• Joe Maguire

Lovebox 2018: Livewire's Preview

As summer kicks in, the anticipation of festival season draws ever closer and this year Lovebox has certainly got us something to be excited about. Switching from its usual east London location to Acton's Gunnersbury Park, the festival spans over the 13th and 14th of July and is packed full of an all-encompassing, eclectic array of artists which will satisfy a wide-ranging musical palate.

We'll be here for both the days and are going to provide you with the acts we're most excited for.

Notable festivals have often left a prevailing sense of disappointment when it comes to headline slots. It's happened to us all, we get caught up in the allure of an announcement and are left with a washed-out 2008 rock band that no one really cares about anymore *cough Kings Of Leon cough*. Lovebox has certainly pulled out all the stops with their headliners this year. Childish Gambino will headline the Main Stage on the Saturday and honestly, I can't wait. There's been rumours circling that the next Childish Gambino album will be his last under the moniker. This will be a truly legendary performance and one which will stay with you forever.

Speaking of legends, the infamous Staten Island hip hop Wu-Tang Clan are making a UK exclusive appearance at Lovebox. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their iconic debut album Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers), the rap titans will be whipping out some of their most prestigious hits such as 'Protect Ya Neck', 'C.R.E.A.M.', and 'Method Man'. It's great to see the members put aside internal conflicts and unite to celebrate one of the most important releases in hip hop history.

Catch Wu-Tang Clan at the Main Stage on Friday. This will be one for the history books.

Headlining the Noisey stage on the Friday, Long Beach, Californian rapper Vince Staples will take to the stage to offer what will be one of the performances of the weekend. His most recent LP Big Fish Theory cemented Staples into the AOTY lists for many last year and proved he can turn everything he says on the internet into eccentric club bangers. Staples remains introspective in his lyrics tackling issues such as the toxic culture of contemporary hip hop, poverty and the barbarity of gang violence. With the help of experimental pop producer SOPHIE and Australian electronic artist Flume, he transforms these hard-hitting talking points into 36 minutes of infectious dance bops. Staples' live performance is bound to make you move as he throws himself around on stage omitting the energy that crowds want to respond to. Flailing limbs and abstract mannerisms make Staples' shows a juxtaposition of electrifying energy and vulnerability in lyrical content. His nihilistic delivery over booming UK rave styled beats allows Staples to transcend many hip hop clichés ubiquitous in the game right now.

Don’t miss this performance. It's certainly going to be one you will remember.

Gracing the main stage on the Friday is one of the most prolific names in RnB and hip hop at the moment. Anderson .Paak and his band infuse soulfully velvet melodies with a warm conversational delivery which is poignant and delicate in its approach. The Californian singer/songwriter's first musical experience was being a drummer in his family's church and eventually went on to become a teacher at music school. In 2011, whilst trying to make it as a musician, he was also working at a marijuana farm but was let go which resulted in him, his wife and his child being homeless. Later on that year, he started to gain the respect of the LA music scene and was able to get back on his feet. Since then there was no looking back, he has since gone on to have two Grammy nominations and a place on the XXL Freshman class of 2016. On his critically acclaimed 2016 album Malibu, Paak delivered a blissful soul-soaked project which sustained a sincerely community based texture with every word he spoke. The album talks of him in his lowest of places but also how he ascended any place of comfort to reach his goals. This year, Paak released the single Bubblin which was emblematic of the heights he's reached in the last two years. With a sprinkle of trash talking and playful flexing, he supplies triplet flows over a stomping beat and vibrant horns. Paak described the instrumentals of Bubblin to Zane Lowe as "some black 007 action adventure high speed chase type of music.”

Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals are going to make a profound impact on your life, don’t miss out on this!

I don’t even know where to start with SZA. Her album last year 'CTRL' was in my AOTY list and her credentials speak for themselves. On the back of this record she received five Grammy nominations including Best New Artist and this meant she had the most nominations of any female artist that year. CTRL was a window into Solana's personal life and was ethereal in its contagious melodies and transcends the borders of a typical RnB record. Touching on aspects of sexual freedom and modern romance, SZA offers an honest insight into the heartache of love with the general narrative being one of asserting self-care and individuality to your life.

2017 was a massive year for SZA and it's an exciting prospect to see her at Lovebox this year. Catch her soul-quenching tunes at the Main Stage on Friday.

Headlining The Fact Stage on Friday night are Belfast based duo Bicep. This synth-loving pair have been carrying the torch for electronic music for the past decade. An important aspect that strays Bicep away from the myriad of mediocre dance DJs is their live performance. The duo adds flamboyant new flavours to older tracks and a dazzling light production which concocts an almost tangible experience. The amalgamation of different influences seep through their sound and shape an abundance of melodic dance-floor anthems. The Bicep boys are experts in their field of dance music. They started out by running a blog titled 'Feel My Bicep' which acted as an outlet for Dance enthusiasts to find anything from Detroit Techno to Italo-Disco. As the website grew it attracted more than 100,000 visitors per month and was only a matter of time before the pair decided to direct all their energy into producing Bicep. Bicep signed to Ninja Tune last year and released their much anticipated self-titled album which peaked at 20 in the UK album chart. It also received a barrel of positive feedback from publications such as The Guardian, Pitchfork and Clash.

Bicep are a perfect festival band especially to finish off your day. If you get the chance, make sure to catch their set and you will not be disappointed.

South London MC and rapper Ms Banks is at the forefront of the upcoming generation of UK talent. Her bold lyrical flow has gained her co- signs from artists such as Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. This 23 year old has been tipped for success in 2018 by numerous radio stations and publications. Her music revolves around concepts of female empowerment and individuality, supported through snapshots of her personal experiences as a female in the music industry and society's expectations of women. Bank's mixtape, The Coldest Winter Ever, was released this year and based upon Sister Soulja's 1999 novel which is also named 'The Coldest Winter Ever'. The project has a range of dynamics with tracks like 'Over' exposing Banks' vulnerable side, whilst other tracks such as 'R.I.P' is a drill anthem which Banks unleashes explosive bars.

Ms Banks plays the Kopparberg Outsider stage on the Friday. Make sure you catch her set so you can boast to all your friends about how you saw her before she hit superstar status.

Probably the act I'm most excited to see all weekend would have to be The Internet. Comprising of six members, the group's 90's feel good RnB bangers have gained them a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2015 and a Billboard Top Ten album. After a little break, The Internet returned this year with two new songs, Come Over and Roll (Burbank Fur), in the campaign for their new album named Hive Mind which is scheduled to release July 20th. The soothing vocals of Syd compliment the soulful instrumentation perfectly and result in irresistible love songs.

The Internet play Main Stage on Saturday. See ya there.

Kali Uchis is becoming one of the most exciting artists in 2018. Her debut album, Isolation, is crammed back to back with RnB goodness with features coming from Steve Lacey, Jorja Smith, Tyler the Creator and even Damon Albarn from Blur. Everything about Kali Uchis is endearing, from her vibrant aesthetic to her distinctive voice, there is nothing that is going to stop this woman from becoming a household name. The blend of summery RnB with her larger-than-life personality makes it a joy to listen to everything she puts out and I can't wait to see how these songs are conveyed live.

Kali Uchis plays the Main Stage on Saturday, make sure you get into the summer spirit in the right way and go see her.

Lovebox 2018 is looking to be one of the strongest UK festival line ups this summer. For more info, check out Lovebox's website, and check back for here after the festival for a full review.

#musicfestival #Lovebox #ChildishGambino

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