By Josh Templeman, Co-Deputy Music Editor
Bristol’s biggest music festival was back with a bang this year and what a weekend it was. With some of the most exciting names in music, soaked in the glorious Bristolian sun, Love Saves the Day 2023 was truly one to remember. Here, we round up just a few of our highlights from a hugely successful weekend.
Oppidan at the Lost Garden Stage
The Lost Garden has never failed to bring the energy and 2023 was no different. Love Saves has always been known for its creative stage designs, with The Lost Garden undoubtedly a highlight; surrounded by luscious greenery and basked in the 20°C heat, Oppidan made the stage her own oasis of sound performing to the sweltering Bristolian crowd.
Undeniably one of the fastest-rising names in UKG, Oppidan delivered one of the most electric sets of the weekend. Dropping a performance that was both accessible but that would also appease the genre's purists, heavy garage beats and thumping basslines quickly had the crowd bouncing with gun fingers held high. Nothing epitomised this more than the overwhelming response to her remix of Junior Senior's 'Move Your Feet'; perhaps no moment from the weekend made you feel like the summer had truly begun than this one. I've kindly linked the track below for your listening pleasure (you're welcome).
The Weird and the wonderful
At times this weekend felt like a fever dream, in fact, at points I'm almost certain it was. From a secret ballpit stage behind the doors of number 10 Downing Street to a hidden inflatable church in the back corner of the festival grounds, the Love Saves organisers are experts in providing some much needed comic relief to what is, at points, quite a taxing weekend.
Hosted by what Love Saves had described as the "raunchy priest", the Inflatable Church was hosting weddings all throughout the weekend. There were beautiful moments, real tearjerkers, but most importantly there were awkward conversations with the family following the festival's conclusion; "yeah, I got married to the random bloke I met at Groove Armada". Bouquets were carried, veils were donned and life-long connections were formed all in the name of music. By life-long I mean until the newlyweds inevitably wanted to head to different stages; choosing between Salute and Nia Archives is a tough decision after all.
Mall Grab closing out the Centre Stage
The sun had set, night had fallen and the strobe lights of the Centre Stage beamed through the Bristolian sky. Stepping behind the stage's fabled decks was Australia's best export since Kylie Minogue, Mall Grab, to deliver a set that belongs in the history books. Headlining that evening was Fatboy Slim who, after all, is dance music royalty, but real ones knew that the Mall Grab set was the place to be.
His performance was as thumping as it was eclectic; from melodic piano-based house tunes to acid-infused techno, this is a textbook example of how to close a festival. Dropping everything from his more notable tracks such as 'Love Reigns' to deeper, more experimental cuts, the Aussie maintained non-stop energy right until the festival's 11pm curfew before sending the Bristolian crowd out into the Bristol night.
The genius of Four Tet
I'm not sure I've ever laughed more during a set; I'm not sure I've ever sweated more during a set. What goes on in this man's head? Four Tet is a musical legend, with numerous acclaimed projects under his belt, but the recent Four Tet has been a different beast. This set felt like Four Tet truly p***ing about and I mean that in the best way possible. The London-born musician had the Big Top's soundsystem torn to shreds, with some of the filthiest basslines I've heard to date - a farcry away from the more mellow soundscapes of his previous work.
I previously said that Love Saves felt like a fever dream at times and perhaps nothing sums that up better than Four Tet mixing 'Call Me Maybe' with Sammy Virji's 'Never Let You Go VIP'. The absolute nutter also dropped a jungle remix of Harry Styles' 'As It Was' in scenes that sent the crowd berserk. His set spanned across the electronic spectrum, from house to D&B, and even had me drunkenly shouting 'I told you dubstep is back' at my mates more times than I'm willing to admit. My only complaint is that, unlike his recent antics, he didn't drop 'COUNTRY RIDDIM', but we can let that slide. The perfect way to close out the festival.
Overmono's immersive set
Off of the back of their recent album release, Good Lies, Overmono blew the roof of the Big Top in a set that can only be defined as unrelenting. Everything was perfect; the acoustics, the mixing, the track selection and massive kudos to the light technician. In typical Overmono fashion, the visuals were on point, with the duo's signature Dobermans seen venturing through various landscapes throughout almost the entire set.
The set saw the Big Top's speakers pushed to their capacity as the duo played fan favourites such as 'Bby', 'So U Kno' and 'Is U'; the earplugs were definitely an essential for this one. I've seen Overmono three times now and I can comfortably say this was by far the best of the lot and, in my eyes, the strongest set of the entire weekend. I'm sure I share the sentiment of many others present that I cannot wait for their return to the city. A message to Team Love: book them again next year.
All in all, Love Saves the Day 2023 can only be described as a resounding success. Bring on Love Saves 2024.
Featured image: Plaster Communications
Did you go to Love Saves the Day?