Unlike many festivals this summer, Lovebox is refreshingly absent of sexagenarian heritage acts. Nostalgia isn't this weekender's game, unless it's recently reformed LA rappers Jurassic 5 recreating much of their 1998 debut on Friday, amiable four-part rap-harmonising and all.

Mostly, Lovebox is for future stars, be it Sheffield maverick Toddla T marrying beatific bells and chimes to exquisitely haunted dancehall, turntablist/rapper Flying Lotus twisting minimal bass music into wild new shapes, or Azealia Banks, headlining Friday only days after completing her debut album. If she's overawed by the occasion, she doesn't flinch. In a neon-lime catsuit and an eerie white lens in one eye, Banks struts and dances like a gleeful goon, not here to titillate but to take charge. Her best tracks – Van Vogue, Liquorice – are blunt, brash, wired to harsh, cheap rave-noise and, like closer 212, devastatingly effective and infectiously joyful.

A similarly victorious vibe surfaces on Saturday, as neo-soul's prodigal prince D'Angelo continues his comeback, having shed his chiseled torso, but with his rich, lithe vocal and baby-making charisma intact. Prince-like new song Charade suggests his long-delayed third album is worth the wait; the sinful Devil's Pie and Chicken Grease, meanwhile, threaten to set a tinder-dry Victoria Park aflame with carnal funk.

"Victoria Park never looked so beautiful," gushes Saturday headliner Plan B; guess he can't see the thousands of nitrous canisters that litter the grounds. His set is masterful, an exercise in razor-sharp stadium anthemicism that balances his dulcet Strickland Banks material with the hard-edged bite of Ill Manors. Intense and incisive, he brings the dramas in his songs alive, particularly during a feral thrash through Piece. "Where's the mosh pit?" he barks, as slam-dancing breaks out like a virus.

From such a fiery peak, Sunday is a damp squib. Half the grounds are cordoned off. Kelis delivers a shabby performance, tossing away her best songs in a medley mash-up. Lil Kim is a no-show, a fate I wish had befallen Hurts, whose overwrought Hollyoaks-goth is a hollow drag, while Goldfrapp's motorik disco-throb is cold and uninvolvi1ng without video screens. Sunday's highlights – along with most of the audience, and the true ambience – are to be found in the smaller tents: the giddy performance-art party of Mykki Blanco, the thrilling, no-wave pulse of Factory Floor, and Horse Meat Disco spinning hedonistic dancefloor favourites as rhinestoned Roman centurions and teetering drag queens cavort.

• Did you catch this gig – or any other recently? Tell us about it using #GdnGig


Stevie Chick

The GuardianTramp

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