Lovebox London Weekender, Victoria Park, London
Tuesday 22 July 2008
The Lovebox London Weekender is festival-lite for those not attending bigger bashes or the more ambitious Latitude in Suffolk, with which it clashes. If you can get over the stench of a village fête, and swaying to Groove Armada on a Saturday afternoon does not squash your soul, then look no further.
The first day of the festival saw Ashby de la Zouch's excellent Young Knives shafted by their early slot, making up for it with some self-effacing, witty banter. Showcasing material from their first two albums, they introduced "Dyed in the Wool" by hinting that it was the kind of song that would "break them into the mainstream". "We wanted to appear on a Motorola advert, but they thought we were too fat," joked their lead singer, Henry Dartnall. "Motorola, stick your phone up your arse. Your menu function doesn't fit my lifestyle." Their follow-up set on the Great Escape stage compensated, following highlights such as the Swedish songstress Lykke Li's thumping, minimal pop, the kinetic rhymes of the Walthamstow rapper Lethal Bizzle, and the ska-tinted rhythms of Mr Hudson & the Library.
Back on the main stage came The Human League's big hits. Then, Groove Armada – after whose album and club night Lovebox is named – played a crowd-pleasing, pedestrian set. The French born singer Manu Chao's much-needed energy revived a slow, family-friendly audience.
Sunday began equally frenetically, with Roni Size, then the bouncy, pleasingly enthusiastic south London singer-songwriter Jack Peñate. For the finale, Alison Goldfrapp wheeled out an army of bikini-clad wastrels in wolf masks, who have featured in her act for the past year, and The Flaming Lips provided a much- needed high-octane finish. The band's singer, Wayne Coyne, pulled off his old trick of rolling around atop the crowd in a giant "hamster ball" – an inflated, transparent orb – and although it's all been seen before, it did its job.
Lovebox does what it says on its packaging. If all you want is some easy entertainment, an early finish and a manageable Monday- morning hangover, this could be your Mecca.
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