Summer is here! Or at least, it definitely was this past weekend and thousands of people celebrated this fact by attending one of Britain’s most diverse festivals. Now in it’s 11th year, Latitude has consistently given audiences a lot to hear, see, drink and experience and this year was no different. Smother yourself in sun cream as we take you through the plethora of delights that is Latitude 2016.
As Friday rolls around there is so much to do that the feeling of a deer in the headlights sets in. Luckily the Shoe-Gazing rock of Courtney Barnett was at hand to sort everyone out. Her music is as if The Pixies and Nirvana formed a super-group and they let Courtney Love sing lead vocals. But what Courtney (Barnett, not Love) manages to achieve is a simply, rocky melody with brilliant and often funny lyrics. She’s effortless and the crowd love her.
Later on we are treated to some music influenced by almost every culture you can think of from Beirut. Seamlessly taking us from Balkan-themed Gypsy Rock to the Mariachi music of Mexico this one-man music machine puts a different cultural spin on each of his albums and here we are given snapshots of them all. Fantastic.
Then you have a choice. Either you can see The Maccabbees perform their first ever headline set at a festival, full with confetti cannon and a nice mix of their old, more pop rock numbers mixed in the their newer, mature work that has an ambience rock feel to it. Or, you can get in the mosh pit and get sweaty in the BBC Radio 6 Music Tent with Grimes. That sweet voice projecting loud over the heavy, pulsating beat. Either way you’re in for a good time.
Saturday, the weather gets hotter and so does the atmosphere. Squeeze are on the main stage smashing out ‘Cool For Cats’ to a rammed Obelisk Arena. DMA’s are in the BBC 6 Music tent with the sounds of Brit Rock flooding out the gaps. Oasis and the Smiths have been reborn in the of this Australian group.
For a change of pace we headed to the Comedy Tent to see Reggie Watts show us why he is the face of pretty much any loop pedal you can buy. His mix of ambience sound and comedy had half the tent in stiches and the other half looking around trying to understand what the hell was going on.
There’s also the opportunity to watch an Olivier Award winning performance artist in The Little House, the smaller of the two main Theatre tents, in the form of Ursula Martinez’s show ‘Free Admission’. A thought provoking look at our society whilst also bring some much needed humour to the subject, turns out, most things make her angry!
Back in the main arena that we get the biggest treat. John Grant struts onstage in Adidas shorts, a black t-shirt and a colourful cap and gives us an hour of melodic ballad mixed with electronica that won’t be forgotten easily. He is followed by a solid set by Chvrches who have really come into their own as a band. With tunes that are so easy to dance to with catchy hooks, they are fast becoming festival favourites (even if lead singer Lauren Mayberry made the rookie mistake of wearing a leather skirt in that heat!)
Headlining Saturday were The National. Their music, inoffensive, but bland, which led to nearly half the original crowd leaving to see either Soulwax or 16-year-old folk singer Billie Marten on the Lake Stage whilst the dreariness of The National seemed to bring the only bit of rain all weekend.
Sunday was the hottest of the three with most people crawling out of their tents like they’d just left a Scandinavian Sauna complete with large, hairy, naked man making awkward eye contact I’m sure. But this, in fact, set the mood well for Norwegian-born Aurora to take to the BBC 6 Music Tent with her tender vocals alongside powerful melodies. You may remember this young singer from covering Oasis’ ‘Half the World Away’ in the M&S adverts, but she’s come a long way since then, with single ‘Running with the Wolves’ really lighting a fire under the audience.
Chet Faker was far more energetic than would be expected, his most famous songs being a smooth, slow cover of ‘No Diggity’. But he was bouncing around the stage and really working the crowd alongside his band. The highlight, though, was still when he took it right back to basics with the wonderfully ambient ‘Talk is Cheap’.
The festival was rounded off by New Order on the Obelisk Stage. A solid performance from the pioneers of electronic music. As they came on for the encore and started playing ‘Blue Monday’ the whole crowd were enjoying themselves. But when it is finished Bernard Sumner says they have one more. What could possibly top Blue Monday? They don’t have any other hits and they NEVER play Joy Division songs… Then, Ian Curtis’ face comes over the backdrop and the opening strums of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ are played. There is euphoria. This NEVER happens… What a way to end the festival.
Photo Credit: WENN.com