Lovebox - Saturday 17 July 2010

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18. Jul. 2010, 11:35

Fri 16 Jul – Lovebox London Weekender

My first trip to Lovebox, drawn there to see Roxy Music. In my case, for the first time, though there were clearly many there who’d followed them from the start. Festivals with a very distinct headliner sometimes feel a bit lop-sided and as the day went on there was less inclination to sample random stages and all roads led to Roxy. I’m not sure if that was true for everyone and good on you if you opted for Empire of the Sun (they were playing loud enough to drown out Roxy on occasions, and sounded pretty good).

It took us a while to settle down – there’s plenty to choose from at Lovebox and difficult to know where to start. We finally settled on the Bandstand for Swaharama, an Indian band who manage to combine serious political analysis with a man dressed as a horse. Only at Lovebox, I’m starting to think.

After a hula hoop workshop (we’re starting to get the hang of this), it’s Wild Beasts on the main stage. We enjoyed them and I was very pleased to see them sticking true to their Yorkshire musical heritage by having some of Cud’s gear on stage with them (I noticed the distinctive logo stencilled onto their carry cases).

The rule of festival says that when more than three are gathered in the same place then verily one of them will not want to watch Paloma Faith. I miss out apparently, because all of my friends are won over by her. I much prefer Midnight Juggernauts over on the second stage, though. If The Bravery had listened to ELO instead of Joy Division, this is where they’d have ended up. Despite apologising for having lost half their kit on route, they hit it on the nail and might have been by favourite set of the day.

Back to the main stage for Mark Ronson’s indie karaoke, which has never floated my boat, though it’s good natured and just right for this time of the festival day. Towards the end, he brings on half of Duran Duran, Simon le Bon’s jacket getting us into that Roxy yacht club vibe. He tops this by bringing on the other half of DD and they play Planet Earth much to the delight of the oldsters.

There’s then a pause while the Roxy faithful assemble at the front of the stage. This is easily the most mature crowd I’ve ever seen at the front at a festival. I hadn’t seen many of these people at the hula hoop demonstration, but they’re suitably excited at seeing their teenage heroes. As a man in my forties, of course, I’m envious that I missed Roxy in their prime. They hit the ground running with Re-Make/Re-Model but then take a long detour through their slow and delicate numbers – Out of the Blue, Song For Europe - which seriously divides the aficionados (who are content to listen to Manzanera and Mackay solos) from the casual festival go-ers (who want the hits). The crowd around me start to get restless and a few minor arguments break out. Just in time, the hits kick in Virginia Plain, Love Is the Drug, Editions of You. Bryan starts doing his ski-ing dance (you know, the one where he bends his elbows and thrusts one arm forward at a time) and he makes a bit of a hash of Jealous Guy (note to Bryan – session whistler required for the stadium tour).

They encore with Let’s Stick Together and Do the Strand and send us home happy. For Roxy fans, the stadium shows next year should be a treat. For their remaining festival dates, however, they might want to think about mixing the set up a bit.

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