Lovebox offers three days of music, cirque, cabaret and entertainment across 10 stages set within 40 acres of London’s Victoria Park. To me this translates as Hot Chip, Friendly Fires and Grace Jones all chilling out and having a sing-song in my back garden! I know I always bang on about how close I live to Victoria Park on Daydreamer, but it literally is my back garden, check out the Google Maps image for proof – I am the ‘A’!
Similar to Field Day Festival, I went to Lovebox last year, so for the second time round I knew what to expect. This year Lovebox celebrated a decade of love by bringing some of their past favourites back to the 10 stages set. London’s biggest and most flamboyant festival, according to spoonfed.co.uk, Lovebox has been rolling its circus of delights into East London’s beautiful Victoria Park for nine years now. Organised in association with the mighty Groove Armada, the festival always secures absolutely stellar headliners (to name a few… Manu Chao, Snoop Dogg, Grace Jones, Jamiroquai, Sly and The Family Stone, Roxy Music) as well as attracting some of the capital’s most cutting edge dance music promoters to host areas.
Saturday’s Line-up sees Friendly Fires headlining joined by Emile Sande, Kelis, Little Dragon, Crazy P, London Elektricity, Fred V b2b Grafix, Danny Byrd, Prototypes, David Rodigan, S.P.Y, Gerd Janson, Nu:Tone, London Elektricity, Damian Lazarus, Logistics, Maceo Plex, Art Department, Dixon, Robert James, Camo & Krooked, High Contrast, Netsky, Prosumer, Amirali, Joy Orbison, MC Wrec, and Dynamite MC.
You can count on Lovebox to coax the most fashion-conscious of music lovers to come out from under their enormous mounds of clothing, pull on a pair of high-tops and trek down to Victoria Park in London to parade their cookie cutter interpretation of festival style to the masses. And, with some gale force winds, a spatter of mud, some pretty colourful rain macs and an awesome array of live music at their disposal, the festival’s 10th anniversary plays out just as expected.
The above quote from Glamour Magazine sums up Lovebox perfectly, in fact swap the high-tops for Hunter Wellies and it’s spot on. After a couple of Henry Weston ciders to warm our bellies we headed over to Victoria Park for about 2pm, the queues weren’t too long, with gates opening at midday, we’d avoided the rush. Heading to the main stage to get a glimpse of Delilah, we were drawn in by the Volvic stand. Free shots of flavoured water and inflatable fruit you say?! Volvic were offering free tickets to the Lovebox after-party as part of a competition unfortunately we didn’t win…
Following Delilah’s stunning performance was the soulful sounds of Little Dragon. Just as the sun started to shine, the Ritual Union star Little Dragon bought their trademark blissed out electro beats to the Main Stage on Saturday afternoon. Little Dragon are a Swedish electronic band, who formed in Gothenburg in 1996. It consists of Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano (vocals, percussion) and her high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Källgren Wallin (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards). I only discovered them at the end of last year and began obsessed with their third album, Ritual Union, released on 25 July 2011. I was thoroughly looking forward to their performance at Lovebox and I loved it! The only draw back was that they didn’t play one of my favourite tunes Shuffle a Dream. But lucky for you I have decided to included their Live Session recording from Later with Jools Holland 20th September 2011.
I was also a little disappointed that Stooshe were playing on the Outdoor Stage at the same time as Little Dragon as I was keen on seeing them too. But nonetheless I supported them with a temporary tattoo…
The next dilemma was Kelis verses Groove Armada. We hung around the Outdoor Stage in anticipation of some Milkshake but was disappointed to hear Kelis was running late, in a way this solved our original problem so we headed back to the main stage to catch some Superstylin’.
Next up was Maverick Sabre, the Irish-English singer-songwriter and rapper. Maverick Sabre (21 years old Hackney born) is known for his eerie vocals and guitar playing. In January 2011, Sabre appeared on Professor Green’s single Jungle, which peaked at number 31 in the UK Singles Chart. His debut EP, The Lost Words was released on 7 March 2011, with the single Look What I’ve Done preceding that release the week before. For us, Sabre’s song of the day was without a doubt I Need, for some reason it was all we kept singing throughout the day before we heard it and even more so after. Since seeing him play live I feel more inclined to give his album some of my time, one to watch in my opinion.
Emeli Sandé was next up. Sandé, the Scottish soul and R&B recording artist and songwriter, released her first solo single Heaven in August 2011, which was an instant hit around the globe. Sandé has two number-one singles across the United Kingdom and Ireland with Read All About It with Professor Green and Next to Me. She released Our Version of Events, in February 2012, upon the release the album peaked number one in the UK. Her performance was fantastic on Saturday, would recommend going to see her if you get the chance.
The final act of the night was the one and only Friendly Fires, who closed the second day of the tenth Lovebox Festival Saturday night, with a headline set on the main stage. Playing tracks from their self-titled debut album and 2011’s ‘Pala‘, including On Board, Lovesick and Live Those Days Tonight, the St Albans group drew in a huge crowd despite the poor weather. “Thank you for raving in this terrible weather,” acknowledged frontman Ed Macfarlane. “Just imagine you’re on a tropical island right now.”
Closing the set with Paris, the band briefly left the stage but soon returned to perform an encore of Hawaiian Air and an extended version of Kiss Of Life.
“If we had an manifesto for this album” says Friendly Fires’ singer and bass-player Ed Macfarlane, “it was a simple one; make an exciting, colourful pop record”. Big shout-outs go out to Ed for his amazing dance moves during Friendly Fires performance, I can safely say I’ve never seen a lead singer like him – fantastic!
Lovebox concluded on Sunday with performances from Lana Del Rey, Patrick Wolf, Niki and The Dove, plus a headline appearance from Grace Jones. I’m pretty sure I could hear Libertango from my front room on Sunday evening so if that doesn’t proove how close we live then I don’t know what will…
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