Playboi Carti headlines Wireless 2023’s ‘Opium Friday’

Day one of Wireless 2023 kicks off with the Opium gang’s first time performing together in the UK.

Playboi Carti’s roar rallied any remaining scragglers to sprint to the Main Stage, matching him in volume with their own screams. An entourage of familiar faces from last year’s Wireless set, including experimental choreographer (and musician) Blackhaine, meandered onto stage to the distorted notes of the guitarist… 

A moment for the dancers to gather themselves; a cloud of smoke enveloped Carti, and the show could begin. At once, seething bass tones and a jumping mosh pit caused the ground to shake with seismic tremors.

‘R.I.P.’, Rockstar Made’ and ‘Stop Breathing’ forced the dancers to pause and reanimate themselves between tracks while the guitar riffs grew more grungy. From creeping and crawling across the stage to tumbling down the stairs, they seemed on the brink of toppling into the crowd. 

“London, turn the f*ck up!”. The ground quaking increased; friends were swept away and circles opened (including one that formed to find a dropped phone) before merging into a mega mosh. By 9.45pm it was just dark enough for blue strobes to cut through the sky.

“London I love youuuu!”, Carti roared as he ascended – looking like Rihanna at the Superbowl – on a plinth supported by industrial chains. Ethereal flashes of blinding white light, plus more smoke, helped us track his location. Below him, his troupe continued to writhe, forming a pulsating hug of solidarity and lifting one member to surf over their shoulders.

Carti was fully levitating by the drop of ‘wokeuplikethis*’, but he returned to earth just in time to meet the curfew and tell us individually (all in the style of Oprah), “I love you, I love you, I love YOU!”. 

Early bird tickets for Wireless 2024 are on sale now here.

Photo credit: Simone Joyner / Getty