British summertime always picks its moments for a torrential downpour. This time it was minutes before Skepta’s headline performance of Lovebox Festival’s opening night. Crowds scattered to find shelter during the stage changeover from Diplo to the evening’s headliner. The moment the lights turned up and Boy Better Know’s DJ Maximum spun the first beat, the crowd flooded back braving the rain for a chance to see Skepta doing what he does best.
Opening his set with his recent hit “Pure Water” the crowd began moving in waves jumping along to its catchy chorus and didn’t stop moving until the set was done. Reminding us of his vast work catalog he drops his highly familiar “Interlude” from Drakes More Life before transforming us back to 2012 with his hit “Ace Hood Flow” from the Blacklisted album.
The majority of the 35-year-olds set came from his Mercury Prize 2016 album Konnichiwa. Smashing through track after track the fans barely had time to breath trying to keep up with spraying his lyrics back.
It wouldn’t be a Skepta performance without binging some of the Boy Better Know family out. The main stage turned into a BBK takeover as guests on guests took to the mic. Lethal Bizzle, Shorty, Frisco, Jammer and D Double E were amongst the grime collective that took to the stage.
Performances of “What’s Going On“, “Detox” and BBK’s latest track “Athletes” kept the crowds on their toes as rainwater turned to steam rising from the mosh pits. With the best selling grime album of all time under his belt, the Tottenham-raised MC joked as he realised his set was full of “bare bangers”. The days highlight set finished on Skeptas recent feature on A$AP Rocky’s flute filled track “Praise The Lord (Da Shine)”.
Lovebox was previously a dance-orientated festival but it started to adjust itself to match the growing popularity within rap, hip-hop and now grime. Giving Skepta the headline slot on a previous dance stage could have been a risk, but the risk paid off as he proved himself more than worthy of his place. A London born sound performed back to the city.