A festival in the heart of London on firm ground with not much of a trek between stages. Sounds all too good to be true doesn’t it? But no, it isn’t a dream, this is Wireless Festival in Hyde Park!

We’re in good and early and catch the first band of the Festival on the XFM stage. I’m glad we do. London’s own Boy Kill Boy turn out to be something of a revelation. The lead singer has that hippie look about him with his velvety jacket and Robin Hood hat but there’s a rather manic intensity to those eyes of his. There’s definite hints of the now sound, i.e. Bloc Party, but this lot kick up a great little noise. Fortunately these boys have got tunes to match the riffs. There’s also a distinct Suede-ish feel to the vocals and all in all it's a very contemporary and rather good sound. Obviously Fierce Panda think so – having just issued 'Suzie', the band’s debut single and standout track. Ones to watch in the future me thinks.

Next, a quick hop over to the Drowned in Sound stage to catch Komakino, the only band I know that are named after a Joy Division B-side. There’s a skinny lead singer up front with his Black Flag T-shirt pulling shapes. It’s all a bit indistinct to be honest – more young boys with guitars and nowhere to go. We make a sharpish exit and head over to the main stage. I quickly regret this. It’s started to rain quite heavily. Maybe the Psychedelic Furs will lift our spirits with some classic glitzy pop from yesteryear? Perhaps not. While they were briefly relevant twenty years ago, with the likes of the Killers et al doing the 80's thing with sharper clothes and even sharper songs the Furs seem sadly out of time. With little in the way of new tunes on offer it’s all a bit of an 80's Karaoke retread. Even set closer 'Pretty in Pink' sounds a bit of a tired and hollow exercise in nostalgia. Sorry lads.

Things quickly pick up with a much-welcomed mid-afternoon set from Graham Coxon. Drawing heavily from last year’s excellent 'Happiness in Magazines' LP, Coxon resplendent in stripped blazer and trademark dark rimmed glasses gets the festival back on track with some top notch indie-guitar pop. The tight staccato strut of 'Spectacular' lives up to its name nicely and reminds us all why we used to like Blur so much. 'Bittersweet Bundle of Misery' with its effortless melody even helps us momentarily forget about the rain. Wisely he saves his best song to last rounding off proceedings with a pacey 'Freakin’ Out'.

Next it’s back over to the DiS tent to catch the end of the Boxer Rebellion’s set. They’re a bit of an unusual and rather hirsute band who’ve been treading the boards for a couple of years now without getting the recognition they deserve although that may be set to change with the release of their debut long player 'Exits' on Mercury. Their take on early-U2 inspired spaced-out guitar rock brings to mind comparisons with Muse, Puressence and the Chameleons. The slightly awkward stage presence of their front man Nathan Nicholson belies his rich and powerful voice while their imposing guitarist puts his effects peddles through their paces. The haunting crescendo of 'In Pursuit' is the set’s high point. Most definitely a band worthy of further attention.

Now it’s back over to the main stage to see NYC hedonists the Bravery, a band whom I swore I would never cast eyes on again after seeing them last year. All of a sudden though everything falls into place and their synth-fuelled, glammed-up 80s pop-rock makes sense. OK – so it’s all very retro, and yes, fashion wise they do look like a conglomeration of Ten Pole Tudor and A Flock of Seagulls. But with today's performance we see the first bona fide rock stars. They have the crowd in the palm of their hands as lead singer Sam Endicott pulls all the poses while bassist Dirt does the festival meet the crowd thing. There’s some pretty stadium friendly tunes in there too. 'An Honest Mistake' and current single 'Fearless' spearhead an enthralling set from a band that reached our shores barely a year ago. There you go. My U-turn is complete.

After all that bravado Moby has certainly got his work cut out. He’s only a small chappie but with a big humanist heart - the sort of guy you could imagine happily sharing a herbal tea with. As a stadium act he’s an interesting proposition - less of a performer - more of a facilitator, as he endears himself to the crowd with his self-depreciating humor. His music has been used to sell everything from cars to Bailey's Irish Cream and has weadled its way into our brains. So much so that I recognise most of today's 'Greatest Hits' set despite not having a single Moby CD to my name. 'Porcelain', 'Bodyrock'' and 'We are All Made of Stars' all follow in quick succession. And even though his music is not particularly my cup of tea Moby proves to be the perfect warm up band. He's polite, doesn't outstay his welcome and is profusely gushing about today's headline act.

Which of course is Manchester legends New Order, a band who 25 years down the line are still as relevant today as then and headlining festivals like Wireless. Enjoying something of a renaissance like fellow 80's band The Cure, they now appear to be able to do no wrong. Ironically as they take the stage and launch into 'Crystal' from 2001's 'Get Ready' it stops raining - a fact that doesn't pass bassist Peter Hook by. Unlike drummer Steven Morris (who looks just the same as he did back in his Joy Division days), singer/guitarist Bernard Sumner hasn't aged quite so gracefully. But he still treats us to the first bout of silly dancing during 'Krafty' anyway. And while yacht maintenance is more likely to be on Sumner's mind than urban alienation these days, the material from latest LP 'Waiting for the Sirens' Call' sits comfortably with the more vintage New Order tracks of yore. And there's plenty of them. Gone is the old stubbornness to please the crowd. Today we get a 'Greatest Hits' set spanning the whole of their illustrious career. A welcome exhumation of 'Love Vigilantes' here, a clubbed version of 'True Faith' there. But it's the Joy Division material that really steals the show. The throbbing and compelling: 'Transmission' with its simple, driving bass and hypnotic chorus of "Dance, dance, dance to the radio" matched only by a heart-wrenching rendition 'Love will Tear Us Apart' , the 'Teenage Kicks' of the 1980's.

Through all of this new boy Phil Cunningham, ex- of Manc doom-rockers Marion, fits perfectly in as he moves efficiently between keyboard duties and second guitarist. Everyone seems to be having too much fun to care about Sumner singing the occasional wrong line here and there. Or a few of the band's now legendary technical problems. Closing song 'Temptation' brings the set to a fitting climax with its driving sequencer motif and airy Sumner vocals. And what's this? They're coming back for an encore? This most definitely is New Order 2005 and what an encore it turns out to be. The tom-tom driven majesty of 'Atmosphere' (the classic Joy Division anthem, not the Russ Abbot song) brings tears to the eyes of grown men followed by the disturbing overtones of 'She's Lost Control' with it's stop-start drumming and trademark Peter Hook bass line. And the very last song? What else could it be but 'Blue Monday'? The greatest selling 12" of all time and the song that re-wrote the rulebook about mixing dance music with rock. And with that they're gone as we're left to file out of a now dry Hyde Park. It's Glastonbury tomorrow for New Order. And then what who knows. Perhaps we've witnessed the penultimate ever New Order gig. But then maybe not.

















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