From Snoop Dog’s limp rapping to Waze & Oddyssey’s well-oiled house bangers – here, Max Cocking gives us the low-down on Lovebox 15.
Last weekend saw London day festival – Lovebox – send the whole of the city into a frenzy. I hadn’t been to lovebox since 2011, and in my mind I felt I had watched the festival change from afar. Becoming a sort of living, breathing, snorting, physical manifestation of Wavey Garms meets school-leavers-day, especially since its cut of the sassitude Sunday (my term not theirs btw). UK Day festivals always seem to bring to mind anyone who was involved in the London riots, but in a tank top and shuffling instead of smashing through buildings.
So off I went on a last minute jaunt on the Saturday and how wrong I was! Ok, so there were a hell of a lot of tank tops and arriving did feel a bit like landing in some post-apocalyptic mad-max-meets-ASOS scenario, but once I’d settled in (read: drank three double vodkas) I realised that something great was going on. For me, Hot Chip were the highlight of the festival, proving their worth and solidifying their position as the kings of British alt-electro pop. “I feel better” was rousing and anthemic, galvanising the crowd into a euphoric fever. I watched them headline the West Hoults stage at Glastonbury a few weeks ago – which still makes me cry from happiness – so maybe I’m a tad bias but they truly have developed into an incredible live band.
Other notable sets were Jessie Ware, bringing her version of soulful electronic balladry to the sunny 5pm slot. Surely she was bred in some kind of alien laboratory for the soul purpose of rousing festival audiences? Elsewhere DJs Waze & Oddyssey ruled a confetti fuelled hour of well-oiled house club bangers. Then came Snoop Dogg – arguably a super safe choice for headliner owing to his large back catalogue of crowd pleasing hip-hop classics. From the get go he was received with open arms by a crowd who by the most part were too far gone on sun, booze and other stuff to remember much of the finer content. He then started playing House of Pain and Joan Jett backing tracks over his own songs, limply rapping over the top. Each song was only lasting roughly a minute and then, as if in a cloud of delightfully smelling smoke, he was gone – 20 minutes before he was meant to be. Either way though I spent the majority of his set filming myself rapping on one of those spinning rides so, whatever.I’ve decided that Lovebox really excelled with their off the beaten track areas of the field. Attention to detail on the smaller stages and tents was second to none. Unusually for a London festival, it felt possible to explore and find something truly special away from the main acts. It’s here the “I’ve been at Glasto for five days and made out with someone in a rabbit suit at the stone circle on Monday morning” festival spirit was most strong and where Lovebox fully came into its own. The Little Gay Brother, Radio 1 and Despacio tents in the very far corners had impeccable sound and the look on everyone’s faces was proof of this.
That’s the thing I found about Lovebox this year, everybody there was absolutely loving it, me included. I’m starting to feel as though I wasted my time attending Field Day for so long…
Words: Max Cocking