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18 June 2012

Lovebox festival celebrates 10-year anniversary in style

EAST London’s premier festival celebrated its 10-year anniversary in typical style on 15 to 17 June, with a bill that featured hot breakthrough acts like Rita Ora alongside Lovebox favourites including Grace Jones.

The Victoria Park festival always prides itself in its DJ line-up, and Saturday saw veteran Norman Jay spinning soulful, funky tunes from the back of a van in support of East London charity Art Against Knives.

The afternoon crowd went wild to classics such as ‘You’ve Got the Love’ dancing on hay bails, hands in the air.

Other highlights included festival founders Groove Armada, who made a welcome return after a few years absence and put on an energy-filled show. And Kelis, who owned the stage in her corseted black, feathery ball gown, supported by an all-female backing band.

Under the tagline Out & Out Fierce, Sunday attracted the usual loyal support from East London’s gay community, with many punters giving the acts a run for their money in terms of outrageous outfits and general fabulousness.

Chic captured the crowd’s sometimes short attention span with a set from prolific producer Nile Rodgers’ back catalogue, which included the endlessly sampled ‘Freak Out’ and ‘We Are Family’, as well as the monster hits he wrote for Madonna, David Bowie and Duran Duran.

There was much anticipation for living legend Chaka Khan, who took to the stage in denim cat suit and gold diamanté studded microphone. After a storming opening of ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and ‘I Feel For You’, she lost all but funk aficionados, before bringing it back with a hands in the air rendition of ‘I’m Every Woman’.

But ladies and gentlemen, the undisputed show-stealer was Miss Grace Jones, who had an adoring crowd eating out her hands. A consummate pro with great backing band and lighting designers, she has the vocal power and stage presence to put performers half her age to shame.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it all before, you can’t help worshiping a 64-year-old with that arse, who changes Issey Miyake outfits and Philip Tracey hats between every song; drinks wine through a straw; pole-dances; and finishes her set with a 14 minute hula-hoop to ‘Slave to the Rhythm’. All hail the (real) Queen.

Grace Jones sang and hula-hooped her way through Slave to the Rhythm

Grace Jones sang and hula-hooped her way through Slave to the Rhythm

Grace Jones sang and hula-hooped her way through Slave to the Rhythm Chaka Khan took to the stage in a denim cat suit and gold diamante microphone

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