Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, 16/7/2015...19/7/2015
published: 23 /
Gillian Fish enjoys Suffolk festival Latitude which celebrated its tenth anniversary in style with plenty of new artists and some old favourites
Latitude celebrated its 10th anniversary in style last weekend; the festival held at Henham Park in Suffolk was bathed in sunshine for the entire weekend and welcomed an eclectic mix of music, comedy, poetry, film and theatre. On the Latitude site it’s easy to dash between the stages, especially handy when your schedule is as jam-packed as mine was and you want to cram in as many bands as you possibly can! The lake - which, in a smart move was open for swimming for the first time this year - and the woods for exploring and discovering new stages and other happenings all help to add to the site's atmosphere.
The Friday morning started in the BBC 6 Music tent, where we listened to the chilled out sounds of young Irish singer-songwriter Soak followed by the Districts. The Philadelphia band were one of my highlights of the weekend, their bluesy, Americana-tinged songs such as ‘Funeral Beds’ and ‘Peaches’ showed maturity way beyond their age. Friday afternoon involved stumbling upon the electronic funk of Clarence Clarity on the Lake stage, and then it was off to the iArena tucked away in the woods to watch Melbourne psychedelic seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (the winner of most impressive band name of the weekend/year) and most impressive use (or perhaps only) of a double drummer set-up. Next it was off to the DIY Magazine-hosted Alcove stage for something a little more chilled out as we listened to the heartfelt, wistful tales from Iowa singer-songwriter Max Jury. Another highlight from Friday was the wonderful set from Ezra Furman, who had everybody in the iArena dancing to a 1950’s inspired rock n’roll carnival. His third solo album, ‘Perpetual Motion People’, looks set to catapult him into people’s consciousness.
This year there was also the addition of the Other Voices stage, which was tucked away in the woods next to the lake swimming and proved to be one of my favourite stages. The little shed-like shack introduced me to Irish band All Tvvins, powerful and instantly infectious, with elements of Foals and the Editors. The Obelisk Arena welcomed Alt-J as the Friday night headliners, and although I can’t claim to have been a huge fan in the past they did win me over with an incredible performance with hits taken from both of their critically-acclaimed albums including the heart-breaking melodies of ‘Matilda’ and second album single, ‘Left Hand Free’. The whole crowd singing along to ‘Breezeblocks’ provided one of those magical festival moments for which Latitude provides the perfect setting. Oh, and apparently some guy called Ed Sheeran turned up to sing a few songs with his guitar too, but I managed to miss that.
Making sure Saturday started off with a bang we headed to see Drenge. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have seen them over the past couple of years, but they seem to get better every time I do. Two years ago I watched them play in the much more modestly sized iArena, so it was great to see them pack out the second-biggest stage. Despite complaining of illness they played songs such as ‘Running Wild’ and ‘Nothing’ with conviction and in their typical raucous manner, encouraging an almost continuous mosh-pit. Another highlight of Saturday was the unstoppable Wolf Alice, who seemed to relish playing to such a large crowd inside the 6 Music tent. ‘You’re a Germ’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ provided the grungier moments, while ‘Bros’ and ‘Blush’ showcased Ellie Rowsell’s stunning, delicate vocals.
Revisiting the Britpop era was next on the agenda. Indie veterans the Charlatans played an awesome set of new material, including the single ‘Come Home Baby’, and all the old favourites such as ‘North Country Boy’ and ‘The Only One I Know’, to an appreciative crowd who sang along enthusiastically. Welsh band Catfish & The Bottlemen drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend as they rattled their way through an impressive set including ‘Pacifier’, ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Homesick’, clearly enjoying their performance. I chose the 6 Music tent headliners the Vaccines over Portishead, who headlined at the Obelisk Arena.
Sunday started at the Lake Stage where I caught Theo Verney play in the boiling sunshine, before Kindness had us all dancing to his infectious sounds as he handed out fortune cookies to the crowd. It was then time for some Sunday afternoon nostalgia at the main stage with Bob & co of the Boomtown Rats. Of course, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ provided a mass sing-along that I’m not ashamed to say I might have enjoyed. The rest of Sunday involved a bit of wandering and catching snippets from different stages, including Young Fathers, Eaves, Rat Boy, Years & Years and Warpaint.
Then it was back to the Other Voices stage for a rather epic performance from Mercury-nominated East India Youth. I finished the festival’s anniversary year in a suitably nostalgic way, watching Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds play a headline set packed with their own material as well as a number of Oasis covers, including a rare performance of ‘Talk Tonight’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’, much to the crowd's delight. Finishing the weekend with a mass sing-along to ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, Latitude once again proved its worth as one of the UK’s best festivals.