Established in 2006, Latitude festival has been providing those of us in the often forgotten, cultural wasteland of East Anglia with something exciting to do with our summers for the past six years. Before that, you were lucky if you got to see Madness at the Newmarket Race Courses. The word “lucky” is here used loosely. Featuring acts as large as Pet Shop Boys and Blondie to early glimpses of artists such as Metronomy and Wild Beasts, this rural festival is by no means twee (apart from the pink sheep, but whatevs). As well as the incredible musical acts, Latitude has a very impressive comedy scene, with sets this year from the epic Tim Minchin, Jack Dee and Russell Kane to name but a wee few. It sounds like a total cliché but the beautiful country setting is just perfect for the varied and unique nature of the festival; there are a myriad of secluded corners in the forests and meadows brimming with lovely art and interpretive dance and whatnot. Even after the acts have finished, the fun continues long into the night with entertainment to suit literally any taste. Ravers can go rave in the woods whilst non ravers can choose between the delights of the world’s campest disco, a Cuban dance party or a Ceilidh music revival. Whilst the slogan “It’s more than just a music festival” may be the cheesiest phrase in the world, Latitude really does deliver the goods.
Lana Del Rey
After the absolutely wild success of Born To Die, there is no doubt that Lana Del Rey will attract a substantial crowd to the dusty tent that is the Word Arena next Friday. However, despite her initial popular reception, Del Rey has more recently received criticism for changing her name from the unassuming Lizzy Grant, as well as several slightly off live performances. Most of the slamming comes from her performance on Saturday Night Live in January, which admittedly, was not great. However, since then the young Miss Del Rey has improved vastly and stopped placing emphasis on random words within her lyrics for no real reason (the main issue with the SNL performance). Perhaps most importantly, Lana Del Rey’s recent set at Radio One’s Hackney Weekend was impeccable. Supported by her amazing band with a delicious sounding strings section, Lana Del Rey absolutely smashed it, disproving the haterz and increasing the ever growing hype for her upcoming Latitude performance.
The i Arena is Latitude’s introducing stage, and the line-up is host to some incredible bands. Its near impossible to narrow down who to see here, but consider Daughter. Elena Tonra’s vocals are complimented and enriched by Igor Haefeli’s guitar, and layers of keyboard. Elena’s voice becomes another instrument in Daughter’s crescendo of musical texture. ‘Medicine’ offers some haunting melodies; ‘Switzerland’ is a smashing example of the experimental folk the pair produces; ‘Candles’ is lyrically reminiscent of Regina Spektor. Daughter could be considered a musical fledgling: Tonra and Haefeli have only been working together since November 2010. It’s apparent that more is yet to come. But the eerie, dream like folk that’s happened so far is working, so sit back, and let Daughter work its magic.
Once likened to The White Stripes, Slow Club are essentially nothing like the White Stripes. Yes, there is a guy with a guitar and a girl with drums, but the similarities pretty much end there. They’re very good though, with their jaunty folky rock. You might’ve heard their earlier single, ‘Me And You’, and if you haven’t, you should. ‘When I Go’ is sweet and catchy, and if you’d like a slightly mellower Noah and the Whale you’ll probably appreciate this happy little duo. The most recent video is a tiny bit ‘Lego House’-esque, (this time starring Harry Potter himself). It’s still a famous-actor-lip-syncing. While his minor breakdown in a pub maybe a bit distracting, the harmonies are as perfect as ever, so chances are ‘Beginners’ will feature in their set. Maybe Daniel Radcliffe will sing it. Regardless, Slow Club have great energy live, lovely songs, and despite potential clashes (unavoidable, with a line-up saturated with talent), should certainly be worth catching.
That whole “Who is Bon Iver” thing which happened after the Brits was really funny, but it did mean that more people now actually know of (and know how to pronounce) “Bon Iver”. No one should miss Friday’s headline act. While some of Bon Iver’s songs might make you impossibly sad, a phenomenon you can’t always work out why, Latitude’s hill-top Obelisk Arena promises to be the perfect atmosphere to soak up the beautiful lyrics and acoustics which Jason Vernon seems to effortlessly produce. Latitude claims Bon Iver’s only UK date until November, and with the fading summer light to set the tone, this is the time to see them. Just make sure you get your upbeat dancing out the way earlier in the day because raving would potentially be a bit weird after this. This decade is all about indie-folk, anyway. Rave on Saturday.
Initially, the appeal of seeing the band formerly known as Dexys Midnight Runners was to see if they still only ever wore dungarees and to hope they’d play ‘Come on Eileen’ and ‘Geno’. However, after a quick listen to their new album, One Day I’m Going To Soar, it sounds as if they’ve still got it. Obviously, what “it” was they always had was high energy, slightly novelty party music. However, for an 80s fan at a festival, that sounds like an immeasurable amount of fun. Why bop around half-heartedly to nondescript hipster trash when there’ll be a party happening elsewhere? The sound of One Day I’m Going To Soar is so overwhelmingly theatrical that it could easily be confused with Les Miserables, apart from the shouty choruses which could be no one else but Kevin Rowland. After establishing such a dramatic new sound and mixing it with the traditional Dexys energy, no one can really predict what sort of show they’re going to give. There might even be fireworks.
Probably don’t miss Laura Marling either. Or Ben Howard. Basically the whole line-up is cracking.
By Maddie Russell and Melissa Taylor.
Dance Yrself Clean