Love Saves The Day – Saturday 27th May 2017
Love Saves The Day marks the start of the festival season and is both a mainstay and one of the highlights of the years musical calendar not just in Bristol but also the whole country and it was with great anticipation that we headed to the great setting of Eastville Park for the latest edition of the festival. With the sun shining (unexpectedly, if you believed the weather reports which was a nice surprise) as we entered the festival early on Saturday afternoon after a short wait (understandably due to the recent tragic events in Manchester which had happened only days before, there were extra security checks but these were handled quickly ) it was time for the festivities to begin and the vibes were strong and palpable everywhere you looked with the crowds getting into the festival spirit. After a quick look around the site with all the old favourite stages and attractions fully in place, it was time to check out the new Lost Garden stage which was curated by Bitch Please which was in full swing with Artwork blasting out the sunny vibes, perfect for the stage and perfect for the atmosphere and he definitely got the Saturday off to a flying start and was followed by Butch Queen who kept the vibes flowing.
Bonzai was the first act we saw on the Main Stage and she added to the sunny atmosphere with an energetic and upbeat performance that definitely marks her out as an artist to watch out for in the future. After a quick check out of Kiwi on the Brouhaha Stage and PBR Streetgang on the Cloud 9 Stage doing their thing, it was back to the Main Stage to see Crazy P in full live band form returning to Love Saves The Day to entertain the growing swarm of fans eager to hear the Nottingham outfits deep beats and uplifting grooves.
With Bristols very own DJ Die and his Gutterfunk crew taking over the Dance Off stage for the rest of the night, this promised to be packed full of highlights and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest with Khanage (ably helped out by Inja on mic duties as he did for the rest of the night) starting things off right with an inspiring display of filthy rhythms and Dismantle continuing with a focused set that was high on energy.
Leaving the Gutterfunk party for a while, it was time to check out an eclectic set by genuine musical legend Andrew Weatherall who thrilled the audience, an audience that never stopped dancing throughout, with his ever forward thinking techno blends and the atmosphere was elevated as time went on resulting in an affirmed and assured atmosphere. After that inspired set, it was back to the Dance Off to witness the end of Addison Groove with the familiar sounds of Devotion by Nomad ringing out before garage don Zed Bias took to the decks and whipped the crowd up into a frenzy and that was before his MC for the night Trigga took to the stage and delivered a storming performance that took things up to another level and when Zed Bias dropped his recent smash Bun Down, it was game over!
As the first day drew to a close, we headed to the Arcadia Afterburner arena and took in the deep swathes of minimal techno with the brilliant Ricardo Villalobos going back to back with Craig Richards before seeing some of Little Dragons headline set on the Main Stage with material from their latest album Season High going down a storm, particularly album highlight High but as good as that was, there was only one destination to finish the Saturday off.
Since the Gutterfunk takeover had been so packed full of highlights earlier, there was no way we could miss the last act there and that was the one and only DJ Die who blasted out a set of jungle classics to an ecstatic crowd of Bristol ravers in a phenomenal fashion and with that, we departed with smiles on our faces ready for the next day.
Love Saves The Day – Sunday 27th May 2017
After such a great day yesterday, the Sunday had a lot to live up to but just one look at the bill showed the quality that was on offer on day two. With the weather holding up nicely upon arrival (this wouldn’t last) we headed in early to see Novelist who was the first act on the Crack Magzine curated Paradiso stage. As we entered the tent, Bristols hip hop party starters Sip The Juice were doing a great job warming the crowd up with some true rap classics (hearing Full Clip and Ante Up played out and played loud will never get old) but after a while it was apparant that Novelist wasn’t playing so we headed over to the Arcadia Afterburner to catch some grime courtesy of P Money who demonstrated why he is so well thought of as MC as he spat lyric after lyric of fury, something the Afterburner audience took full advantage of as they hollered and danced their approval.
The Brouhaha stage, hosted by Hold Tight promised an immense lineup and it didn’t disappoint all day with early sets from Lionpulse (whose immense sound system powered the stage) and Jah Screechy proving this and this is a stage that we would be returning to all day. A dilemma from such a strong lineup overall is choosing who to see but since is was so strong, there was always going to be someone good. After a too brief viewing of the talented Jessy Lanza in the Paradiso and the end of TQDs upfront bassline in front of a rapidly growing The Blast curated Cloud 9 stage, the Main Stage was the destination to see Nadia Rose. Since here appearance at last years event on the Cloud 9 Stage, her reputation as an artist has been on the ascent and she well deservedly triumphs on the Main Stage this afternoon.
Flanked by an array of dancers and hypewomen, Rose looks every inch the star she is. Tunes like Skwod and Crank It (Woah) and other material from this years Highly Flammable all go down a storm and an appearance from upcoming grime crew 67 to do their Wat Up collaboration go down a storm. Nadia Rose gave the audience a lesson in how to rock a crowd and they reacted in kind and it won’t be long til she goes further and further up the bill.
Following her on to the Main Stage was drum & bass figurehead Shy FX who again gave the masses of people watching a lesson in stagecraft and big tune selection. As a flag bearing the letters U.N.I.T.Y adorned the decks, two people ran on stage waving flags bearing the same message and that message was crystal clear, despite all the madness going on in the world at the moment, at events like this, we’re all here to enjoy the music and the atmosphere together, something that the artists onstage reinforced and this added to the good vibes here.
Aided as is standard by Stamina MC, Shy FX played crowd pleaser after crowd pleaser with d&b cuts like Warhead and Brown Paper Bag, his remix of Protojes Who Knows and some grime bangers like Feed Em To The Lions, Pow and Three Wheel Ups getting everyone moving from start to finish.
After that barrage of energy, we headed up to the Cloud 9 stage where Toddla T was hyping the audience in a similar vein to Shy FX with a mix of hip hop, grime, dancehall and jungle (including his new Stefflon Don collab Beast, the Toddla T VIP of Incredible was very well received and the crowd went mental when he dropped the still dutty Sittin Here by Fekky) all soundtracked by the DJs familiar ad-libs and even the arrival of the rain couldn’t dampen the crowds spirits with everyone watching (including the most entertaining security guy ever, if you ere at the stage you’ll know exactly who that is!) skanking merrily. Toddla also brought out rising grime MC and fellow Sheffield native Coco to perform a few well received tracks including their collaborations Ingredients and My G.
At the Arcadia Afterburner, jungle royalty Randall and 4Hero played a special b2b set that had all junglists both young and old in attendance dancing their hearts out to this very exclusive set with GQ on mic duties that paid homage to iconic sets played at the legendary Roast jungle nights. Back at the Brouhaha stage, Numa Crew set the place alight with a tight and bass heavy that didn’t disappoint before AJ Tracey over on the Main Stage showed that he is the next grime star to truly blow as he whipped the audience into a frenzy despite the growing rain.
Thankfully the weather improved as the night went on and the music continued at the same high pace with Egoless and Killa P proving to be one of the highlights of the weekend with a devastating set that saw Killa P on furious form as he delivered his lyrical attack with fervour, his Skeng and Leng lyrics in particular tearing the place down.
Levelz tore up the Cloud 9 stage with their full crew representing alongside fellow Manchester MC Trigga with their tribute to Manchester d&b legend Marcus Intalex (who tragically passed away in the morning) being both inspired and touching.
Stefflon Don showed her lyrical prowess and superior stage presence on the Paradiso stage while over at the Dance Off stage, DJ Zinc ended with the immortal Super Sharp Shooter and Ready Or Not to a manic reaction before Heartless Crew took over and eschewed their usual garage tracks to rhyme over drum & bass and jungle (Mighty Moe over The Helicopter Tune was insane) in an unexpected but brilliant set.
Another highlight of the whole weekend and a much anticipated set was by Sherwood & Pinch with the On-U Sound legend and Tectonic mainman bringing the bass with a dub heavy onslaught that saw the duo wrecking the heads of the crowd with a performance that mixed material from the pairs recent album Man V Sofa and their other collaborations with some dub classic and the results were truly inspiring and despite a noticeably smaller crowd (and if you kissed them, you definitely missed out on something special) everyone who witnessed them witnessed true greatness. A mind blowing experience in sound and a fine way to sign off this great stage with the Hold Tight crew doing a great job on this, big props to them.
As the last acts of the night and the festival approached, we witnessed Clipz tearing out the jungle and then some of Fat Freddy’s Drop entertaining the Main Stage with their uplifting grooves before Hype & Hazard triumphantally blasted the d&b one last time as the flames rose from the Afterburner stage and we finished Love Saves The Day 2017 brilliantly with grime master Kano complete with a full live band conquering the Cloud 9 stage with a victorious performance that mixed material from his latest album Made In The Manor with classic tunes including the magnificent Ps & Qs and this performance showed exactly why he is one of the best to ever do it and ended a brilliant weekend on a sheer high.
Love Saves The Day has proved once again why it is up there with the best festivals Britain has to offer. It’s eclectic, it’s vibrant and that Bristol vibe that sums the festival up is truly second to none and we’re already counting down the days to next years event.
Words by Gavin Brown
Photography by Dominique Brinkley, Liam Dunkley and Here & Now