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Lovebox review – Solange amazes but Frank Ocean seems in a field of his own | Musique Non Stop

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Lovebox review – Solange amazes but Frank Ocean seems in a field of his own

Victoria Park, London
The two US R&B stars took opposing but equally successful approaches to wowing a festival whose bill mixed the navel-gazing and the forward-thinking

Lovebox has always been a festival for the pop omnivore, a glitter-speckled mishmash for weekend hedonists and fancy-dressers. But this year’s edition felt distinctly segregated, and not just because of the VIP loos (accessible with a £15 wristband). Both days were nostalgia-free events, with a focus on new rather than heritage acts, yet the curation led to a drastic front-loading of expectations, with all eyes and ears waiting for one man.

Frank Ocean’s Friday night headline slot was the subject of anxious anticipation, following a spate of festival no-shows from the R&B recluse. For many of his fans – and they are legion and obsessive – tonight marks their first live encounter with Ocean. The hardcore queue for hours to buy one-off screenprinted T-shirts commemorating the occasion. When he finally appears, 25 minutes late, he confines himself to a tiny platform jutting into the crowd, a setup both intimate and isolating. Kicking off with Solo and Chanel from last year’s album Blonde, the singer skulks around his desert island accompanied by a minimal backing band, placing his vocals – quivering, note-perfect – rightly to the fore. He is dwarfed by three video screens behind him, relaying camcorder-style visuals captured by a roving cameraman who turns out to be Spike Jonze (the director is rumoured to be filming a tour documentary).

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by Chal Ravens via Electronic music | The Guardian