Lovebox, Victoria Park, London
Friday 22 July 2011
Its inner-city location may not suggest wellies, but numerous downpours over east London have left Victoria Park resembling something of a mudbath. It certainly makes Lovebox feel like more of a traditional festival, although the event – now in its eighth year – has been a summer fixture for a while now.
The biggest performance of the three days comes from the biggest name and the bill's major attraction. Ostensibly there to play his 1993 debut, Doggystyle, in full, Snoop Dogg's Saturday night headline slots makes plenty of forays into the rest of his career including, unfortunately, his latest, rather ill-advised venture into dance.
The top moments come from his G-funk classic, while the Lady of Rage and Daz Dillinger are among those re-creating their roles from the album. Perhaps the only guest star who comes close to stealing the show from Snoop is Warren G, who delights with another Nineties classic, "Regulate".
Hip-hop nostalgia is the order of the day before Snoop as well, albeit with a focus on the East Coast instead of the West. De La Soul fill in for Jessie J (laid low after surgery) and on the face of it, it seems a pretty good swap. A late start, though, means that the New York trio play a severely curtailed set – a shame, since they're one of the best live rap acts around.
Friday – with The Wombats as the headline act – is more of a warm-up day, while Sunday, under the tagline "Out & Out Fierce", is about dance music. Again, it is under clouds rather than blazing sun, but that does not stop Beth Ditto from stripping to her underwear during her solo set. Debbie Harry is rather more demurely dressed, however, as Blondie – now reformed for nearly 15 years – run through their well-rehearsed act, although they struggle with some sound issues.
As ever Scissor Sisters' frontpersons Jake Shears and Ana Matronic bring plenty of energy to proceedings and largely manage to keep the crowd with them as well, especially on hits from their 2004 eponymous debut such as "Take Your Mama" and "Filthy/Gorgeous".
It is up to Belgian dance duo 2ManyDJs – who are such a sure-fire festival winner it almost seems like cheating to book them – to bring the weekend to a close, and they do so with predictable success.
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