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The Review - MUSIC - grooves with RóISíN GADELRAB
Published: 9 July 2009

Dizzee Rascal
West is far from the best in park

Hyde Park

N-DUBZ, Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Basement Jaxx – Hyde Park’s stars over the weekend.
Kanye West was also on the bill but didn’t warrant the mention – more later.
Camden’s stellar trio N-Dubz played mid-afternoon but they still attracted a record crowd. Their charming style, catchy hooks and generous showmanship won converts and merited their big-stage spot.
Jack Penate, the only guitar act to play the big stage on day one, sweltered in his carpet jacket, but gave his all.
Master Shortie, in ridiculous beige trousers, teased his mostly caucasian audience with Dance Like a White Boy and they loved it.
Dizzee Rascal may once have had a niche audience but he transcended the boundaries with Bonkers, whipping up a mass outdoor rave in preparation for the headliners.
Basement Jaxx were Wireless’ act of the weekend, camping it up with costume changes and pantomime dramatics, and stirring up a feverous carnival. Kanye could learn from their ability to laugh at themselves.
Misjudged scheduling overshadowed The Streets, Flo Rida and Tinchy Stryder’s sets as they were put in the second tent, while less popular acts held the main stage.
People were barricaded out, and, in the case of The Streets, so desperate to catch his set that they pulled up the tent walls and crammed in anyway.
Sadly, while Skinner and pals threw themselves into the act, the sound was so muffled that their efforts were lost.
By Sunday, Hyde Park was a dustbowl, the dry weather had turned the ground into an arid plain and filthy feet stirred up the dust as the day wore on.
Inventive Scottish producer Calvin Harris was sensational, Kid Cudi ended on a high, hitting the strobe lights for Day and Night. Flo Rida did his thing but again many were shut out while Q-Tip took things down a step with some mellow vibes.
Lady Sovereign didn’t let her terrible hayfever subdue her, but it’s a shame she was 20 minutes late, meaning many left after three songs to catch Kanye.
Judging by the line-up, Sunday looked like the day and many questioned why the two days were not switched around. But by the end of the weekend it was clear.
Basement Jaxx on Saturday, verged on euphoric, a selfless show that was a complete contrast to Kanye West’s ungenerous, cold, shiny, professional, and ultimately self-indulgent headline turn.
And herein lies the disappointment.
A superstar like Kanye, with so many huge tracks, and an ego to match, should seize the chance to give back to his fans.
One twitter update said it all: “Kanye West’s boring the hell out of everyone.”
We knew he was self-obsessed but would it have killed to give a little?
The set was fantastic, putting Kanye on a podium against an ever-changing backdrop was effective and, as his gold-painted human statues struck poses around him, there were times he looked like James Bond.
His big hits, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Through the Wire, Gold Digger, and Amercian Boy inspired some crowd movement but it was all too hollow – West was going through the motions, working to rule. There was little banter but the failings ran deeper.
As he ended with Stronger, fans could have called for more, but they didn’t. They may have paid £45 to see the man in the flesh, but his lack of warmth left them cold and the prospect of catching the last Tube became much more attractive than an encore from Mr West.

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