The 12th Latitude Festival is upon us and first impressions do not disappoint. An awesome mix of Norwegian, Swedish, American and British bands have made a beeline for the Latitude stages this year and it’s not every day you get the opportunity to see over 750 acts over just one weekend.
Let’s not forget where we are. Amongst the attractive stalls and the enticing stages, Henham Park is clearly situated in the countryside. Why is that clear? Well, once you adjust to the pungent farm smells, you eventually find yourself settling in to the surroundings. The wooded area is a particular delight offering a feast for the eyes as well as the ears, you have a bar conveniently positioned next to the Sunrise Arena which is adorned with red and white bunting and streamers which stretch from one end of the tent to the other.
On this stage, the crowd are already humming Saint Motel (pictured above)’s insanely recognisable song My Type. So by the time they get around to singing it – the unmistakable catchy tune from the saxophone really complimenting the scene – everyone is already at the ready. Throughout Move, everyone is swept up in the music, clapping along to the beat and doing exactly what the song suggests in the title and lyrics.
On the Lake Stage people take a shine to happy, smiley SuperGlu who put on a remarkable performance, especially when they play their breakthrough single Dreams. The lyrics are simple and very shouty and their punk pop vibe quickly catches the attention of passers-by.
The show Goldfrapp put on afterward The Horrors really caught the eye. Lead singer Alison Goldfrapp’s fiery hair matches her red ensemble, (a red cape and a daring pair of patent leather trousers in the same colour). She has an enticing voice when she sings Anymore; the base picks up halfway through making it a welcome addition to the atmospheric song.
The 1975 finally take to the stage. Lead singer Matty Healy wore his hair in a greased, floppy Mohican fashion and the use of black eyeshadow gave him a haunted look as he delved into Love Me, much to the delight of the screaming fans. Amongst Girls, Sex and Chocolate (yes in that order), The 1975 also sing a live debut of 28. There are no lyrics to this but it was so powerful and really showed off their talent as musicians. It’s almost as if they are moving away from the 80’s funk pop and have decided to explore other avenues.
The next morning brings the aftermath from the night before; the rubbish overflows from nearby bins and the queues for the shower blocks are endless. But it also brings the sun and the prospect of finding some fresh bands.
Speaking of fresh, Skott enters the stage wearing rose tinted glasses set against a porcelain face. Her type of music gives off a folksy vibe and she shows her confidence in this style by gesturing with her arms and getting lost in the music. Starting with Amelia, Skott’s crystal clear voice is a beautiful to hear. Equally, Glitter and Gloss is very powerful; the booming intro music and the drums travel around the BBC Music Stage. Recent interviews tell us of Skott’s upbringing within a Swedish rural ‘community’ where music and storytelling are valued very highly. This unusual way of life, combined with her knowledge of contemporary music which she only discovered from the age of fourteen, has arguably shaped her way of thinking about music as a whole.
Two Door Cinema Club should also be on your list top ten bands to see this year. Their fun loving nature is catching and the same can be said for IDLES who were seen at Download Festival back in June. In hindsight, they were best suited to that environment due to their rockier nature, but that doesn’t mean to say they didn’t deserve a place at Latitude. Twin Peaks are a joy to witness and they offer tight knit harmonies with elements of rock. Five band members make Twin Peaks, four of which each took a turn to sing. Be prepared to see some serious head banging, especially from Cadien Lake James.
We have the pleasure of Sigrid, Pumarosa, Broen and Klangstof, all of which derive from Norway and offer us stunning vocals and intriguing stage lighting.
Mumford & Sons have a spectacular performance lined up on the main stage. Singing most of the popular songs from the past such as Little Lion Man through to White Blank Page, Mumford & Sons own the stage; that is until Maryland born Maggie Rogers join them to sing Awake My Soul. She performed earlier on in the day and her ethereal voice was just as good. Roger, with her fresh presence and on-stage confidence for her young age, will make a big name for herself in the near future.
On the Sunday, Katherine Jenkins delighted audiences with unique appearance onto the Dance on The Waterfront Stage. Her first song, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah plays out on a gondola which is steered towards the stage to finish her set. This is not her usual jaunt but she seems to make an exception in this case. Her mixture of pop and opera has always gone down well with her fans and she confirms her ability to flip from modern to opera by singing Zara Larson’s Symphony, making the high notes seem effortless.
Performing after a six-year absence from the UK and to round off the whole event, Fleetfoxes, a five-piece band from Seattle step out to an audience who are a bit thin on the ground. Unfortunately, the first third of the performance is disappointing; the songs they choose are dreary and the use of lighting limited. So in essence, you have a selection of silhouettes to look at and nothing more. In the latter stages of the performance they are thankfully illuminated and the songs begin to improve in the way of lyrics and tune. All in all, Fleetfoxes are a talented bunch but they should not have been a headliner.
Thus ending on a bit of an anti-climax; but if you’re looking for a ‘pretty’ festival with a laid back atmosphere and lots to see, Latitude is still a winner. With many of this year’s new bands showing so much promise, who’s to say we won’t see them as headliners next year?
Words by Catherine Verrechia
Images by Matt Thorpe