Latitude adventure 2009
It’s quite the drive from Liverpool to Suffolk and on the way the weather was a tad angry for whatever reason which meant the usual “I’m about to go to an awesome festival” jubilance was tainted with a melancholic “putting a tent up in this is going to be unenjoyable at best” feeling. Alas when we arrived in the homely Southwold there was nothing but blue skies to be seen so after the tent was assembled we went for a bit of a gander of the site.
The evening was pleasant enough and as expected for a British July it started raining a little come midnight so we took shelter at the campsite bar to let this no doubt ‘little shower’ pass. What followed was the loudest, wettest and quite simply most ridiculous thunderstorm I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. For a good forty five minutes I and my camping buddy drank sombrely as we both relived vivid memories of our trip to V Festival 2008 where we were flooded out of our humble abode (details of which can be read here). Gingerly we approached the tent once the storm had passed and what we saw would have made our fathers proud; inside it was dry as a Ghandi’s flip flops! Rain 0 Me 1.
The first day saw us take in performances from the Island label’s newbie Jonathan Jeremiah (MySpace) who will no doubt be sitting comfortably on Radio 2’s playlist by the end of the year, the king of pun Tim Vine who followers of my Twitter feed will know of my passion for and the first highlight of my weekend Local Natives (MySpace). The Silver Lake five piece impressed pretty much everyone who caught any of their SXSW shows and pulled a pretty admirable crowd for their emotive set (one of them was so chuffed at the turnout he had a little cry on stage. Bless.) Well worth checking out should you be lucky enough to catch them whilst they’re in the country. Then it was off to see recently Mercury nominated Bat For Lashes (MySpace, Spotify) deliver her somewhat underwhelming live set before catching a couple of numbers by the Pet Shop Boys (MySpace, Spotify). I say ‘couple of numbers’ as I caught them earlier in the week playing in Liverpool and it was akin to being in pop purgatory albeit except for one three minute glimpse of musical brilliance in the form of It’s A Sin; a song that’s rarely been off my iTunes since. After a bit of theatre from the Young Vic it was time to retire as the following day had a lot to offer.
Saturday started with the much hyped White Belt Yellow Tag (MySpace) on the Uncut stage who are receiving ‘much props’ from the introducing DJ’s of the beeb as of late and despite the lead singer not sounding his usual self the set was enjoyable never the less. Honourable mentions should also go to The Boy Who Trapped The Sun (MySpace) and Pulled Apart By Horses (MySpace, Spotify) who were the soundtrack to the rather pleasant sunny afternoon and then it was onwards to the ‘WTF’ moment of the weekend as Gaggle (MySpace) took the stage. Imagine if you can, twenty two women on stage all wearing some form of psychedelic poncho outfit and singing about smoking fags. You there? Whatever you’re imagining isn’t doing them justice as they’re bloody well ace. And it wasn’t the cider clouding my usually razor sharp judgement as I’ve checked them out since and it sounds equally as bizarrely intriguing as it did in a field in Suffolk.
After a pie it was on to my second highlight of the weekend Camera Obscura; their retro sound – which is captured brilliantly in the track ‘French Navy’ – came across stunningly live. Their profile within the UK music scene does them a complete injustice and I implore you all to go and have a listen (MySpace, Spotify). After a quick LOL thanks to northern poet Mik Artistik is was onwards to Doves for a few lovely tracks before heading back to the Lake Stage for the third highlight of my weekend which came in the form of Bombay Bicycle Club (MySpace, Spotify). I’ve harped on about their debut album ‘I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose’ for a while now and their live set equals the quality of their LP. Their next single; the Strokes influenced ‘Magnet’, will hopefully be the track that gets them on that elusive Radio 1 A-list so they get the exposure they deserve.
It was around this time my camping buddy described my look as that of an ‘off the rails porn star with a crystal meth problem waiting to film the next shot on an outdoor adult movie’. A tad harsh I feel.
The night finished with an obliged visit to the main stage to watch Grace Jones (Myspace, Spotify). I say obliged as although I appreciate Miss Jones and her musical heritage, I would have happily swerved her performance if it wasn’t for the upteen number of people who, when on finding out I was attending Latitude, all beseeched me to go and watch her and as obviously I’m a sucker for trusted recommendations I happily complied… Turns out it’s just like watching a pensioner with an attitude problem dangerously close to having her fufu out on stage.
The final day started with the fourth highlight of the weekend as Thom Yorke (Myspace, Spotify) took the stage by himself to play to potentially the biggest crowd of the weekend. A mixture of solo material sprinkled with a few Radiohead classics ensued and the set climaxed with a beautiful rendition of a track entitled True Love Waits which was successful in silencing the on watching hoards. There is just something about Thom Yorke which makes him so enigmatic and however much I try, I’ll never be able to find the words to do him justice. Even if you’re nto a fan of Radiohead (and I’m a passive one at best) his delivery and obvious talent justifies his stature within the industry and to a greater scale, the generation.
The combination of an hour gap + rain meant that 98% of the crowd had buggered off by the time Sentric’s very own Sound of Guns (Myspace) took to the main stage to showcase why they’re currently the princes of the Liverpudlian music scene. A friend of mine recently said of these “They’re going to be the next Kasabian!” and for me they’re potentially a decent marketing budget away from being so if they continue to write tracks as crowd pleasingly friendly as The Architects and Alcatraz.
Two more performances from the heavily Robert Plant influenced Asaf Avidan & The Mojos (Myspace) and Irish future radio friendly hit purveyors Villagers (Myspace) finished our Latitude adventure as we both had to make the long journey home ready for the new working week the following day. On the THREE MINUTE WALK back to the car from the campsite Mother Nature, with the speed and ferociousness of a weather based ninja, hit back in nothing short of a spectacular fashion. Trainers were abandoned, sleeping bags were destroyed and a 5 hour car journey in my boxer shorts and a t-shirt followed. Rain 1 Me 1.
I look forward to doing it all again next year.
What I’m reading this week: Once again, Charlie Brookers brilliant column