Here’s a reprint of my review of BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend that ran in Hot Press.
BBC RADIO ONE’S BIG WEEKEND
EBRINGTON SQUARE, DERRY
Boasting a bill that would make the Norse Gods of Valhalla whisper “hold on a second lads, this looks like it could be too much fun for us,” BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend is back in Derry with a bang and it’s crammed full of performers that would make the most pickiest festival punter’s mouth water. Hot Press has arrived bright and early on Sunday for the best line-up of the last three days and we’re just in time to see 30 Seconds To Mars scamper onstage. Led by singer, actor and former squeeze of Angela Chase (google it) Jared Leto, the band have grown into bona fide headliners over the last decade and open the main stage in style, provoking mass singalongs to ‘The Kill’ despite the 1pm start.
Sadly we miss Haim due to a scheduling clash, but we catch popstrels Little Mix and their canny cover of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ impresses. Miles Kane is up next and he strides on to the In New Music We Trust stage clad in a fetching white suit which makes him look like the coolest ice-cream man on earth. ‘Inhaler,’ newies ‘Give Up’ and ‘Taking Over’ sound massive thanks to some amped up riffs that are fuzzier than a two year old tooth-brush and he looks ready to take things to the next level.
Wretch 32 on the other hand struggles to work the crowd and as a result there’s a mass exodus over to the INMWT stage as people want to get up close and personal with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. In fact, such is the excitement for the rapper, they’ve had to close the doors and refuse entry to hundreds (if not thousands) of punters, making for one of the most electric atmospheres this writer has experienced in moons. Looking like he hasn’t a notion what time or even day it is, the jet-lagged hip-hopper is welcomed like a hero and he returns the favour by dropping ‘Thrift Shop’ nice and early and the venue erupts.’One Love’ ably proves that you can be a mainstream rap act and not be a sexist, homophobic wanker, while ‘Can’t Hold Us’ sounds monstrous as the festival go-ers pogo as one causing the tent to quiver and shake like a blancmange on a bouncy castle and it feels like a watershed moment for the performer and one many won’t forget.
Jake Bugg is an odd way to come down from Mackle-Mania, but it oddly works, though Jessie Ware doesn’t quite hit the spot as we’d hoped she would. Paramore though, are a revelation and bursting with pop punk hits, putting on a world beating performance. Hayley Williams, as ever, is a joy to watch and ‘Misery Business,’ ‘Into You’ and more all sound immaculate.
After catching a bit of the robotic Vampire Weekend, Bruno Mars closes the star-studded event in style with a polished, hit-laden performance that proves he deserves his spot as the current prince of pop and as fireworks light up the night sky, we keep our fingers crossed it won’t be another nine years until the festival is back in the north.