The early afternoon vibe is blissful for the second leg of the Lovebox Weekender. The sun beats down with an intensity out of keeping with the summer so far. It’s a good excuse for an ice-cold margarita, and a chance to kick back and sample the sounds of French speaking Mali band Tinariwen, bringing good vibes to a generously sized main stage crowd.
Elsewhere the mood is similarly relaxed, with the Trojan soundsystem setting up camp in their wood-surrounded enclosure, bringing a smile to anyone passing their way. Even the police are grinning, such is the general bonhomie!
The good vibes continue, as Groove Armada’s Andy Cato brings a slice of the Mediterranean to the Strangelove tent in a strong house set, preparing the way for Hot Chip on the main stage.
And I Was A Boy From School makes an affecting opener for the group, who overcome a few technical difficulties with a sense of humour on Just Like We Break Down. Over And Over inevitably caps a fine appearance, the crowd are nodding appreciatively and feet are twitching.
The Rapture put their feet fully in motion, though their set proves remarkably short at just over forty minutes. Still, House of Jealous Lovers sounds as urgent and intense as ever, and with their sharp basslines and tight rhythms the New Yorkers power on with great conviction.
With a break before the B-52s‘ arrival it’s off to sample the hypnotic sounds of the Capoeira showcase taking place in one of the many side enclaves of Lovebox. Close by, people are in a trance from Indian head massage, oblivious to the frantic circus activities taking place metres from their freshly enhanced headspace. It’s carnival time alright, and after a brief Trojan excursion we head for the Bassline circus tent.
Our luck is in, as Mr Hudson and the Library bring their English romanticism to the crowd over their cosmopolitan beats, Ben Hudson striking an immediate rapport with his audience before charming them with Bread & Roses, Everything Happens To Me and a new song that hits the nail on the head with the lyric “clear blue skies are rare these days”. They close with a ska knees-up bolted on the end of an exuberant Too Late, an entertaining end to a perfectly executed feelgood festival set.
By way of support to Groove Armada it’s back to the Strangelove tent, where Layo & Bushwacka are whipping up a frenzy with a belting house set culminating in Love Story, which would strip the plaster from the walls were it indoors.
Groove Armada close their own festival – and it’s a great performance from the curators that underlines their complete transition from chillout favourites to party soundtrackers. The recent album Soundboy Rock gets a thorough going-over, a great opportunity to bring out Mutya Buena for a sassy Song 4 Mutya and Candi Staton for a gloriously husky Love Sweet Sound. Best of all is Get Down, the song that sums up the festival’s day in the sun and lingers long in the memory as we dance ourselves silly.