As Lana Del Rey stood before thousands of chanting fans in Hackney’s Lovebox festival on Sunday, she summed up the aura of it all by simply stating “There are no words are there?” Probably not, but as a writer I have to at least give it a crack so here goes.
Lovebox was unlike other festivals that I’ve attended, in that, rather than just being a festival it seemed to be a movement accompanied by music. The entire event appeared to give unity to the diversity of London. Skaters, drag queens, rockers and bohemians mixed amongst one another to create a kaleidoscope of fashion and musical tastes.The NYC Downlow was by far the most elaborate stage I’ve seen. A yellow taxi smashed in to the side of a derelict building, wheels still spinning, whilst dancers body popped behind a wall that had almost fallen away. Funky disco music pumped through the shattered windows from within. Entry cost an additional £2 with all proceeds contributing to the mother of mercy aids orphanage and hospice.
The main stage was hosted throughout the day by, drag act, Jonny Woo. With his many outlandish costume changes, he had the presence of a circus ringmaster, or should that be mistress? Bourgeios and Maurice joined Jonny on stage, dressed in sequins, to perform their comedic ballad ‘Don’t Google me Mother’ getting the crowd warmed up as they began to filter in to Victoria Park.The Rapture proved, contrary to their name, to be the beginning of all things rather than the end. By the time they walked on stage the festival was in full swing and the New Yorkers proved more than capable of captivating a full house. For me it was The Rapture that set the tone of upbeat frivolity that was to come. As The Rapture set the tone, Mika followed in tune with an animated performance of ‘Relax, Take it Easy.’ Whilst Chaka Khan prepared on the main stage. Very special guest Lana Del Rey put in a very special performance. Live, she is a birdlike creature with her graceful movements, and sweet melodic sound. The whole performance was quite sobering and proved enough to move certain audience members to tears as they sang along to ‘video games.’
Felix Da Housecat picked up the pace on the Stockade – This Is… Circus stage, pumping out some huge electro beats including ‘We All Wanna Be Prince’ and 2011 hit ‘Burn The Disco.’
Grace Jones closed the festival and frankly she was frightening, but in a good way, in a Grace Jones way. It was less than three weeks ago that the world witnessed her hula hooping outside Buckingham Palace as she sang her set for the Queen. At Lovebox she put in another vibrant performance complete with guttural animal sounds, a performance that made it easy to forget that she’s now 64 years old.
After Friday’s electro and hip hop line up, and Saturday’s sell out Music Safari, Sunday was a colourful and upbeat way to cap off Groove Armada’s Lovebox 2012.