Recap: Love Saves The Day 2018
Now in its seventh year, Love Saves The Day has become a mainstay and highlight for heads eager to witness acts both old and new. With it's wonderful vibe and eclectic nature, it has people flocking to Bristol from around the country to get amongst it all. Add to this the May Bank Holiday date and it definitely signals the start of the festival season and what a start it was!
With the sun emerging triumphantly as we took in the Sunday in all it's glory , we reached the brilliant location that is Eastville Park. The energy and atmosphere all around was apparent from the get go with local heroes Sip The Juice blasting out a mixture of modern and classic tunes from the main stage and Dazee going hard early on with her Drum & Bass selection on the Centre Stage, catering for the early birds who were up and ready for a party.
The Centre Stage proved to be a non stop whirl of Drum & Bass activity that saw the crowd grow and grow as the day went on and an early afternoon set from EZ Rollers went down a treat with classics like Commixs Be True being dropped to the delight of the Bristol crowd. As the familiar sounds of the anthem that is Brown Paper Bag rang out, there was no better place to be. Bristol, in the blazing sun with Roni Size blasting out was a moment and a half. They were followed swiftly by Lenzman who was accompanied by DRS & Children Of Zeus. The trio demonstrated their lyrical deftness in full effect with a stunning display over Lenzman's selection with Konny Kon proving how much of underrated wordsmith he is and also how much of a talent Tyler Daley is; his voice acting as the perfect foil for both the Kenny Kon and DRS crowd hyping lyrics and the tight rhythms of Lenzman.
The legend that is David Rodigan's arrival on the Main Stage was greeted with fervour from the Love Saves The Day crowd. The master selector, backed by the Outlook Orchestra and with an array of guest vocalists had everyone skanking to the stone cold reggae classics emitted from the stage, much to the delight of Rodigan himself who bigged everyone up in kind.
Back to the Drum & Bass madness, the remainder of the set from Bailey & Need For Mirrors kept the crowd going before Dimension, backed on the mic by Linguistics, saw the energy levels amped up with a stunning display that saw Dimension, much like his recent Fabriclive compilation, drawing for a selection of new and classic cuts, Up All Night by John B getting an airing and going down a storm was a particular highlight with the crowds reaction off the scale.
High Contrast followed and the reaction to his set was just as enthusiastic as he powered his way through his set with Dynamite getting the crowd suitably amped up, his rhymes flowed nonstop, barely pausing for breath as he did what he does best, the same goes for High Contrast and the vibes never stopped for the duration of the sublime hour long set that ended superbly with his own Shotgun Mouthwash.
After the high octane D&B of both Dimension and High Contrast, it was time time to catch our breath with one of the first U.K festival appearances by Mabel whose sultry tones and breathtaking R&B sounded brilliant as the sun shone down. Songs like Thinking Of You, One Shot and Finders Keepers are anthems in the making and the Bristol crowd responded in kind, as they sang along with her non-stop. Mabel is definitely an artist on the ascent as was proved here and has certainly got the same star quality as her mother, Neneh Cherry, down to a tee.
The sound of Bass has always been a big Bristol favourite and with Hold Tight hosting the Brouhaha stage, it was sets by Pinch going back to back with Joker and Digital Mystikz that were not to be missed and both brought it in fine style. The crowd were meditating on bass weight constantly and it was pure bliss to see these pioneers of their sound doing it at Love Saves The Day. "It doesn't get more Bristol than this" came a shout from the Stage and it definitely felt like that!
After a quick viewing of Mungos Hi-Fi bringing the bass, it was time to head back to the Main Stage to see Loyle Carner do his thing. Running through tracks from his Yesterday's Gone album like No CD and Ain't Nothing Changed, Carner had the Love Saves The Day crowd hanging on his every lyric and showed what a talent he is, dropping lyrical bombs and confessional verses like a pro and looking like he was having the time of his life up there.
As the sublime day drew to a close, we took in the start of SHY FX, who dropped a series of bangers (his remix of Who Knows by Protoje in particular) and the headlining Sampha on the Main Stage before it was back to the Centre to see Andy C end things on a sheer high with a classic set sublimely executed and packed full of anthem after anthem after anthem. Aided by Tonn Piper on mic duties, he tore through a perfectly paced set that had everyone in attendance shouting for more and one that they hoped would never end. It's a good thing that the Ram Records head was on last because nobody would want to follow that and it ended the day in perfect style.
Love Saves The Day is a gem of a festival and was a joy from start to finish. The vibe throughout certainly lived up to the festivals name and everyone was on point with their performance and it was definitely a day that will live long in the memory.
Words by Gavin Brown. Photos by Craig Palmer