Latitude 2010-Florence crowd by Amelia gregory
The Kissaway Trail by Natasha Thompson.
The music at Latitude can feel like a bit of a byline given that there are so many other options for entertainment. But that doesn’t stop the calibre being suitably high. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Martin Creed by Paul Shinn.
Our first stop on Friday was a musical performance piece from Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and his merry band of sexy young things. Notably all female. I was initially sceptical – I’ve seen Bob and Roberta Smith perform at the ICA and was less than impressed by the cacophony. But this was actually entertaining, viagra especially when Martin sang “What’s the point of it” and “If you’re lonely then this is for you” and “I don’t know what I feel, what I want” against a projection of smashing flower pots, a penis in the process of erecting and a man’s bottom. Combine this with the random movements of a ballet dancer and you pretty much had the ultimate manifestation of middle aged male angst. Brilliant.
The Kissaway Trail by Natasha Thompson.
The Kissaway Trail were a band I’ve not really warmed to on CD, but the live performance was a whole different deal. This unbearably cute bunch of Danish boys smashed the Word Arena with their Scandinavian take on epic indie pop. And they even have their very own version of Bez – a hyper excited braces-wearing tambourine player. A real find.
Middle Age Mosh Pit by Matthew Ellero.
Back in the Film and Music Arena US punk Muslim outfit The Kominas entertained a load of rowdy young men… and a very enthusiastic middle-aged woman, who proceeded to fend off the moshpit with the legs of a chair, before beating the youth to the free t-shirt thrown into the crowd. Thoroughly entertaining.
Villagers by Abigail Daker.
I recently gave the Villagers’ debut album a glowing review, so I went to check out the imp-like Conor J. O’Brien and his merry band of men – of particular note was Conor’s live rendition of Pieces, his wolf howls given that much more stamina in the flesh. Conor has the air of someone heading for major success.
Empire of the Sun by Andrea Peterson.
I was thoroughly miffed to have missed an early promo of the Empire of the Sun album- discovered during a clearout to have made it no further than the interns’ office: if I’d heard the album back then I would definitely have been more on the case of this fabulously over the top retro 90s pop electro… down on the Obelisk Stage lead singer Luke Steele looked resplendent in smeary facepaint and a range of over the top Samurai and Aztec/Inca influenced accessories. No expense was spared on the production of this show, which wasn’t even a headline act. The four dancers went through frequent costume changes, my favourite of which was some very cool blonde swordfish. A lot of fun.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Florence and the Machine. I sort of think I don’t like her very much and then I realise I’ve been listening to her album on repeat all day. So a little conflicted then. This was the first time I’ve seen her perform live since I first met her as a bolshy unsigned artist doing a solo acoustic performance at a PPQ store party. Which doesn’t actually feel like it was that long ago. Three years?
Florence and The Machine by Natasha Thompson.
The curtain dropped and there she was: flowing vermillion locks, check, flowing cream dress, check, massive drum, check. Without further ado she launched into a bunch of songs that I could happily hum along to (I’ve never really been one to listen closely and learn lyrics) pausing only to sing happy birthday to her little sister Grace, who was dragged on stage with their brother – both dressed in animal costumes. It was really rather cute. Predictably You’ve Got the Love was the biggest crowd pleaser. Isn’t it funny how the 90s have crept up on us again without us even realising it? One new song got an airing, and sounded, well, typically Florence. That girl has a super powerful pair of lungs but you’ve got to wonder – does all that caterwauling ever render her speechless?
Active Child. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
The falsetto sounds of Active Child were our new discovery for Saturday morning. American Pat Grossi alone on stage with just his mixer, ed computer… and harp: another lone electro maestro. Soporifically beautiful.
James by Jenny Goldstone.
James were our mid afternoon treat over at the Obelisk Arena – but we didn’t just sit down, rx we lay spark out and enjoyed a full tour through their back catalogue of hits from a horizontal position. I was somewhat surprised to note that the lead singer is now bald of bounce and goatee of beard when I am sure he used to have lots of curly locks and a clean shave – oh the perils of ageing.
We were surrounded by lots of families, parents obviously revelling in a favourite from their youth, whilst even the teens next to us could sing along to the band’s most famous tune. And it seems we weren’t the only ones having a relaxing time.
In the woods we encountered a bunch of singing girls in wonderful outfits. Now why don’t all choirs dress like the Gaggle? I couldn’t really hear them, but darn it, who cares when they look this good?!
First Aid Kit, protected by a burly security man, by Faye West.
I love it when a band I’ve loved forever starts to gain widespread success, and First Aid Kit have now reached a stage where they could draw suitably impressive crowds to the wooded environs of the Sunrise Arena. If you haven’t yet seen them live, then why the hell not? You can read a previous review of their gig at the Union Chapel here.
Crystal Castles by Mina Bach.
Over on the other side Crystal Castles arrived to a cascading wall of squelching beats that had the middle aged couple next to me pulling somewhat bemused faces at each other. Goodness knows what they made of Alice’s performance thereafter. Whilst slugging on a bottle of Jim Beam *rock n roll* she declared that gang bangers should “all be castrated” – the first inkling I had that all was not well at Latitude. Thereafter she was hellbent on crowdsurfing through the entire set, which mainly involved flinging herself into the rather excited male audience down front and then punching them if they grabbed her inappropriately, before being dragged back by security. Oh how the burly men in uniform love it when the singer does that. Rather inexplicably one fan insisted on giving Alice a placard featuring the immortal word TOAST and, yup, you got it, a picture of a piece of toast. There’s been much grumbling online about Alice’s performance but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it did look rather like she had to yak at one point.
The pace changed down a gear with the arrival of headliners Belle and Sebastian, playing their first gig in many years. First comment from those next to me? “She looks a bit mumsy.” And so what if Sarah does? Belle and Sebastian are not exactly in the first flush of youth, a fact which frontman Stuart Murdoch picked up repeatedly as he declared “they promised us an old crowd” – as usual the front was of course packed out with teenagers whilst the oldies (that seems to include me these days) hung back for a bit of air. Not that I’ve ever been a massive fan of the mosh pit. At one point Stuart threatened to take his top off (he was looking rather fit) which caused a fresh round of adolescent screaming “it would be like walking in on your dad in the shower” he laughed. It was a delightful set that featured an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash and finished with a gaggle of very happy teenagers dancing around on stage in front of the wrinkles and their orchestra. “You just made an old man very happy,” laughed Stuart in his lilting Scottish brogue, “now get off.” You show them who’s boss round here!
Read my Sunday music review here.
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