Saturday at Lovebox arrived with sunshine and chilled out vibes, following a Friday evening that was all about raving to the sounds provided by the disc-jockeys. Lovebox’s most commercial day, Saturday’s line-up brought the more favourable side of the current Top 40 with Maverick Sabre, Emeli Sande and Friendly Fires all on the line-up.
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I started my Saturday at Lovebox by showing my friend and photog for the day Zeyna Sy around the site as I’d just about gotten my head around it. Cool art installations, graffed up cars, NYC nightclubs and arcade rides shared the space with the stages, making the grounds as much about the experience as it was about the music (look out for more on this in a later post).
As Friday found me pretty much ignoring the mainstage, I decided to break that by making it my first point of call in regards to music. I was gutted to have missed Little Dragon by mere minutes, however, I arrived just in time for Maverick Sabre who delivered quite a lengthy performance of his album tracks in his signature, roots-reggae meets soul meets Irish folk style he has conceived. The crowd chorused his biggest hit to date, “I Need”, back to him as he closed his performance. Soon after, one of my favourite songstresses of the moment, Emeli Sande took the stage. With a beaming smile and lots of energy, she bounced across the stage, seemingly happy to be there. Performing her own songs along with a Coldplay cover, she delivered a brilliant show which got the crowd swaying and singing along.
One of my favourite bands of the moment, Friendly Fires, headlined the mainstage. Categorising the Hertfordshire-bred boys’ as either dance or indie isn’t really possible; from their 2008 self-titled debut album to their stellar 2011 release Pala, the group skirted the borders of ska, indie and alt-soul with finesse. Lead singer Ed Macfarlane threw some serious shapes on stage, making me giggle as he danced with reckless abandon. Bright colours shun from the stage as the trio performed hits from both releases, including the much anticipated “Paris”.
However, while Friendly Fires closed the night beautifully, my favourite performance was a bit of a surprise for me. Upon hearing Kelis was on the bill, I was excited; I’ve been a fan from her Kaleidoscope days and even much of her offerings have kept me rocking. However, I’ve heard from many sources that her stage-shows have been hit-and-miss.
Arriving 20 minutes after her set was due to begin on the second stage, Kelis and her DJ, DJ Nikki Beatnik made the wait worth it. In typical Kelis style, she defied convention, rather than merely delivering live renditions of her cuts, the set became 50% DJ-toasting, 50% performance. With her DJ on the decks, Kelis performed a medley of her hits mixed into other well-known songs, including dancehall cuts like “Badman Pull Up”, “Coca-Cola Bottle Shape” and “Who Am I” by Beenie Man into Tasty‘s 2003 track “Trick Me”, Tinie Tempah‘s “Pass Out’ into her 3-Stacks featuring cut “Millionaire”, and marrying “Milkshake” with Madonna‘s “Holiday” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. She took the role of percussionist for her Calvin Harris produced hit “Bounce”, asked us to “bare with me” as she performed “Get Along With You” from Kaleidoscope for the first time in years, and closed the show with “Acappella“.
“I love my life!” she told us during the set, and I believe her.