REVIEW: LOVEBOX 2013 | Skip to main content


Sunday: the not-so-gay day

Consciously pitched as the gayest of three days of Lovebox, Sunday brings the likes of Horse Meat Disco, Kim Ann Foxman and Jodie Harsh to the scorched yellow fields of Victoria Park this year.

But surveying the scattering of tents on yet another day of blazing 30-degree heat, DJ Mag can't help but question its validity as a celebration of polysexual pride. Most people gravitate towards the west side of site because the main stage has been shut down due to poor ticket sales, pushing all of the acts to the diminutive Terrazza stage.

Today's dearth is perhaps part owing to our headliner, Goldfrapp. The fey, future-gothic leanings of Alison and her synth band may have been an obvious choice perhaps five years ago (the last time they played), but an act who released their last artist album in 2010 – and enjoyed their main flurry of success ten years ago – is hardly going to get East London trend-blazers flocking in their thousands. 

Another explanation is the sheer competition in London and its surrounding area this weekend, with Farr Festival in Hertfordshire and Electric Daisy Carnival at the olympic park, indicating the London festival circuit at a never seen before level of saturation.

Lovebox's Sunday booking policy, however, has never stood out for its originality. Grace Jones in 2010 was somewhat of a coup, but the choice to bring her back again last year smacked with play-safe complacency. If it sold out last time, why change it? Perhaps. But we don't expect to see Rolling Stones headlining Glasto 2015.

Once again, the same disco DJs and '90s house jocks of all persuasions – new and old – dominate the line-up but what's lacking is the flamboyance of DJ Mag's previous experience of Lovebox Sunday.

DJ Harvey's moody journey through dark vintage disco and industrial post-punk in the Red Bull tent is compelling, sure, but, lacking any real crescendo, the tardy vibe – perhaps owing to excessive heat – rarely lifts beyond a stroll. 

Solomun does a fine job of pumping fists over at Heidi's Jackathon hosted Boxfresh stage, before the queen of jack herself closes with bangers such as Paul Woolford 'Untitled' and a trap remix of Whitney Houston ('It's Not Right But It's Okay') until 10.30pm. Though, not without leaving hordes of people with an insatiable desire for more, wandering from tent to tent in futile search of sound.

Elsewhere we hear reports Kelis has done a good job of bringing some vibrancy to the makeshift mini-main stage, while the non-appearance of Lil Kim only adds to the sense that the day has become a damp squib. 

Nowhere to be seen is the raw energy of Larry Heard at Rizla Stage or the explosive finale of Grace Jones (with her hoola hoop) witnessed in 2010. Instead, we get a series of bog-standard tents with run-of-the-mill sound and a solid – but hardly groundbreaking – selection of DJs. Hot, but not too hot to handle. 

Words: Adam Saville