After experiencing teething problems at its new home in Bristol’s Ashton Court last year – not helped by torrential downpours that led to entire sets being cancelled altogether – there was a general sense that Team Love were more at ease in the setting this time around.
With dependable, if somewhat safe, headline choices in the form of Fatboy Slim and Years & Years and a decent bank holiday weather forecast to boot, the stage was set for a solid weekend of varied genre offerings.
So what was on the menu? Saturday presented fans with a dependable platter of pop, disco and dance courtesy of the likes of Kelis and Artwork, while those in search of techno and house thrills could rely on Mall Grab to deliver the goods at the festival’s iconic Center Stage.
As Norman Cook drew things to a close on the mainstage, Skream was busy serving up a helping of garage hits over at the Paradiso stage. Drum ‘n’ bass fans meanwhile were well catered for at The Big Top (perhaps the festival’s finest new addition) where Hybrid Minds delivered a barnstorming hour-long set.
Sunday’s outing shifted its focus to the classics, with General Levy kicking things off with mid-afternoon set, closing with a rendition of his inimitable M-Beat collaboration ‘Incredible’, which effortlessly lives up to its name close to three decades later.
Perhaps the weekend’s biggest draw was the continued renaissance of the original Sugababes line-up. Mutya, Siobhán and Keisha treated fans to an hour of hits, including the likes of ‘Round Round’, ‘About You Now’ and ‘Overload’. The trio were at pains to plug their O2 date in London this September, which would have felt like crass self-promo had it not been for the fact that they delivered some of the biggest crowd pleasers of the weekend.
SG Lewis and Folamour kept things suitably funky on the mainstage, while further dance delights could be found courtesy of CC:DISCO over at Shambarber stage. Keeping things weird, Bristol legend Addison Groove offered up his unique blend of dubstep, acid basslines and a sprinkling of Chicago juke to keep things varied over at the Transmission stage. Meanwhile, electronic duo Overmono set the Big Top ablaze with a dependable mix of rave, trance, and breakbeat, that would set the tone for Four Tet’s masterful closing act.
It’s easy to see why his B2B sets with Skrillex and Fred Again have become viral fodder, not least because of Kieran Hebden’s gleeful obsession with trolling crowds with sporadic drops of HOL!’s inscrutable COUNTRY RIDDIM. That sense of playfulness was on display here too, with Taylor Swift remixes and multiple appearances of tracks under his KH moniker to boot.
Love Saves The Day has benefited greatly from diversifying its lineups over the years, with a broader focus on multiple genres spread over two days. The Ashton Court site hasn’t quite found its feet yet, with the proximity of some stages causing issues with sound bleed depending on how close you are to a speaker – but for the most part it remains a solidly curated festival offering.
Words: Paul Weedon