrirtating him.

By the end of the set, one of his band's keyboards has failed and Murphy storms off the stage in a huff. Someone rushes after him to see what's happening (clearly, the instruments that are working can just play themselves) before returning to the stage and telling the band to wind things up, shrugging her shoulders by way of explanation.

It was a pathetic showbiz strop. LCD Soundsystem actually sounded fine, and Murphy committed the cardinal sin of being so wrapped up in his own muso world that he forgot about the audience.

He would have done well to watch New Young Pony Club earlier in the day. They, too, had a few sound issues (lead singer Ty Bulmer drifted in and out of key seemingly at random) but the London five-piece threw themselves into the show with what can only be called gay abandon. They'd even dressed up for the occasion - keyboardist Lou Hayter had on her best blue party frock - and the crowd responded to their energy by bouncing up and down like over-inflated space hoppers. "When you react like that, it's almost like you've heard of us," remarked Bulmer.

Plan B was up next, rapping like a child who has just discovered the word "fuck". I went off to the beer tent.

For CSS, however, I was right up at the front and they were an absolute riot - of noise, of colour, of fun, of gleeful lunacy. Lovefoxxx appeared in a sequinned catsuit, which she later stripped off to reveal… erm, another jumpsuit (thus achieving levels of genius hitherto uncomprehendable by womankind). Bounding around the stage like a multicoloured bunny rabbit, she paused only to show off her patting-your-head-while-rubbing-your-tummy skills, and to sing a song while inhaling helium from a balloon. My new favourite band.

Rounding off the night were Daft Punk. I really don't get Daft Punk. They came out dressed in robot suits and stood in a "pyramid" for an hour-and-a-half while a ropey display from B&Q's lighting department blinked on and off around them.

The crowd went wild, but it could have been anyone in those suits. There weren't even any instruments on display, so who's to say it wasn't two out-of-work plumbers bopping around to a mix CD? All told, a massive and particularly crap practical joke.

CSS performing Let's Make Love at One Big Weekend

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