Festival review: Friday at Lovebox 2016

Taking in the Major Lazer-led opening day in Victoria Park.

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Originally published in The Edge

Friday’s ambience in Victoria Park was extremely youthful and its lineup slightly scattered, contrasting starkly to the meticulous scheduling of Saturday and allowing a far better scope to pick and choose little snippets of the unusual. Rather than risk passing out in Fabric’s felt-lined erection for Kano’s sauna performance with surprise turns from Lethal Bizzle and Giggs, my wanders took me past Shy FX spinning vintage Dizzee Rascal, Joris Voorn playing under the shadow of a disgruntled gorilla at Elrow’s Sambodromo do Brasil, and Temple Funk Collective – a beguiling jazz octet bringing sousaphones to Swedish House Mafia, C+C Music Factory, and The Prodigy – on the quaint bandstand.

Earlier in the day, fleeting glimpses had established things nicely: none sufficiently spectacular to justify the price alone, yet perfectly enjoyable presences on a lovely afternoon of eccentric offerings. Some promised great things. “United Kingdom, much like politicians, we came to fuck shit up. Make some motherfucking noise,” opened the Run The Jewels set, which later moved towards El-P getting his new Reebok shoes dirty as he and Killer Mike rapped about fucking the NSA in some fashion on a track from the imminent RTJ3. Katy B, with more elaborate staging than at Common People in May, drew bafflingly large crowds clearly enamoured with the late-decade dubstep wobbles of ‘Perfect Stranger’ and ‘Katy On A Mission.’ , the charismatic Dane, sounded muffled and slow on the infectious ‘Walk This Way’ and ‘Kamikaze’ before missing the obvious and closing with ‘Lean On’ instead of ‘Final Song.’ GoldLink even went a step further away from such expectations, throwing a dash of Nirvana into his otherwise rapped set, triggering mosh pits more hostile than those created by Stormzy, who spent so long creating spaces before ‘Know Me From’ that some hit the deck to do press-ups. Continue reading “Festival review: Friday at Lovebox 2016”

Festival review: Sunday at Common People 2016

Duran Duran anchors the serene second and final day of Southampton’s leading festival.

Originally published in The Edge

Surveying the Common People site from atop a ferris wheel early on Sunday afternoon, a gentle reggae lilt emanating from David Rodigan and friends on the Uncontained Stage combined with a sky tinted the clearest of blues to paint a picture of sheer tranquility. Lazy days on the Common are tempting enough even without the allure of a fledgling festival. When you mix in a lunchtime workout on the main stage from Mr. Motivator, the presence of new wave royalty with rumours of elaborate pyrotechnics and confetti cannons, and all the cultural delight and gourmet eccentricity of a fancy fair situated within walking distance for most attendees, you’re left with an irresistible recipe for age-discarding delight. Continue reading “Festival review: Sunday at Common People 2016”

Album review: Katy B – Honey

An evident passion project that chuckles sultrily at the mould of a pop songstress’ third album, Honey’s variety and underground spirit gets lost in its own intentions as Katy B embraces, and is embraced by, the ideas that brought her to this point.

Originally published in The Edge

When Geeneus, the founder of Rinse FM, wanted to celebrate the graduation of his station from a pirate aerial protruding from his flat window to an actual Ofcom licensee around the turn of the decade, he looked to Katy B to voice a production showreel of their underground producer and MC cohort. Instead, he handled the bulk of the production and picked up a scatter of writing credits on On A Mission and Little Red, records which bore the inflexions of their rave scene amidst angsty pop.

Those successes – Little Red topped the album chart in 2014 and 7 singles have struck the UK top 20 – have attracted a higher profile of guest for Honey, a subsequently supercharged incarnation of that original concept, and it is only Geeneus who can manage to squeeze in a second production nod courtesy of a bit of outro work. Each track is marketed as Katy B x [INSERT PRODUCER] with the exception of a new, Tinie Tempah-less rendition of KDA’s bubbly chart-topper ‘Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)’ upon which Katy featured last autumn, and over 20 collaborators are credited over its 53 minute runtime, including a scatter of UK rappers, Rinse-affiliated producers, and enough genre-hopping to exhaust the hive. Continue reading “Album review: Katy B – Honey”