The only festival where you can witness The Maccabees headline, endure gruelling temperatures to catch a talk from Louis Theroux, and question the middle classes parenting tactics whilst watching them cart their children around in wagons gone 3AM. Latitude Festival is unlike any other and this year it shone for more reasons than its pink sheep.
Friday brandished all things adventurous. Christine and the Queens pinged on everyone’s radar attracting a staggering crowd, all of whom were enticed by the French performers slick dance moves. Caught off guard by the crowds enthusiasm and sheer noise level, Héloïse Letissier, seemed at times pleasingly overwhelmed by the Latitude audience, interrupting her routine whilst ‘Tilted’ received one heck of an ovation. Tucked away on the Alcove Stage, HANA brought bubbly pop to a sea of Grimes t-shirt dressers. Having previously toured with Grimes as a backing singer and also grabbing the limelight herself on occasion, HANA’s self produced glittery singles only hinted at the potential for the artist who’s done more than simply emerge from Claire Boucher’s shadow.
If you weren’t too busy swarming Russell Howard as he made his way, poorly disguised, into Slaves’ set, you’ll have been fully geared up for the raucous atmosphere that soon kicked off after the Kent duo kicked off. Anything but strangers to festival crowds, Slaves well and truly know how to tear into an audience and encourage the madness, however for Latitude goers it was a guy called Harvey who stole the limelight. Dancing on stage and brandishing moves that would even provide Letissier with some new inspiration, it was only natural that soon after his affect the duo found themselves on Twitter searching out their newest manta ray. #findharvey.
After being sucked in by the sound of Father John Misty’s crooning vocals and cocky stage presence, most of us were left with a difficult choice, stay put at the main stage and await The Maccabees or make the move to BBC Radio 6’s tent for Grimes?
The Maccabees headlines slot shed hope for the new wave of emerging bands, and was also a chance for the Londoners to shine on the biggest of stages. However in keep with the adventurous, Grimes’ performance was nothing short of pop craziness. The energy levels of Claire and her screeching vocals sent the waves of fans bouncing. In between tracks she appears alarmingly shy, stumbling over her speech and giggling like a teenager, however as soon as the beat drops through ‘Go’ Grimes becomes an entirely different person, bursting with energy and wreaking chaos.
Saturday at first glance appeared to be a far safer line up, but that didn’t mean it was lacking by any means. After a quick change to their set times, Rat Boy kicked off the party with an expected lively performance. Egging the crowd on to bounce at every opportunity, almost to a point where it became tiring, Jordan Cardy coaxed the tired ones out of their afternoon slumber and kicked off the day in fine style. In contrast Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats offered a different pace on the main stage. Their folk inspired country esq rock is the perfect afternoon filler. Appreciated by all, from pint suppers to those that had just enjoyed a nice session of wine tasting, songs like ‘S.O.B’ and ‘I Need Never Get Old’ showed you’d have to be well and truly hurting from the night before not to tap your feet.
Chvrches have been climbing their way up the festival ladder steadily since the release of 2013’s ‘The Bones of What You Believe’ and now they’re treading ever closer to that headline slot. Lauren Mayberry and co seem to have escaped their so called awkward stage, appearing less Disney but more sheer pop power. Jumping and running across stage, from ‘Recover’ to ‘Leave A Trace’ Mayberry’s energy was relentless. Punching the air and joking with the crowd their set right now is pushing for bigger things. The only band to headline Latitude for the second time were next on the bill and in front of their audience The National needed little introduction. Seasoned performers, their alternative rock soothed and injected life into the night as the sun set behind the stage and darkness descended. Appearing once more Lauren Mayberry joined The National onstage for a delicate rendition of ‘I Need My Girl’. Keeping words to a minimum the Chvrches frontwoman seemed confident joining the headliners, a slot the trio seem destined to fill in the near future.
Final days at festivals are always the toughest, tiredness begins to set in and at Latitude it seemed the heat was taking its toll. Irish rockers Little Green Cars were on hand though to lift your afternoon at the Sunrise Arena. Beckoning the crowd to sing along to ‘The John Wayne’, you couldn’t help but be absorbed by their calm vocals and chirpy guitar hooks and melodies. Feel good rhythms and harmonious singing wiped away any festival fatigue people may have been experiencing, before the tempo and volume was turned up a notch and the dancing begun.
As the day drew on the acoustic guitars soon disappeared and were swapped out for electric pop. MØ’s explosive electropop sent waves through the audience as they bounced and danced to the catchy clicks and beats of ‘Final Song’. Recklessly crashes to the floor and screaming into her mic before jumping off stage and throwing herself into the crowd, Karen raised the temperature inside an already sweaty tent.
After a three year hiatus, Miike Snow’s return shattered expectations. Their third album iii evolved their subtle and smooth electronic pop and brandished unashamedly explosive mainstream belters. Strobe lights flickered throughout their set as Andrew Wyatt shifted between keyboard and mic stand, drawing on a mix of tracks that span the entirety of their albums. From the reverberating sound of ‘Black & Blue’ to the emphatic chorus of ‘Paddling Out’, the sleek and energetic newbie’s fall perfectly in place.
Back to the main stage and back to the 80’s, New Order brought the promise of recognisable hits and a glance back at synth infused post-punk. Ahead of their performance at Latitude, New Order hardly appeared to be a bold booking. Their history and catalogue of music differs greatly from most of those performing on the same stage, however with this experience came something differently memorable. If you were heading out of the festival grounds early, you’ll have surely seen strobe lights peeking their way through the trees as a cover of a Joy Division classic, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, echoed across the campsites.
Friday – Father John Misty, Lapsley, Loyle Carner, Oh Wonder, Slaves, The Anchoress
Saturday – CHVRCHES, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Pumarosa, Rat Boy, The National
Sunday – Declan McKenna, Little Green Cars, M83, Miike Snow, MØ, New Order, Of Monsters & Men
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Review and Photos by Jacob Flannery |