Music review: Mark Ronson, Plan B and others at Lovebox, Victoria Park, London


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The sweltering dustbowl of Victoria Park played host to a crowd of beery, sweaty twentysomethings in neon glasses forgetting the working week - soundtracked by house, hiphop, and a touch of politics.

John Talabot eased us into the cool of the half-empty big top. The Spanish DJ channelled a fitting Mike Skinner summertime look of buttoned up polo shirt, khaki shorts and baseball cap. Poppy melodies, choral vocals and anthemic samples knocked out on his drum machine, showing that the laid-back charm of fIN works in a festival setting. "Destiny", with its atmospheric howls, made for the first dance of the day.

On the main stage, Charlie Wilson was accompanied by a brass band in primary block-coloured suits, like Madness on acid. The perennial David Rodigan did his crowd-pleasing best with a set of sunshine music. Finishing up with a Bob Marley duo of "Is This Love" and "One Love", just as the evening breeze picks up, proved a winner.

Wiley lifted energy levels with opener "Rolex" to which the crowd, of course, sang every word. Hackneyites Rudimental gave a triumphant home-turf set. A cover of "Ready or Not" by the Fugees embellished with their trademark d’n’b skitter and trumpet bursts complimented the sunset.

For a hiphop-heavy line-up, it was notable that Jurassic 5 and DJ Yoda were the only ones to scratch. J5 provided goosebump-inducing politics, asking the crowd to put a fist in the air for Trayvon Martin. Azealia Banks dedicated her set to him that evening. Despite a decade away, the "Brown Sugar" singer is funky, soulful, sexual and shows he still has it.

Jamie Jones tops his Hot Creations curated line-up channelling Miami beach party with white lights, palm trees and his genre-defining take on house.

For anyone expecting the bashful, self-deprecating panel show-presenting Mark Ronson, the gum-chewing party boy and his two MCs may have proved shocking. Playing "A$AP" into Kendrick into Kanye into Jay-Z, he confirms his record box is still put together with the crowd in mind.

Saturday night is all about East End boy Plan B who fills the stage with a full live band, vivid lighting and plenty of hype. Asking the crowd to play their air violins, he gave a rowdy performance of "Ill Manors", accompanied by flares, flames, and scratch guitar. He finished with a chant of ‘Oggy, oggy, oggy, oi, oi, oi’, ubiquitous through the weekend, and gets rapturous applause from the crowd - in all their beery, sweaty glory.