After a glorious sunny Friday it was depressing to wake up on the Saturday morning to a miserable grey sky and heavy rain. I spent much of the morning standing in the rain outside the Comedy tent watching a live version of the TV quiz show, Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Stand-up comedian David O’ Doherty was the quizmaster with captains Phil Jupitus & Noel Fielding with special guests including Paloma Faith.
On the music front, Adam Ant & The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Possee were first up for me. The Word Arena was full with forty & fifty year-olds with a few teenagers scattered amongst the crowd, some with white stripes across their faces. Adam Ant rose to the occasion enjoying the admiration but appearing to be fully aware the whole thing was not to be taken too seriously. The set was chosen purposely for a festival crowd, playing the more commercial Adam & The Ants songs such as Ant Music, Dog Eat Dog, Kings Of The Wild Frontier, Stand & Deliver and Prince Charming plus solo hits Good Two Shoes and Viva La Rock. The set finished with a great rock version of (You’re So) Physical – which was nice!
This is what festivals are all about. Adam Ant gave a great performance merging pop music with cabaret. Looking around I could see others reliving their youth, merrily dancing and unashamedly singing along to every sing, though my 13 year old son did say Adam Ant looked like someone out of Psychoville!
The American indie pop duo, They Might Be Giants continued the retrospective fun on the main stage even though the pouring rain had them playing to a smaller crowd than I had anticipated. Their quirky lyrics and fun had people dancing in the rain with umbrellas and wellies as they played songs like ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’.
I managed to catch a bit of Brighton’s indie rockers British Sea Power set in the Word Arena, the highlight being a rendition of their anthemic live favourite Waving Flags as a dedicated large group of teenagers held aloft and waved branches in the absence of flags. Great fun that brought a smile to my face and probably frowns on the faces of the ‘greener’ middle-aged festival-goers.
Dionne Bromfield is just 15 years old and has the pressure of being touted as the next Amy Winehouse, as well as being her God Daughter and signed to Amy’s own label. Fortunately, she has a great soul singing voice and as such has a great future ahead of her, as long as she can learn from others’ mistakes. Bromfield played on Saturday afternoon in the pouring rain to a packed marquee in the woods on the Sunrise Stage. Her set included a great cover version of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’, her hit single ‘Foolish Little Girl’ and songs from her forthcoming album, ‘Good For The Soul’.
From the teenage soulful voice of Dionne Bromfield to the New York angst of Cerebral Ballzy. Loud, fast, noisy and aggressive. Cerebral Ballzy play punk thrash songs about skateboarding, underage drinking, eating pizzas and being sick. The large moshpit of fans knowing what to expect directly in front of the Lake Stage, were joined by older on-lookers bedazzled by what they were seeing and hearing. The vocalist strutted about the stage with his jeans hanging just above his kness screaming undecipherable lyrics while the bass player played throbbing bass lines atop the speaker stack. The last song was dedicated to those in the moshpit. The singer called them to the front of the stage and asked them to turn around when the music started attack the rest of the audience in a call to arms: “Let’s thrash for the cause!” A great set and a real delight to see at Latitude.
Food, drink and a break from the music had my Saturday evening entertainment kicking off with Echo & The Bunnymen playing their first two albums in their entirety. ‘ Crocodiles‘ and ‘Heaven Up Here‘ were followed by a few hits singes including Killing Moon, The Cutter and Nothing Ever Lasts Forever. Ian McCulloch didn’t look much different, apart from a few extra chins, with his back-combed hair, dark glasses, coat and familiar stance wrapping his hands around the microphone and stand with a cigarette constantly burning from between his fingers.
The Word Arena was packed but unlike with Adam Ant, it was noticeable how many teenagers were not only enjoying the Bunnymen but were singing along to the songs. For them it was a chance to see one of the coolest bands of the post-punk / new wave era of the late 1970’s – early 1980’s but for others, including myself, it was another trip down memory lane to reminisce about what it was like seeing Echo & the Bunnymen almost 30 years ago!
The two headline acts for Saturday night at Latitude was Paolo Nutini on the Obelisk Stage and Foals in the Word Arena. Foals attracted a large audience which once again was too large for the marquee. They are difficult to categorise. Songs from the first album, ‘Antidotes‘, are generally funkier, driven by heavy-throbbing basslines and jagged guitars reminiscent of post-punk funk from the likes of Shriekback and A Certain Ratio; where the second album, ‘Total Life Forever‘, is a darker more intense sound which has been described as post-Prog Rock and Math Rock – whatever that is!
Foals played a great set worthy of the headline slot.
Once again, there were performances I wish I had seen but for one reason or another I missed Ed Sheeran, Seasick Steve, The Walkmen, Villagers, Trophy Wife and Dels.