Lovebox Festival

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Lovebox festival
Victoria Park, London
4 out of 5 stars

Betty Clarke, Monday 20 July 2009 23.05 BST

It began as Groove Armada's baby, but Lovebox has grown into a source of familial pride for all festival-loving Londoners. New faces vie with old pin-ups in one of the year's most interesting lineups. Playing a main stage for the first time, Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch was commanding in a feather-adorned playsuit and heels until the ecstatic reaction to You've Got the Love took her by surprise and induced a fit of giggles.

Pharrell Williams let his lascivious streak show when he appeared with N.E.R.D, but even a stage full of willing female fans shaking their hips to She Wants to Move didn't lift the laboured mood. Gary Numan's set left the crowd needing a stiff drink as they were confronted with grinding riffs and industrial rock closer to Nine Inch Nails than anything in the electro-pop pioneer's past. Numan made them wait for Cars and Are "Friends" Electric?, breaking up the latter's classic synth melody with spoken-word renditions of the verses. It was a tender, exposed moment in a set that was defiant but difficult to love.

The opening chords of Wild Boys flung open the floodgates of affection for 1980s idols Duran Duran. Simon Le Bon turned back the years as the band blended era-defining hits such as Rio, Girls On Film and Save a Prayer with newer, if less stellar, songs Red Carpet Massacre and (Reach for the) Sunrise. They were joined by current producer Mark Ronson for Bond theme View to a Kill and Planet Earth, but the joyful crowd were still left wanting. Next time lads, ditch Ronson and play The Reflex.

Courtesy The Guardian