Lovebox 2019: Livewire's Preview
Taking place in mid July, it seems strange that London's Lovebox festival marks the start of summer in the British calendar, but this is the system that we have all adopted, so to prepare for this transition, here's Livewire's all-encompassing guide to Lovebox 2019.
With over 80 artists spread across 2 days, Lovebox is going to be one of those festivals where choosing one artist over the other is a matter of life and death and with 10 different stages, you're going to be out of breath running from act to act. So to minimise this hassle, we've put together some of the highlights of the weekend into one neat place, ranging from headliners to hidden gems, there's a lot to look forward to this July.
Headlining your Friday evening is easily one of the most creative and unique voices in R&B as Solange will be taking the stage with what will no doubt be a masterclass in performance as promised by her fantastic 2nd album When I Come Home earlier this year. Before this will be a showcase in some of the UK's best talent with the lyrical Loyle Carner, the return of J Hus and of course Slowthai (who featured in Livewire's 'Ones To Watch;' article in 2018. Both Loyle Carner and Slowthai will be bringing their fantastic new albums to the main stage, and with J Hus's debut album Common Sense turning 2 years old this year, there's always potential for some new music from him. And bringing this hip-hop focused evening full circle is legendary hip-hop and grime DJ Tiffany Calver, who will no doubt treat London to some of the biggest hits of the decade along with some quality mixes.
Over on the Noisey Presents stage are west coast hip-hop legends Cypress Hill who will be bringing the same energy and presence that helped establish the west coast hip-hop scene in the early 90's. Expect some heavy boom-bap beats and lots of jumping as everyone waits in anticipation to see if B-Real brings back the afro for this set. One of the pillars of electronic music in London Kaytranada will be gracing us with his presence on Friday evening and I honestly couldn't be more excited. To me, Kaytranada has always been one of the leading voices in modern dance music, with his debut album 99.9% still being one of the best and weirdest showcases of London talent there is and in my opinion, this is the one set you need to prioritise on the Friday. Another addition to the list of sets you don't want to miss comes from Jazz-R&B-Pop hybrid Tara Lily whose track 'Who Saw Who' blew me away last year, combining sensational vocals with a disjointed and trippy Jazz instrumental that she will bring to the Noisey Presents stage this July. Regardless of the festival, Tara Lily is a name you better get familiar with now so you can look really cool when she blows up in the next year.
On the DJ side of things, Friday boasts some big names with Solomun and Guy Gerber, household names to any avid Boiler Room follower, will no doubt be bringing this same, intimate energy to the Unleash stage with some classic deep house and trance. If you want some more hip-hop in your life then head over to The Hidden Jungle on Friday evening for Narx, a smooth, London DJ who focuses on solid grime and afrobeat bangers that will no doubt bring the party with him alongside classic UK Garage DJ Ollie Rant who will be lighting up The Hidden Jungle on Friday evening.
I know that is already a lot to take in, but we've still got another day to go and Saturday at Lovebox 2019 is easily just as good if not better than the the Friday, as mad as it sounds. Headlining the I-D Presents stage on Saturday is Chicago's golden child Chance The Rapper, who is easily one of the most wholesome names in rap as he will be bringing 7 years of soulful hip-hop to the stage as well as some new stuff, with his new album releasing in July (supposedly). Supporting him on the stage before him will be the landlord himself Giggs who remains one of the most iconic names (and voices) in British music as well as two of my favourite artists this decade, Brockhampton and Four Tet. While they couldn't be more different in their sound they are both at the top of their class with Brockhampton taking hip-hop and pop to a new level of creativity in past few years and Four Tet providing easily the most interesting and danceable music in house and electronic. If you are unsure about Four Tet, it is something that needs to be seen to understand, so make sure you get yourself to that main stage on Saturday evening.
Joining this packed main stage lineup is of course Lizzo, 2019's pop queen who brings an air of positivity and acceptance wherever she walks and if it isn't sunny already, don't worry London, she'll change that for you. Other names to watch out for on the main stage are VanJess providing some packed 90's inspired R&B as well as some smooth pop bangers coming from Amber Mark.
Over on the Noisey Presents stage none other than the Legend himself, Action Bronson, will be leading the charge. Whether you know him from his extraordinary cooking or his rambunctious rapping, his set is bound to be bouncy, energetic and lyrical not to mention his glorious stage presence. Coming just before is the jazzy London duo Children of Zeus, whose last album Travel Light got some love from BBC 6 Music throughout last year as well as one of my favourite electronic musicians at the moment, Ross From Friends. With his debut album last year and his signing with Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder records it's been a huge 12 months for the Essex-born producer, who is, in my opinion, making some of the best deep house right now and really cannot be missed for any fan of electronic music. Of course I couldn't mention the Noisey Presents stage without touching on hip-hop icon CupcakKe, grime/hip-hop/afrobeat/drill star Tion Wayne or star-studded producer Take A Daytrip who produced U.S hits like 'Mo Bamba' and 'Panini'.
Once again Saturday brings highlights from the DJ world like Jayda G, Charlotte de Witte and Big Miz who will all bring those classic house hi-hats to London that will no doubt be rattling in the ears of the public for weeks afterwards. One DJ that can't wait to see is Sally C as she presented her wonderful mix of 90's house music at AVA festival earlier this year. And of course, one can't really talk about British DJ-ing without talking about one of the biggest names on this lineup in Annie Mac as the part-time Radio 1 DJ, part-time national treasure will show her experience on the decks with an absolutely classic set of UK dance tunes.
While there's no doubt Lovebox has a big emphasis on the hip-hop side of things across all it's stages, but alongside a mixed bag of fantastic DJ's between both days, Lovebox is really a representation of the UK and London scene. Sweaty DJ sets, banging hip-hop and grime beats and sun, I don't really know what more you could want from a festival in the city.