Lovebox Weekender - Victoria Park, London - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Lovebox Weekender - Victoria Park, London

by Leonora Walters Rating: Release Date:

Lovebox Weekender 2010 was bigger than ever before, definitely more efficient (at the ticket gate and bars) with even more stages and commercial stands such as a makeshift HMV. However, in no way did this detract from what I think is London's friendliest and most relaxed festival - the atmosphere was better than ever and the weather fantastic!

Anyway, in no particular order...

Mark Ronson and the Business International

Though not the official headline, Mark Ronson's performance was definitely the stand out of the day. Resplendent in blue suit, white tie and teddy boy quiff, Ronson came out accompanied by his Business Intl, who arranged themselves in their positions round stage as he played Circuit Breaker. The various singers in the business doubled up as instrumentalists when they were not singing, so no that no one was unoccupied and the stage was a constant hive of activity throughout the performance.

The set kicked off with new single 'Bang Bang Bang', and vocalist MNDR left her keyboard to come up front while rapper Spank Rock (standing in for Q-Tip who performs on the record) strutted up and down not far behind.

This was followed by 'Just' whereupon Alex Greenwald of Phantom Planet, in similar teddy boy outfit to Mark Ronson, came forward, and engaged in what was probably the most genteel crowd surf I've ever seen. Approaching the front of the stage, Greenwald politely warned his audience that he was about to jump on them, which he promptly did and surfed until the equally considerate crowd carefully placed him back on stage.

Rumours were confirmed when Mark Ronson brought out Duran Duran members Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon who are also collaborating with him on his new album, Record Collection, much to the delight of the crowd, and performed material from the new album.

But Ronson played old favourites as well as new material. Former Pippette Rose Elinor Dougall stood in for Lily Allen on 'Oh My God' but delivered a rather lacklustre rendition. The same could be said about The View's Kyle Falconer's delivery of 'Valerie' - the song seemed as flat as the Zutons' original without the power of Amy Winehouse.

Nevertheless overall a great set - Ronson continues to exert his innate ability to make his artists, songs and music meld together. Best vocals - undoubtedly MNDR, best stage presence, Alex Greenwald - obviously excepting the great Mr Ronson himself.

Trojan Sound System

Reggae outfit Trojan Sound System took over one of Lovebox's main dance stages, the Rizla arena, late Saturday afternoon. The two DJs and three MCs mixed 'reggae' chart hits with more authentic records working up from a relaxed sound to a more upbeat tempo, in preparation for the harder sounds to follow later that night, all stamped with their own take on it - including a dubstep baseline for one record at which point the crowd went wild. It was a fantastic mix.

The three MCs also worked well together - one focused more on soulful tunes, one rapped and one stuck to more traditional reggae singing styles. They were joined at the end by one of the two DJs, Earl Gateshead. who came down and sang on the final track. A great set - relaxed enough for the afternoon but lively enough to get the crowd going for two hours.

Random wanderings

Just after entering Victoria Park, the first gig I stumbled upon was Toro Y Moi's set. Although a short performance of only about six songs lasting 20 minutes, it ranged round the various influences that inform this group's work, from freak-folk to r&b via French house - highlights from first album, Causers of This.

Founder and vocalist, Chaz Bundick, accompanied by two band members, started out reasonably ethereal and electronic sounding, became more blues and rock with some heavier baselines, and then mellowed out to become more acoustic with some nice guitar riffs. While the set made good sunny summer afternoon listening, it never seemed to take off, but in fairness, Toro's music, despite its exotic blend, is characterised by its understated quality - and it was a lovely sunny afternoon.

Later on after watching Trojan Sound System, I stumbled upon Drum Along Disco, in the Cuervo Street Fiesta arena - an area to dance, lie on the grass or buy the aforesaid drink. Drum Along Disco basically banged out popular dance tunes with their own mix - most unsophisticated but captured the relaxed festival mood and with a short one hour slot were fine as an interlude for more interesting performances.

In the Cat Flap tent, I came upon The Ends - an electro rocker/DJ. He combined his own music with huge hits such as David Guetta's 'When Love Takes Over', but in his own style of European sounding electro rock. A bit different but worked.

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