This was my first Latitude, and I was blown away by everything about it.
Thursday introduced and welcomed home unprecedented and frequent festival goers alike with water displays from Ilotopie on the lake, and a mollifying set by The Irrepressible on the Waterfront Stage. All was set for an exciting weekend.
Friday kicked off for myself with San Fermin, who delivered a lively performance of their album of the same name from last year. Having not heard them before, and listening to them now, the indie pop band’s live presence is greater than that of their recorded album. This was followed by Slow Club on the Obelisk arena stage, where I remained for the rest of the day. The duo performed a tranquil and beautiful set, really showcasing the vocal talents of Rebecca Taylor and Charles Weston, who complement each other superbly. Taylor joked on how most of the songs were sad ones, yet this didn’t faze the crowd who were all too happy to hear anything they’d play.
The infectiously happy and peacock-feathered Spanish Crystal Fighters’ performance was one of the most energetic and beatific sets of the weekend. There was a genuine real buzz that I hadn’t experienced before at any other gig, and one that sent loving vibrations through the entire arena. The crowd’s energy maintained as Latitude’s ‘Secrets & Lies’ theme, or at least the ‘Secrets’ part, was implemented, as unannounced act, Rudimental, took to the stage. The repetitive house dubstep, R&B style felt ever so slightly out of place for the festival, but the predominantly teen crowd went mental for it, nonetheless.
Editors took to the stage next, and gave a performance pleasing both old and new fans of the post punk band. Tom Smith erratically guided the audience through songs including but not limited to last year’s The Weight of Your Love, as well as tracks from their 2006 record, The Back Room. Although there was a mixed reaction from those who I spoke to, I found their set sincerely memorable and triumphant, and they kept the energy going, even through an unexplained technical problem.
Lily Allen’s milk bottle-filled stage won over the audience as she headlined the Obelisk, playing hits including Not Fair, F*** You (which lived up to Allen’s loud-mouthed nature as she got the audience to give the finger), and Hard Out Here. Her winning over of the crowd was helped by paying adulation to Two Door Cinema Club, whom she replaced after lead singer Alex Trimble fell ill, by wearing a TDCC top, and singing the band’s most popular track, Something Good Can Work. Though there would’ve been no doubt that Two Door would have delivered an amazing performance, Allen’s set was nothing short of stupendous.
I can think of no finer way to start a Saturday than with 1980’s legends John Hall & Daryll Oates. The duo, in their late 60s, were inexplicably amazing; Rich Girl, Maneater, and You Make My Dreams, sent the predominantly middle-aged crowd into a blissful state. and I didn’t see a single person without a smile. This was followed by a truly funky display by Jungle.
Bombay Bicycle Club were the highlight of the Main Stage on Saturday. The band played a variety of songs from their 2009 release, I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose to this year’s, So Long, See You Tomorrow. Their happy energy reverberated through the crowd of young adults especially with, but obviously not limited to, their 2011 hit, Shuffle.
Damon Albarn’s set began very 'samey’, and I found myself wandering over to the Radio 6 tent for Royksopp & Robyn. Though their electric genre wasn’t my usual cup of tea, I have to hand it to Robyn - the set was electrifying. The suspense that they built up was insane, and the crowd of youngsters (most of which had flooded in from Bombay Bicycle Club) went insane during Dancing On My Own. There was a standstill at the end of the show, which at first seemed like teens in awe of what they’d just witnessed, but alas, it was to see that the heavens had opened.
Saturday night’s thunderstorm – which was actually epic – didn’t taint people’s spirits for the Sunday. Some crazed individuals thought it’d be a laugh (or just didn’t think at all, perhaps?) to walk in flip flops/bare foot to the arena, and were still in high spirits about the rain.
The Main Stage RULED for the last three acts. Haim, an all-sisters three-piece from the US, had everyone dancing as they invited us to ‘come and have a house party’. Ester Haim, bassist, interacted with the audience the most; her famous bass-faces made an inevitable appearance throughout the set, which made everyone happy. Alana, Danielle and Ester were the complete and utter highlight of the weekend.
Then, as a series of five-people-tall towers were being made, Tame Impala set up, and delivered an amazing set. The bass pulsated through the crowd, particularly on Elephant. Whether you were a fan of them or not, Tame Impala were one of the greatest live bands there.
Then, finally, the long awaited Black Keys performed. Being a massive fan of the duo from the Midwest, I enjoyed every minute of their performance. Though their skills are unrivalled, and variation in tone was exquisite and clever, I couldn’t help but feel a lack of chemistry between Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, which I think could have really added to their performance. I saw them perform at the O2 back in 2012, and realised the same thing was missing from there too. Nevertheless, the music was sensational. They both sounded better than on record, although their new material wasn't received as well as they might have hoped by the punters. The acoustic first half was the calm before the storm, as Auerbach took a good rest as he changed over from acoustic to electric guitar, sparking a number of mosh pits and leaving the crowd singing LBS; and the encore of Little Black Submarines was class.
The festival is all set for an exciting and artsy 10th year anniversary, and I can’t wait to get an early bird ticket knowing I won’t be disappointed by any of it!