Live review: Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake close Wireless Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Monday 15 July 2013
"H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A/ For shizzle my nizzle used to dribble down to VA,” Jay-Z maintains on his rousing anthem “Izzo (HOVA)”. The nizzle does feel shizzled at this sizzling, three-day urban festival.
Wireless' new venue is located in a gravel pit with unspeakable burgers and a scary fairground ride. It's not always pretty but Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who performs on all three nights, is a godsend.
Tottenham's nimble lyricist Wretch 32 is an early highlight of this celebration of R&B and hip-hop, particularly on caustic “Traktor” where he beseeches “But you'll never catch me on a Jeremy Kyle Show.” The hordes of Ke$ha lookalikes relish “Your Love Is My Drug” and Virginian Trey Songz is met with a filling-shattering wail for his determinedly lewd R&B.
It's left to the inimitable Snoop Dogg with “Let's Get High”, “Who Am I (What's My Name?) and ”Drop It Like It's Hot“ and the beguiling Frank Ocean (both acts are bafflingly scheduled to perform at the same time) to energise the first day. Headline act Justin Timberlake is predictably slick, mixing Michael Jackson balladry with a smattering of Prince-influenced smut.
Saturday's better, with Chicago's disco maestros Earth, Wind and Fire opening with an absurdly short 40 minute slot at 1pm. However, Philip Bailey and his 11 compatriots gamely belt out the deeply funky “Boogie Wonderland”, “Fantasy” and “September”. Later in the day Rita Ora impresses with her robust vocals on “Roc the Life” and “How We Do (Party)”, while Emeli Sande, in her trademark blonde mohican, delivers blandly proficient soul. It's left to Jay-Z to entertain with “99 Problems” and the Sesame Street-like “It's a Hard Knock Life”. “I'm so excited,” claims the squillionaire. He doesn't look it, but this is a polished set capped off by a duet with Justin Timberlake on “Holy Grail”.
Sunday's best. By far. A$AP Rocky, the brilliant, belligerent (he packs a pistol, pops various things), weed-loving rapper from Harlem is a huge crowd pleaser with “Fashion Killa” and “Wild for the Night”. The 24-year-old is followed by veteran Nas, the poet of Queensbridge's latest record was an articulate expression of midlife crisis. He's greeted by a massive roar and it's a pity the 39-year-old doesn't join his old foe, Jay-Z, later for the “Legends of the Summer” finale.
Other veterans A Tribe Called Quest prove they can still kick it before the festival's heavyweights - Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake - see things out, taking turns playing hits, and welcoming Rihanna on “Run This Town”. For three days Jay-Z has owned this challenging venue.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
MOBO Awards 2014: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of nominated white artists
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
MOBO awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with another double elimination
Channel 5 set to give Big Brother the cold shoulder
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'