10 Years of the Lovebox Festival, Review of Day 1, Hot Chip put in a Sizzling Performance, also featuring Ms Dynamite, Rhythms of the City & French wunderkind – Madeon, Friday 15h June 2012

Posted: June 28, 2012 in Festival
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Lovebox Festival – Day 1 2012 – Friday 15th June featuring Ms Dynamite, Rhythms of the City, Madeon & Hot Chip (headlining)

 

10 Years of Lovebox - Lovebox Festival Friday 15th June 2012

10 Years of Lovebox – Lovebox Festival Friday 15th June 2012

 

My party and I were really looking forward to this year’s Lovebox festival on many levels; myself because, this year’s is Lovebox’s 10th anniversary and I was looking forward to all 3 days, my niece because she likes live music and enjoys London music festivals and her father, because it’s his first ever festival in his life.

It proved to be a very lively, diverse and memorable experience for all of us. No two days were similar. Here’s an account of Day 1.

As so often in England at the start of the festival, the omens, weather-wise, were not good. As we waited our turn in the long queue (line) in front of the portacabin –style box office, we were already standing in the boggy in-roads of other people’s Wellington boot marks – a site that is practically synonymous with the English festivals season. The sky was turning around ominously alternating between glimpses of blue sky, the odd ray of sun, but mainly grey cloud which in turn was punctuated with the odd gust of a squally shower.

After a wait of about 20 minutes to pick up tickets with credit cards during which my niece fretted over being in the right line for ticket collection, we achieved our goal and had even managed to bat away a shady looking ticket tout and sell a spare ticket we had at a reasonable price.

Wristbands firmly secured over wrist, we marched over to the wide entrance that had been divided up into narrow entry lines with metal barriers. The queue was not bad and we were gestured into the waiting arms of stewards for a bar code check and security staff for a thorough frisk and pat down.  Just beyond the entrance, I underwent the final ritual of negotiating a line of police with sniffer dogs.  We had made it and the pre-entry tension started to dissipate.  Others who had evidently had been caught with suspicious substances were ushered away by police.

We carried on walking down a long and wide green expanse with seemingly nothing there except a forlorn looking row of billboards with posters of each the previous Lovebox festival on them. Stopping to admire the last of these, especially the ones I had attended, a couple of nostalgia shots were taken of the three of us and we carried on.  I had expected to see more made of the fact that it was Lovebox’s 10th anniversary but apart from the posters and a large board further in, upon which people had written their signature, there was nothing; a little disappointing I thought.

Still on to the music as that’s why we came.  For a while, as you do with large sites, we wandered around purposeless until deciding to consult the festival timetable I had bought for a whopping 6 quid. This may sound a lot but a 20 something girl who came over also to consult my festival timetable had been ripped outside for £3 by a guy selling fakes. At least mine proved to be reasonably accurate and had a site map.

Ms Dynamite

 

Ms Dynamite performs at Lovebox 2012 - Friday 15th June

Ms Dynamite performs at Lovebox 2012 – Friday 15th June

 

So the first tent we stumbled into almost by accident was at the tail end of Ms Dynamite’s gig. I will do a fuller review when I see her at the Wireless festival in a couple of weeks. I could not really identify all the songs. I gather they were from her new upcoming album.  I did recognise “Wile Out”, a dance track released in 2010 by DJ Zinc, which beautifully demonstrated her mastery of the balance between grime and a Jamaican influenced hip-hop.  It’s a very raw style compared with hip-hop genres in the US but the kids around loved it and so did we.

Rhythms of the City

 

Rhythms of the City with Lovebox revellers, Victoria Park, Friday 15th June 2012

Rhythms of the City with Lovebox revellers, Victoria Park, Friday 15th June 2012

 

Carrying on our tour of the other stages at the festival; there were a number of other DJ’s, some good some average.  The day was very dance orientated.   I know they are very popular but I must admit DJ sets are not really my thing at festival. However, while traversing between one stage and another, by one of the chill-out tents we came across a delightful troupe of drummers called Rhythms of the City, drumming their way around the very muddy site. They specialise in the samba style carnival sound, but also play other styles. Surrounded by a small but enthusiastic crowd they certainly gave it their all.  I believe they were on stage with Friendly Fires at their Brixton gig last Autumn. Their skills made them worth seeing at a gig in their own right.

Rounding a group of tents, we came across a small stage where to my surprise could be heard the distinctive voice of John Anderson , the Gladiators (UK Version)  referee hosting a sort of battle of the artists. As each act came on and off so quickly it was difficult to hear their names but I do recall a cheeky two girl act singing about being excuses of being late at work that amused.

Madeon

 

Madeon turns the dials at Lovebox 2012, Victoria Park, London, Friday 15th June 2012

Madeon turns the dials at Lovebox 2012, Victoria Park, London, Friday 15th June 2012

 

We made our way over to the main stage where a young 18 old guy with the stage name of Madeon proved to be a revelation and one of the acts of the whole 3 days.  Madeon‘s is a DJ cum Music producer whose real name is  Hugo Pierre Leclercq and hails from Nantes, France. He cites artists as diverse on the spectrum as Daft Punk and The Beatles as his main influences and has only been playing live since April 2011. As mentioned earlier I’ve never been a huge fan of DJ style acts. I like to see instruments played. However, Madeon’s distinctive style of modern electro-house mixed with some gentler 80’s style beats was absorbing and won me over for the entire set hour long set. He twisted and turned the knobs and dials on the consoles likes a virtuoso at times giving the aura of a concert pianist or conductor. Particularly memorable was his remixing of Blur’s “Song 2” and The Killer’s “Mr Brightside”.  Also, memorable was also his funky house track “Icarus”.  His rhythmic hand waving, pointing and body movements translated infectiously to the audience that turned into a moving mass.  If this boy is as talented and as well stage crafted at this age, it cannot surely be very long before he will be challenging the likes Norman Cook and David Guetta for a place at the top table. Great things are sure to come.

Madeon conducts the crowd at Lovebox 2012, Victoria Park, London, Friday 15th June 2012

Madeon conducts the crowd at Lovebox 2012, Victoria Park, London, Friday 15th June 2012

 

Following a well-earned evening break for dinner that consists of a Caribbean jerk chicken smothered in enough chilli sauce to blow your head off (Lovebox catering provides ample choice of quality world food) it was back to the main stage with libations of beer and pear cider to see Hot Chip, (no the band not the snack). By this time the rain had started a drizzle again.

Hot Chip

Hot Chip sizzle at Lovebox 2012, Victoria Park, London, Friday 15th June 2012

Hot Chip sizzle at Lovebox 2012, Victoria Park, London, Friday 15th June 2012

 

Hot Chip has matured considerably since I first saw them back in 2006 supporting Goldfrapp at the Brixton Academy. Back then, although their tunes were catchy enough, they resembled a group of boys who got together at the weekend to have fun bashing the synth in one or other’s bedroom.  Having only seen 1 glimpse of them at a festival about 2 or 3 years ago, I can report that these “boys” have matured and turned into men. That goes not only for their physical looks but for their music as well. As far as can be said for electro synth pop, their style carries more gravitas. As frontman Alexis Taylor mentioned, this was the first time they had headlined a festival in the 12 years since they were formed.   I am not sure whether it was the music, the atmosphere, the occasional wafts of weed smoke permeating the air, or just the pear cider I was drinking but I immensely enjoyed the gig  and  didn’t stop dancing for the full 1¾ or so that the set lasted.

“And I Was A Boy from School” juxtaposed Alexis Taylor  pleasant  fragile sounding voice with shades electro-funk  reminiscent in some parts to early 80’s styles and it was to get funkier for “Don’t Deny Your Heart”. The deep electro-bass on “One Life Stand” was impressive and this as well as the lyrics recalled early Depeche Mode. By now the crowd was well up for it and it was case of dancing through most of the gig. “Over and Over” with its extremely catchy electro hooks had everyone in raptures and this blogger in particular exhausted, while “I’m Ready for the Floor” towards the end of the gig provided a jolly sing-along.   The group even had time to squeeze a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”.  By the time, the gig finished the crowd had been danced into submission.  The evidence of this performance is that Hot Chip has come of age and is certainly worth a revisit in the future. A special mention should be made of Sarah Jones, who is also co-incidentally drummer for The New Young Pony Club and Bat for Lashes and whose drumming was first rate, comparable in quality to The Whip’s Fiona Daniel and Metronomy’s Anna Prior.

So much for Day 1, the story of the altogether different vibe of Day 2 is to follow.

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Comments
  1. barak says:

    just seen this need pic of rhythms of the city in the mud.
    get in touch if you want to come to one of our ‘real’ gigs, we’ll get you in.

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