A decade of love
Friendly Fires - Lovebox 2012

The perennial festivity at Victoria Park’s Lovebox sauntered into its tenth year of existence this time around and despite talks of a weekend full of damp, wellies were an overlooked accessory for most of the three days.

Friday was very much an EDM and bass-heavy saga, with popular low-end specialists popping up left, right and centre on the bill. The Big Top stage housed much of the potent vibes with the majority of the Rinse FM family helping to magnetize large crowds of energetic partygoers. The likes of Boy Better Know, Plastician and an omnipresent P Money raised the decibels to dizzy heights with their respective brands of electronic debauchery. It’d also be a crime not to mention Skream’s memorable role in it all too. With a shortened set that clearly got him peeved off, he ushered the masses to raid the stage for a moment’s worth of dubstep anarchy, which only aided to raise the level of hype in the venue tenfold. Over on the main stage, Crystal Castles wooed a mass of drenched heads with their concoction of digitalised sounds whilst headliners, Hot Chip, brought a subdued end to proceedings with a solid performance full of flashing lights and lasers to an arm flailing crowd.

By the next day, the fest had a decidedly fuller feel not least marked by the longer queues for the toilets. Maverick Sabre crooned his way through a blue-eyed soul mid-afternoon set of tracks, and constantly exchanged chat with his spectators as if each one was a long lost before recruiting them all for the finale of ‘I Need’. Kelis turned up in true diva fashion appearing a whole half hour after she was meant to, but classics such as ‘Milkshake’ and ‘Caught Out There’ soon had everybody in smiles with a word-for-word sing-along. It wouldn’t be Lovebox without a stellar showing from co-founders Groove Armada, and regardless of the weather taking a noticeable turn for the worse, their unforgettable hits quickly casted the rain irrelevant. As the park fell into darkness, Friendly Fires and the enviable moves of Ed Macfarlane sent those watching into a well of tropical oasis chanting the chorus of ‘Hawaiian Air’ before concluding with the energy-infused ‘Kiss Of Life’.

Peppered with big name flavourings such as Grace Jones and Chaka Khan, Sunday was very much a stomping ground for the chic and glamorous. Along came Australian, Sam Sparro, with a batch of new material and matching flamboyance as sunlight crept through the clouds. Then Brit-Spaniards, Crystal Fighters, sprung onto the affair, passionately bungee jumping around stage and animating the summer-attired listeners in front of them. As the night moved into a who’s who of old-school originals, both Chic (feat. Nile Rodgers) and Chaka Khan looked as ripe as ever, wowing the masses with disco highlights with as much vivacity as their ‘70s origins. Yet, nothing touched the hula-hooping eccentricity of Grace Jones who artistically droned her way through a number of her best tracks and even spun her frame round a pole to the delight of fans and fashionistas alike.

Special mention must also go to the dark horses of the Art Against Knives tent, which maintained a status of wholehearted good vibes in parallel to the “decade of love” theme.

Words by Errol Anderson
Photo by Hannah Lanfear

Click here for a photo gallery of the weekend.

We took Off Guard Gigs to Lovebox 2012, click here to check out exclusive performances and interviews from Devlin, Sam Sparro, We Have Band and loads more.

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