Lovebox 2012 Friday review


!(feature_c)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4fe8d9b0b5f8b800010000b7.jpg!Lovebox was meant to be a total washout – 70mph winds and torrential rain – festival goers were in for a weekend of trench foot and dysentery. Hundreds, possibly thousands would perish, or so the met office would have liked to have said. Anticipating a flood of truly biblical proportions I even went and purchased some wellies (Primark, naturally), but thankfully they weren’t needed in the end. The weatherman and his scheming cronies were wrong and this rather brilliant little festival had the sunny backdrop it so deserved for its 10-year anniversary.

But before I begin to talk about the festival itself, I’d like to say a few words about wellies. Wearing them in the middle of the day, on a busy eastbound central line service to Mile-End, is an incredibly empowering experience. I was the subject of many a jealous glare from fellow commuters, as wellies worn anywhere in London can only mean one thing: that person is going to a festival (or a farm) and obviously everyone wants in on the action, so they stare at you, all hungry-eyed which made me feel incredible, I might make a habit of it in the future, but I digress; back to Lovebox…

This rather brilliant little festival had the sunny backdrop it so deserved on the 10 year anniversary.

!(feature_l)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4fe8d9d1b5f8b800010000b8.jpg!When I arrived at the Victoria Park site I was instantly struck by how crammed in everything was. The main stage took up one half of the site and the four smaller stages/tents were packed in at the other end, meaning that the noise from some sets sometimes carried over into others, but after a few beers this became less noticeable. And unlike many other festivals it was actually extremely easy to get to the bars. The organisers had clearly thought the refreshment situation, making the queuing process rather painless – so top marks for that.

There were a lot of acts performing early on Friday who I’d never really heard of before, who managed to energise the crowd as much as many of the bigger names who performed later on in the evening. My personal favourite was B.Traits whose fast-paced, bass heavy set got the crowd going absolutely mental at about 4pm. Of a slightly more down tempo vibe, in the Downlow tent – a mock up of a disused warehouse – saw an interesting mixture of deep dubby house and melodic samples from classical sources, which reminded me of Apparat; music you can both dance and relax too – very nice indeed. Heading over to the main stage with the sun blaring and the blisters in my wellies flaring, I caught the end of Devlin’s performance. While his rapping skills were undoubtedly impressive, if only for the speed at which his lyrics poured out, I couldn’t help thinking that his London rude boy image was a tad contrived, a little over the top and slightly irritating. That said he still didn’t manage to fill the stage, the sound was just too small, but the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves and even I bounced around a bit.

B.Traits whose fast-paced, bass heavy set got the crowd going absolutely mental at about 4pm.

!(feature_r)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4fe8da00b5f8b800010000b9.jpg!One of the unexpected pleasures came from 2 Bears on the Stockade stage who had a helping hand from a Hot Chip renegade on the decks mixing up everyone’s favourite floor filler ‘Gabriel’ and swiftly got the fuelled up rave revelers on stage to join him too; having realised this idea wasn’t so great politely told them to ‘to get the f**k off!’ Naturally the music stopped for a short while but too long for me to stick around so off I went to fill up on Red Bull and get my next fix of beats.

I went over to see Toddla T Soundsystem and – as I’ve always experienced his sets – it was a lot of fun. Mixing new and old but somehow making it all sound strangely tropical, he got everyone on their feet dancing and set the tone for the rest of the night.

For me the next acts that really stood out were Ben UFO, Pangaea and Pearson Sound, again in the Downlow tent. I’m not entirely sure what order they played in or whether it was a back-to-back set but either way it was pretty special. The set was a seamless fluid mix of techno and deep house, with some distinctly dubby moments thrown in for good measure. In all honesty I could have stayed there all night, but I needed to soak up the rest of the festival… next stop: Jaguar Skills.

The crowd full of committed Hot Chip fans seemingly drowning in the familiar tunes that they all know and love.

!(feature_l)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/4fe8da1fb5f8b800010000ba.jpg!It’s hard not to compare this guy to the great DJ Yoda in terms of style; Jaguar Skills also mixes seemingly random sound clips from film and television into a lively set that incorporates just about every musical genre. But perhaps the overall feel with Jaguar Skills is slightly more commercial and a little less weird, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Several cans of Tuborg down and I was lapping it up. His ability to mix up and mash up familiar tracks made for a mental mosh pit of bodies colliding with the beats and rapid winds.

Of course the Friday shout out to Lovebox could not go amiss without mentioning the main headliners: Hot Chip. The crowd full of committed fans seemingly drowning in the familiar tunes that they all know and love. Now I may not be their biggest fan but you simply have to acknowledge the euphoric affect they had on the crowd and the ability to keep spirits high despite missing that little know football match playing an hour previous. ‘Laid Back’ nicely rounded off the first night of the three day festival for me (which in my opinion is let down by the early close to get the last tube home). Nonetheless an excellent way to kick start a weekend and I couldn’t help envy those who would be relishing in the delectable line up of Cross Town Rebels, Grace Jones, Groove Armada and of course Grace Jones over the course of the weekend!

Words by guest contributor Laura Smith.

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