Projekt Revolution Festival, Milton Keynes, 29 June 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Festivals - 2008 Festivals
Written by TK   

It is doubtful whether the town of Milton Keynes has seen the likes of the rock music and hip-hop extravaganza that rolled into town on Sunday, 29 June 2008 before.

Projekt Revolution, headlined by the United States' rockers Linkin Park, featured the likes of Jay Z, N.E.R.D, Pendulum, Enter Shikari and the Bravery.  Held in effectively a large-grassed basin, the crowd was thick with revellers intent on dancing away the afternoon in the balmy English sunshine.

N.E.R.D has been carving up festival audiences for over a month now, and have considerable performances to come.  Led by Pharrell Williams donning a back-to-front red cap, the band drummed up excitement levels in a crowd that, before then, had been a little lacklustre.  No man can strut on stage quite like Pharrell Williams, and he split his time between singing (or is that shouting?), grinding in true hip-hop fashion and scanning through the front-sections of the crowd for “talent” (not in the musical sense). In particular, the performance of “She Wants to Move” was a great hip-hop moment and aroused the crowd into a throw-your-hands in the air dancing stupor.
N.E.R.D's performance made way for the crazy electro-rock sound of Pendulum, hailing from Australia.  They may be classified as drum and bass, but the band is starting to sound more and more bass and electric-guitar heavy than drum!  At any length, as always the boys put in an energetic show led by the slightly hyperactive MC Ben Mount whose sole role appears to be drum up (metaphorically speaking) as much excitement from the crowd as possible.
But it was Jay Z that people had come to see.  Fresh from headlining the Glastonbury festival, one would have thought that Jay Z would be putting his feet up in the Bahamas rather than playing another gig.  However, obviously keen to cash in and make it a particularly lucrative weekend, the Brooklyn hip-hop star put in a politically-ballsy and entertaining show.  Jay Z talked the talk and walked the walk with politics during his performance, and as explicit as he was in his disdain for George W. Bush and particularly the incomprehensibly poor response to the hurricanes that struck New Orleans, he was equally as excitable about the prospects of Obama winning the election.
Jay Z is cool epitomised, and is as comfortable being centre of attention on stage as Obama himself.  He sure does bust some rhymes, something that I do not think that Obama has talent in, but it is his catchy melodies that most inspire the crowd to sing-along and dance in a frenetic fashion.  He mixed up some of his most favourite tunes, including “H to the Izzo”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Ninety-Nine Problems”, with versions of Rihanna's “Umbrella” and Punjabi MC's “Mundjan to Bach Ke”.  But it was his rendition of Amy Winehouse's “Rehab” which was the most comical, and his description of her as being a “funny girl” was an understatement if ever I have heard one.  This was a truly brilliant performance, and made everyone in the crowd question why they had not been at Glastonbury Festival the night before to witness Jay Z making pop history by performing arguably one of the most incredible sets of his career to defy the slightly odd and misplaced English criticism that was being thrown his way in the lead up to the festival.
Linkin Park closed out the night with an exhausting performance of heavy rock, an advertisement as to why they have sold over forty million albums world-wide.  “Somewhere I Belong” and “From the Inside” were the most recognisable of their renditions from a back-catalogue rife with hits.  They may have been singing some stellar hits, however the band was showing their delirium from their hectic schedule when lead-singer Charlie Bennington yelled into the microphone as he stared across the crowd, “this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!”  I pity him if that is the case.
In the end, on a weekend in the United Kingdom featuring Glastonbury, Projekt Revolution proved not to be a mere understudy but a classy amalgamation of the genres of hip-hop and rock.

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