This year's Lovebox celebrated a "decade of love", where in such time it has grown to become one of the UK's leading boutique festivals. Its history boasts headliners including Blondie, Norman Jay and The Flaming Lips, as well as founders Groove Armada, and after a disappointing showing of big names last year, the event promised to up its game for the occasion.
The notoriously under-attended Friday was easily fixed with a headline slot from Hot Chip, who with an impressive back catalogue, a new album to push and England's victory against Sweden still fresh, found no trouble in getting the crowd pumped with their own brand of intelligent electro. Meanwhile, Skream closed proceedings minutes later with a chest-juddering set on the Big Top Stage.
Saturday's Lovebox featured a far more impressive bill, bringing festival goers in their thousands. Rising all-girl trio Stooshe attracted a surprisingly large crowd despite a lack of original material, showing off their vocal acrobatics on covers of TLC's 'Waterfalls' and Rihanna's 'Where Have You Been'. Kelis's 30-minute tardiness resulted in a half-baked performance, though it quickly washed over the crowd when she unveiled her new Skream-produced single 'Distance'.
Maverick Sabre more than proved his worth on the main stage, as did Emeli Sandé, who successfully transformed her ballad-heavy LP Our Version of Events for a lively and boozy setting. The evening's coup was Friendly Fires, who appeared to take the spotlight in their stride as frontman Ed McFarlane brought out his best Mick Jagger impression when performing songs from their 2008 self-titled debut.
Sundays at Lovebox has an out-and-proud gay theme with a camp lineup to match. The audience enjoyed the long-awaited return of Sam Sparro and a wild set from Brit-Spaniards Crystal Fighters, although frontman Sebastian Pringle lunging himself across the stage only just compensated for their lack of catchy material.
Lana Del Rey continued her streak of impressive live showings with another captivating set, but in the end the night belonged to Grace Jones. Appearing on stage covered in a silver cape, she not only changed outfits between every song in her one hour, 15 minute slot, the 64-year-old jiggled her bum, humped the stage and pole danced through each of her classics. A 14-minute rendition of 'Slave to the Rhythm' was a bonkers but fitting finale to a festival that has always traded on its diversity. Here's to another ten years.
Watch Stooshe perform 'Black Heart' backstage at Lovebox below:
Click through the gallery below of this year's Lovebox 2012:
Copyright: PA Images John Phillips/EMPICS Entertainment
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