Preceded by their 10th Anniversary celebration last year, Love Saves The Day returns a second year to Ashton Court with a wide variety of Pop, Hip-Hop and Dance music
Words & Images: Mitchell Williams, @mitchellvisuals
My Love Saves The Day began on Sunday with Piri gracing us with their first ever main stage festival performance. I didn’t know what to expect for this one, as it was particularly early in the day, and Tik-Tok followers rarely translate into physical fans these days.
Piri kicks off the day
It was clear that the translation worked however, as the arena had fans showing up in the dozens once they heard her voice. Exuberating dances came from Piri and her co-dancers as she rocked the Love Saves crowd harder with each of her top hits, closing off to a roar of applause – one for the history books for them, and for us too.
I had plans to see consecutive artists later in the day, so now was my chance to R&R with munch and a lie-down with a takeaway of my choice. The layout of stages was great as you were able to consume whilst still feeling together with the entertainment and most punters sat on the grass near stages to eat rather than the provided benches.
The food itself did seem a bit limited this year and stuck mostly to the basics of fish & chips, pizza, and chicken. This was noticed by festival-goers as the more flavourful stands such as Asian foods were dominated by large queues. I personally stuck with a classic pizza to fill up before heading to The Big Top stage.
Sainte invites a fan onto stage
In the middle of the afternoon we were graciously presented with 3 of the UK’s top hip hop acts back-to-back. First donning the stage was Sainte and for someone who creates alternative hip hop (commonly mislabeled as ‘chill-hop’) there was a staggering amount of energy. I think this is what made Sainte stand out to me, taking laid back tracks and adding movement to them in ways only possible by a great performer.
K-Trap in effect
Next up was K-Trap. I had expected a warm reception for this act as they had recently been at the forefront of UK Drill after remixing an album track with Skepta, and Bristol definitely delivered. Some artists may find difficulty in balancing the sonics of their set when they are well-known for a certain sound, but K-Trap sprinkled in some bouncy tracks in between the cutting edge drill to keep the crowd engaged.
Knucks gives a shout out
Topping off this 3 piece was a hard-hitter in the alternative hip-hop scene, Knucks. It’ll be hard for me to summarise their set in this review, but I’ll keep it simple, they have a certain potency that just works. We heard charting singles from their recent album release ‘Alpha House’ mixed together with old-school originals such as ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’. He even switched up into a Grime remix of JME’s ‘P’ halfway through his classic ‘Home’, before re-dropping back into the original song – mental!
As the set ended, I was shouting about how great the set was, particularly the grime remix song, before Knucks donned the stage once again and performed the track a second time. I couldn’t hold it in anymore – I had been waiting years to get a piece of Knucks and I left planning how and when I could see him perform again.
One act that caught my attention was Overmono. This pair have been doing the rounds recently, and after seeing clips of their intimate show in Rough Trade Bristol, I had to see what the fuss was about. I was thrown into trance and rave beats, mixed with some club bangers. I didn’t catch all of their set, but I get the fuss now. They’re definitely worth checking out for sure.
Bristol turns up to party
I had the diverse choice between Years and Years and Four Tet to close off the evening with – personally, I wanted to see what Four Tet had been cooking after his screaming set with Skrillex and Fred Again at Coachella. It became clear quickly that I wasn’t the only one anxiously awaiting them, as I’d not seen The Big Top so busy all weekend.
He ran us through fields of emotion as the electronic music gently rose and decayed – before slapping us in the face with some heavy bangers. I felt teased for the first half of the set but at no time did I think it was far from perfect. It was incredible though to see everyone’s reaction who had stuck around through the ambience, only to be dancing harder than at any other point in the weekend.
The sun shines down on Love Save The Day 2023
On leaving the festival this time it was a much smoother return home via the provided public transport (known as the Love Bus). Thankfully, the staff had been instructed not to take payment and to simply facilitate the safe exit of festival-goers from the site. This had been a big pain the previous day, where tickets were validated one-by-one in a single queue; skipping this cut my exit time in half.
Bristol is known for its close affiliation with electronic music (some of my friends have referred to it as Drum n Bristol), so a full day of hard hitters was expected for one day of the weekend.
I was very grateful no less for such a variety of acts on Sunday, some who had just piqued my interest, others had been on my bucket list for years. I hope as Love Saves The Day goes on through the years that they continue to both service us with filthy beats and class acts for the whole weekend, I’d welcome it as a returning trait when we check out what’s to come next year.
Mitchell Williams has been photographing live and club events for Freestyle Bristol for over a year now. You can see more of his work here