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Club Review

Reviewed: Love Saves The Day 2019

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On late May Bank Holiday weekend, we returned to Eastville Park for the 8th annual Love Saves The Day, Bristol’s biggest 2-day festival.

Love Saves The Day has an eclectic music policy, with a particular taste for house, drum & bass, and dub. This year was headlined by Chase & Status, showcasing their new ‘Return II Jungle’ album, and Lily Allen, following her 2018 Mercury prize nomination. Other big billers included Bonobo, Peggy Gou and Artwork. Plus hotly tipped performances from the genre-blending Slowthai, UK neo-soul duo Children of Zeus, and a whole host of drum & bass royalty.

Photo by Benjamin Eagle

This year we joined the party on Sunday, for a day of party house, nostalgic DNB, and a lot of dancing in a massive greenhouse.

The festival is set across 5 main stages in the sprawling area Eastville Park – close enough to the city for an easy cab, far enough away to crank the music full blast. Getting in was a breeze compared to a lot of big festivals, with efficient queuing, friendly security and happy punters who were up for a chat.

Our day began at the Paradiso stage, for a life-a life-affirming set from Chaos in the CBD, full of tight, techy basslines, warm chunky house, and a sneaky bit of Euro-trance – which went down a storm.

Photo by Benjamin Eagle

Following a growing festival trend, this year’s Paradiso stage transformed from a dark, dank sweat tent into a huge see-through canopy with access from all sides – like a greenhouse, but a bit hotter. Despite the heat, this bigger, lighter space at LSTD made the mood bright, sunny and loads more welcoming. It meant that about 3 times as many people set up camp there for the day compared to the year before, so the stage was buzzing all day.

Headlined by Bonobo, with a whole host of great names, the Paradiso stage really belonged to South Korea’s biggest export, the unstoppable Peggy Gou.

Photo by Benjamin Eagle

In the space of three years, Peggy’s gone from festival opening sets and under-the-radar house EPs to huge headline slots and adoring fans from Manchester to Mumbai. She’s inundated with fan art, merch, sponsorships, cover shoots, and is sparking the beginnings of a new sub-genre, coined by herself as ‘K-House’.

Hype aside – Peggy’s set was slick, fun and energetic, skating breezily between house, techno, ravey breaks and Italo disco. There was an electricity in that greenhouse, and she kept it flowing throughout. There’s a reason behind the hype.

Centre Stage this year was headlined by Denis Sulta, with strong support from UK house selectors, including HAAi, Midland and Mella Dee. Josey Rebelle played an understated highlight of the day, serving us an effortlessly woven blend of Detroit techno, acid electro, UK bass and grime. Up against a difficult time of day and a barrage of rain showers, she showed anyone who wasn’t sure, she’s a world class DJ.

Photo by Benjamin Eagle

After struggling with sound clashes last year, this Insta friendly open-air stage came back with a bang, a sound-system upgrade and new 12-foot speakers surrounding the perimeter. It was the perfect setting for Sulta’s headline set, which delivered everything you’d expect from the hyperactive Glaswegian: big energy, big light show, flailing arm gestures and four-to-the-floor anthems. All set against a multi-coloured light show, with a helter-skelter backdrop. Great.

But it wasn’t all hands-in-the-air house at our day in the park.

It’s no secret that Bristol likes a little bit of drum & bass, so it’s only fitting that, at LSTD, you’re never more than 20 metres from a 170bpm bassline. This year the Love Saves crew went massive on DNB, booking everyone from Brockie & Det to Dismantle & Fixate, with DJ Storm and Noisia on the way.

The stand-out set had to be Breakage B2B Randall, hosted by SP:MC. All legendary names in their own right, these three whipped up a frenzy in the Lost Gardens with a blowout set of techy steppers and jump-up bangers. Their performance felt like a house party between a group of mates – which it was, really. It was three old pals with decades of experience, having a great time, playing tunes for a crowd of mainly under 21s, reminding everyone that the scene is far from slowing down.

Photo by Benjamin Eagle

Dance music trends come and go. Bass sub-genres pop up, get a craze going and eventually mutate into something else. But DNB is a constant, and Bristol is one of the key reasons it carries on thriving.

Love Saves The Day brings together all sides of Bristol’s passionate music scene, from hyped-up jump-up kids to laid-back dub-heads and trendy house lovers. On top of that, it continues to attract a growing number of jaded Londoners, with its unrestricted sound levels, friendly atmosphere and hassle-free party spirit.

Thanks for a great weekend Love Saves The Day. See you next year!

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