Afterthoughts: Lovebox 2017

Now in its fifteenth year, the Friday edition of 2017’s Lovebox festival was a day of contrasts. Booking acts as varying as mainstream soul success Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, R&B royalty Frank Ocean, as well as Bulgarian techno impresario KiNK, House favourite Eats Everything, and turntablist DJ Jazzy Jeff all on the same day – the curation seemed to cater for almost any taste.

Such abundance of choice lacking clear direction has its downsides though, making the day an often jarring and overcrowded experience. Consequently, while KiNK was playing the dry ice and strobe-infested environs of the Fabric tent in the afternoon, the pulsating bass of Ray BLK’s set on the adjacent Noisey stage could be heard, as well as the inexplicably loud house of the fairground ride in between. Despite this weird blurring of generic boundaries, KiNK delivered a typically polished set. Dancing throughout while effortlessly blending live vinyl sampling with MIDI drum and keys triggering, as well as all manner of tech wizardry, KiNK transitioned from a Balearic-melodic opening into the acid squelch and electro of ‘90s rave, ending on the seething industrial bass sounds of techno.

Following Ray BLK on the Noisey stage was beat-maker extraordinaire Kaytranada. Although markedly different technically and sonically from KiNK, Kaytranada commanded his crowd with a similar ease, blasting through the hits from 99.9%, ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘Glowed Up’ and ‘You’re The One’, all unified by his trademark Dilla-style bass swing. In a similar generic vein, DJ Jazzy Jeff – of Fresh Prince fame – showcased his crate digging skills on the open-air Corona Sunsets stage. Known for his impeccable mixing and scratching, for this appearance Jeff went for selection over technical ability, resulting in a veering set that encompassed everything from TLC to Biggie to Toto. Yet, with the sun shining gloriously and a perfectly-timed rendition of Will Smith’s ‘Summertime’, it was impossible not to dance along.

Read the rest of the feature on Hyponik.

[This piece was published on 20/07/17]