Loves Saves The Day brought out the sunshine for this year’s chapter of one of Bristol’s biggest events. Joe Valek took one for the team and gave us the highlights of the first day. Look out for part 2!
Words: Joe Valek, @joevalek
Images: Mitchell Williams, @mitchellsvisuals
In the days leading up to this year’s Love Saves The Day, I was dreading a repeat of last year; rain, mud and regret for not bringing a coat. However, the forecast looked promising. When Saturday morning came and the sun was shining, a sigh of relief was released across Bristol.
D Double E
The plan was to arrive early, so I got to Temple Meads at 11.30 a.m. sharp to get the Love Bus to Ashton Court, a journey that was supposed to take 22 minutes, meaning we’d be there just in time for the first acts of the day.
However, it quickly became clear that the driver lacked one crucial piece of information – the route. After much confusion, shouting and laughter, we finally arrived at Ashton Court Park & Ride at 12.51 p.m., certainly a bit longer than 22 minutes. Initial annoyance aside, it turned out to be pretty entertaining and will definitely make a good story to share with friends in the future.
Entrance was quick and easy; I beat the queues. Once inside, I scouted out the site to familiarise myself with the layout and figure out the best way to optimise where I needed to be and when.
As the mission was interviews, the first hours of the day were spent frantically bopping from A to B to C, then back to A before heading to D, E, F and G. Basically, I didn’t see much music. What I did see was a lot of beautiful people enjoying the sun and the atmosphere.
Everyone I spoke to in these first few hours was genuinely happy to be there, with the only complaints being the typical British statement: it’s too bloody hot.
Luckily, iTHINC Welfare Services were there providing free sunscreen and water spritzes to keep people cool. The importance of their presence at the festival should not be understated; there would have been a lot of very sunburned and sunstroke-hit people if they weren’t there.
Following a frantic few hours, it was time to refuel. Plenty of choices available, but I went for a Korean Fried Chicken burger from the aptly named “Fried Chicken” stall. Delicious, quick and just what I needed to give me the energy for the next few hours. That said, I will still forever begrudge paying £11 for a burger.
After 5 p.m., the interviews slowed down and I had time to catch some music. Straight to the mainstage I went to watch Kelis, who definitely still has it. The set was a vibrant mix of some of her classic tunes mixed in with a few DJ blends of other, seemingly random selections, including a couple of drum and bass tracks. She kept the energy high and belted out banger after banger, accompanied by a very competent backing singer, a live drummer and a DJ/keyboardist.
Next up was Nia Archives, also on the mainstage. Nia was an absolute ball of energy, bouncing around behind the decks like Tigger. She really looked like she was loving every second, which is a very infectious energy to have when performing to thousands of people. Still, I actually took my ear plugs out because I really didn’t feel like I needed them, and I think the rest of the crowd felt that too.
People weren’t going as hard as they should have been. Quite suddenly, it seemed to get louder and bassier. I think perhaps the subs weren’t on, but luckily it was sorted before it was too late. The crowd then adjusted their energy to match Nia’s. The remainder of her set was just as expected: big jungle bangers, impeccable mixing and lots of gunfingers.
That being said, the ground wasn’t shaking like it should have been. I didn’t have that rumble in my chest that you associate with jungle, through no fault of Nia’s.
The final set of the day for me was the one I was most excited about: D Double E. The grime legend himself on the Transmission stage really was a treat – it was a very intimate setting for one of the UK’s best MCs. And not only did we get D Double on a small stage, we also got Sir Spyro on the decks. I think a lot of people may not have noticed or cared, but you could tell all the grime heads were losing their minds at the Grime Royalty before us.
Obviously, as is custom, D Double got plenty of reloads, the first one almost immediately after his first bar. He also brought out all his classic ad libs for us: bluku bluku, dirtee-tee, bi-di-bop-bop, and it’s mree mree, amongst his other, unwritable sounds.
Two important things worth mentioning about this set: D Double E is a very good spitter, but there was not enough grime. The first point almost goes without saying, but it’s easy to forget – even when you’ve worked in a studio environment as an engineer – that the art of hitting every word perfectly for an entire set is really hard, and really impressive.
He made it look so effortless. He was barely moving his mouth, yet words were being shot like arrows and hitting the centre of the target every time. It was a sight to behold.
D Double E
The second point is more of a personal thing, but D Double E is a grime MC, so grime is what people want to see. However, Love Saves The Day is a drum and bass festival, and I think the organisers must have told him, as they probably told Kelis, that there must be an element of drum and bass as part of the set. I am not complaining about this, as D Double did not disappoint when displaying his drum and bass abilities, but I and the crowd came for grime.
I think D Double knew that too, but being the respectful performer that he is, most of the set was drum and bass. To highlight how much the crowd wanted grime, the moments when the crowd went hardest were when he spat Street Fightin Riddim and his It’s A Lot bars for his encore. Grime is alive and I would love to see D Double in a dark and dingy club packed out with grime heads.
By this point it was past 9 p.m. and my body reminded me that I’m not 18 anymore. I was tired after a busy day of running around in the sweltering heat and, of course, aware that I had to do it all again tomorrow.
Despite practically being raised on Fatboy Slim, I just had to get out of there. Turns out that was a good thing, as my journey home took all of 35 minutes from festival to front door, whereas friends later informed me that their journey home after the final sets of the day took around 2 hours just to get to Temple Meads. Small victories for me.
To summarise, it was a very good first day. Lots of happy people, lots of good music, lots of sun and very yummy food. Kelis has still got it, Nia Archives deserved more decibels and D Double E was as good as you’d hope. By the time I got to bed, I was itching for day two.
Love Saves The Day – Part 2 will be published later this week
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