With Dizzee Rascal, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Maccabees
Lovebox 2010 review

Lovebox on Friday was all about one man returning to his manor. Yes, it was Dizzee's time to shine and the Rascal came home, not as a grime artist from the underground but as a fully fledged pop star. Any pretence of maintaining his former position was comprehensively crushed with a performance that was so unashamedly pop that it could have turned the ear of Simon Cowell. And for Dizzee this is no bad thing because Mr Rascal does pop very, very well.

The evening started off pretty pop as well. Ellie Goulding and her band were pleasant enough – running through hits like 'Under the Sheets' and 'Starry Eyed' as if they were rocking out to Queens of the Stone Age. It's always fun to see a guitarist so frustrated at playing pop songs that he just forgets himself and acts like he's in an air guitar championship. And they bang a lot of drums. Drums all over the bloody stage. But hey, it was quite sweet in the late afternoon sun.

Far less pop are Bombay Bicycle Club who do their job as London's version of Interpol very well. In fact, they sounded great and were clearly at home on the Gaymer's stage before Eel Pie Island's Mystery Jets had a bash running through their surprisingly weighty collection of hits in front of an audience of fans who have heard them all hundreds of times. If I said it was a bit boring it probably wouldn't be too harsh.

Very un-boring on the other hand, and stage, were Noisettes. Now this was a show. Big hair, big tunes, big voices, show-tune dancing and loads and loads of gold. It's great to see backing singers break out of the usual Dad at a wedding dance moves and Noisettes really know how to go for it. Clearly one of those acts who's live performances take their songs into a whole new category of quality, Noisettes are a festival highlight and pretty much every stage in the summer and they excelled at Lovebox. Their cover of 'Pure Imagination' from the original 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is pretty special as well. Before the headliners took to their respective stages there was time for some fingers in the air at the Rizla Arena which is always a haven for people who like a little boogie. As usual it was carnage.

Some fast feet and slightly different start times meant that both The Maccabees and Dizzee Rascal could be taken in. Headlining the Gaymer's stage were the former. Two albums into their career, the band have really blossomed into a fantastic live act. Their intelligent and engaging songs are blessed with catchiness but there's something about their live performance that takes them up a notch. Loud, tight and full of the energy that was missing from the earlier performance of, for example, Mystery Jets, The Maccabees deserved their headline slot. And 'Toothpaste Kisses' was gorgeous. But it was Dizzee's day. The man seemed genuinely excited to be performing in his old back yard. And, in response, East London welcomed him back with open arms.

Words by Simon Cooper

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