Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Latitude Festival 2007, UK

Even though I'm back in Blighty, I'm still writing for Drum Media. Here is my review of England's Latitude festival, which included a great set by New Young Pony Club (below):Blazing sunshine at a festival in England? Surely not? Well, in contrast to the mud-bath that was Glastonbury, The Latitude Festival was played out to gorgeous blue skies in the most picturesque setting imaginable, on the banks of a lake in the Suffolk countryside.

As well as being the most aesthetically-pleasing festival in England, the relatively new three-day event also boasted an outstanding line-up, which included a couple of Sydney bands. Tucked away on a stage in the woods, Howling Bells offered a suitably atmospheric set as the sun went down behind pink skies.

Meanwhile, in front of a large crowd, folk siblings Angus and Julia Stone (below) told beautiful tales of love and pain plucked from their upcoming debut album, before raising the roof with a delicious rendition of Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping. The rapturous reception and yelled proclamations of love that they received suggests that England is falling for their unquestionable charm in the same way that Australia is. Theirs is a star which continues to ascend at pace.On the main stage, which frustratingly suffered from sound problems all weekend, the legendary Jarvis Cocker played a cover version that rivalled Angus and Julia’s. His rendition of Eye Of The Tiger ended a stunning display which was punctuated by him casually chatting to the crowd about everything from cloud formations to politics. It was a performance which cemented Cocker’s place as one of the most charismatic frontmen of all-time.

While the muddy sound emanating from the PA was usually nothing more than a minor annoyance throughout the weekend, it was woeful to the point of being offensive during Midlake’s short set. Soldiering on, the Americans were joined onstage for Roscoe by the busiest band of the festival, The Magic Numbers, who also turned up to help Damien Rice end his epic performance with a bang. The brother/sister quartet had earlier played their own set, which once again proved they are the perfect festival band. Singing along to their harmonies under a clear blue sky certainly beat getting soaked to the skin while watching them in the torrential rain at The Great Escape earlier this year too.Brazilian indietronica/dance sextet CSS (above) brought the party to Latitude with their infectiously poppy tunes. On a stage bedecked in helium balloons, vocalist Lovefoxxx danced with abandon in glittery cat-suits so wonderfully garish that even Karen O might have thought twice about wearing them. By the time the mesmeric frontwoman belted out crowd-favourite Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above, Latitude had turned from being a quaint part of the English countryside into the best disco ever. Similarly, on the same tiny stage that Howling Bells played, New Young Pony Club (below) went off. Literally. The crowd went so nuts to the Londoners’ dancey tunes that the plug had to be pulled on their show due to safety concerns.Elsewhere, Albert Hammond Junior (below) proved himself to be more than just the guitarist with big hair from The Strokes by playing an outstanding, pop-tinged set with the backing of a ridiculously tight band. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah put in a performance that split the crowd in two, with fans loving it while the uninitiated struggled to overcome the abrasive vocals. Having previously made a guest appearance on stage during New York folk singer Elvis Perkins’ appealing set, Cold War Kids ended their own energetic and well-received show with the storming Hang Me Up To Dry. Herman Dune played kooky guitar tracks, Joan As Policewoman combined the magical elements of Cat Power, Kate Bush and Regina Spektor and Au Revoir Simone’s dreamy synth tunes were perfect for a sunny afternoon.On Sunday night, the festival was brought to a majestic close by art-rockers Arcade Fire. Theirs was an utterly thrilling performance, and it was an indication of their awesome songwriting that, even though they only have two albums under their belt, their show played like a greatest hits set. As thousands of sunburnt Brits danced and sang along to No Cars Go and Neighbourhood #3, it became clear that Latitude can seriously rival Glastonbury as the best British festival, with its beautiful setting, chilled out vibe and no end of art, poetry, theatre and great bands to enjoy. Now all they need to do is sort out those sound problems on the main stage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Albert Hammond Jnr was AMAZING