In the baking hot London heat, Victoria Park shone brightly, but not as brightly as the artists featuring throughout the day.
Saturday’s line-up saw a diverse range of artists, providing an eclectic mix.
The day began with Laura Misch. Performing on the Firestone Stage, she cleverly looped her saxophone to create a deeply layered platform for her smooth jazz voice to shine upon.
Despite a simple set-up featuring just a saxophone, recorder and synth machine, Misch played a complex, intricate set with ease. She performed with innocence and nonchalance, as if what she was doing was elementary.
Her set provided a moment of relaxation in the midst of the intense weather, providing the crowd with a chance to relax in the sun to some dreamy jazz.
Following Laura Misch, Stefflon Don and Lykke Li both took to the stage respectively. Both attracted large crowds and performed with energy and maturity, demonstrating their ability to control the crowd like a conductor controls its orchestra.
21-year-old Lorde, however, stepped it up a gear, performing an endless catalogue of hits and altering between two personas. The first was the worldwide popstar, mature beyond her years, totally fixated on delivering the perfect pop show and performing with an innocent arrogance of sorts. The second persona was a joyous princess in total disbelief at the packed field of people in total awe of her, screaming every single word back, pouring out every emotion as they worship her.
During each song, she was intense and focused and determined to perform at her peak. However, as the songs ended and the crowd applauded profusely, she couldn’t hide her beaming smile.
During set-closer ‘Green Light’, Lorde’s focused face had abandoned her and the wide smile that had already appeared at the end of each song was now a permanent fixture, as she and her disciples collectively released every ounce of energy left and danced wildly.
As Lorde exited the stage under a shower of confetti, the crowd marched to see the day’s headliner, The xx, who performed under a natural light show as a thunderstorm marched towards Victoria Park and the lightening flashed regularly.
The xx curated an atmospheric set that merged the gothic sound of their first two records with the new pop sound they produced on last year’s Mercury nominated album, I See You. The highlights of the set were all centred around lead singer Romy however.
She sang ‘Performance’ completely solo. Here, her talent shone brightly. The song deals with her past anxieties of performing in front of large audiences and you could hear the vulnerability in her voice, but she didn’t miss a note, it was simply stunning.
The xx then finished with all-round heart-breaker, ‘Angels’, another track Romy sings on her own – another track which captures the sincere beauty of her voice. A fitting way to end a brilliant day.
Words: Johnny Rogerson