This year Victoria Park will play host to Lovebox for the thirteenth time with its inaugural event actually taking place on a strip off Tottenham Court Road, which was quickly followed by a residency at 93 Feet East in Shoreditch in 2002. Popularity grew and Lovebox’s first outdoor in 2003 was held in Clapham Common, fast forward to 2017 and we are to be treated again with host of UK and International acts.
What is so impressive about Lovebox is its commitment to showcase new talent whilst still enlisting the support of more established acts. Below are six artists to look out for at Lovebox 2017 this weekend.
Securing Frank Ocean as one of this year’s headliners is probably one of Lovebox’s biggest feats in recent memory. The often elusive Ocean is fresh off the success of last year’s Endless and the critically acclaimed Blonde, and is in a prolific mood of releasing new music, one which his listeners have not been accustomed to in recent times. ‘Slide’, ‘Lens’, ‘Chanel’, ‘Biking’ and his guest verse on A$AP Rocky’s ‘Raf’ have all dropped in the first five months of this year and have heightened the already mouth-watering prospect of Frank Ocean performing at Lovebox.
In conjunction with these releases, the adulation surrounding this appearance is in part due to his failure to announce an album tour as yet, when you consider his last disappearing act following Channel Orange, the appearance of this enigmatic genius justifies the admission price.
Ps. Don’t cancel Frank, we beg.
Expectations were high for Solange’s 2016 solo return, but the delectable A Seat At The Table outstripped even the Knowles sister’s biggest fans’ highest hopes. More than an album, it was adopted by many as a self-care guide to navigating a turbulent political climate spanning the rise of Donald Trump, the persistence of police brutality in black communities, and other interconnected modern American concerns. A dose of beauty to balance the brutality, it was a phenomenon that deserved an appropriately show-stopping live production. If Primavera was anything to go by we’ll be in for a treat, especailly when ‘Cranes In The Sky’ drops.
There are few artists in the world who are as sought after at the moment as Sampha. Having worked alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry, like Kanye, Drake, Frank Ocean and Solange (the latter two will also play at Lovebox 2017 and are featured in this article), Sampha’s first solo album, Process, was released earlier this year. The album has been received extremely well and is widely regarded as one of the best albums of early 2017.
In terms of music, Sampha’s smooth combination of electro-soul and RnB could prove to be the perfect summer soundtrack. Despite having transatlantic success, Sampha has remained true to his London roots. For this globe-trotting superstar from Morden, playing at Lovebox will almost feel like a home-coming gig and this gives the performance the potential to be incredibly special. It will be interesting to see how he navigates a Lovebox crowd hungry for powerful bass drops with a tendency to two step.
Long overdue a headline spot on a UK festival bill ever since his thrilling 99.9% lit up our summers last May. At Lovebox, he gets it, bringing his beatmaking and matching brilliance to Victoria Park in what will almost certainly be a party to remember. The key question is who will he bring out? Craig David is surely a must, there are also rumours being mooted of an appearance by Chance The Rapper.
Rex Orange County
On both tracks, he paints the trials of teenage life, lingering on the insignificant and unnoticed like a natural storyteller.
Add to that his roomy DIY lo-fi sound, which slips between raw emotional wallop and perky brass-led choruses, and you’ve got a potent songwriting recipe all boxed up for success. He’s had cosigns from DJ and Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank and as recent as this week has featured on the opening track of Tyler the Creator’s Scum F**k Flower Boy. Given his relatively unknown status he is bound to be playing early at Lovebox but definitely worth a listen if you can make it, his sound is very reminiscent of King Krule.
Following up his explosive performance at Lovebox 2016, Kano returns to Victoria Park this year after his album Made in the Manor, received widespread praise and was nominated for a Mercury award.
Although Kano has not enjoyed as much mainstream success as some of his contemporaries like Skepta and Wiley, it would be remiss to describe this artist as anything other than one of the pioneers of Grime. In a career that has spanned over two decades, Kano has produced some of the most important grime music ever. Since, his debut album Home Sweet Home, Kano has worked with Grime legends like Dizzee and Wiley, but also superstars across other genres like the Gorillaz, Blur and even Craig David.
Kano will sure to bring fireworks when he takes to Lovebox’s mainstage on the Saturday. His set will likely be a mixture of some of his classic tracks as well as a taste of his new material and maybe even what to expect going forward.