Monday, 20 July 2009

Latitude 09 review

Another year, another incredible three days' worth of entertainment right on our door-step.

Here are our highlights…

Fever Ray – Uncut Stage, Friday
In which Karin Dreijer-Andersson spends two thirds of the performance sheltered under her robe looking part tribal god, part costumed extra from Where The Wild Things Are.

Accompanied by a full laser show and a set of costumed accomplices (our favourite being the dog boy in a ruffled shirt), the aural experience somehow still succeeded in overtaking the visual, with a bewildering mix of beauty and nightmare.

The fact that it all happened before tea-time made it seem even more surreal.

Thom Yorke – Obelisk Arena, Sunday
If you could choose a way to start a day this would probably take some beating – waking up in the Latitude campsite to the sound of Thom Yorke’s sound-check drifting on the early morning breeze.

Come midday, Thom made his way back on stage and managed to make a headline performance to the biggest crowd of the weekend feel like the most intimate gig you’ve seen.

So beautiful it made you want to cry.

Local Natives – Sunrise Arena, Friday
Winning the best new band of the weekend accolade by a distance, Uprock’s heart was stolen by five charming guys from Los Angeles.

Wearing their hearts proudly on their sleeves and clearly touched by the response to their first ever festival performance, their tight harmonies and emotional edge made a massive impression on us. In return we bought them beer and begged them to come play for us.

Completing our stalking session, Ric also managed to record a couple of acoustic tracks backstage, which you can hear on BBC iPlayer.

Golden Silvers – Lake Stage, Friday
Following in the footsteps of fellow Uprock alumni, The Cheek, Golden Silvers were given the nod by Huw Stephens to headline the Lake Stage this year and have never looked more at home.

A criticism of Latitude could be the limited number of danceable acts in comparison to other festivals but this (admittedly made-up) argument was undone with a set that showcased their debut album in all its glory.

Jeffrey Lewis – Poetry Tent, Saturday
Scheduled to appear three times over the course of the weekend, things didn’t get off to a promising start when organisers explained that Jeffrey had broken down outside London and wouldn’t be delivering his thesis presentation on the artwork of Watchmen (the fact that this announcement was made to a packed film tent seconds before he was due to appear was a rare blip in the organisation of the festival).

But all was forgiven at 12:30am the next morning when Jeffrey shuffled on stage in the Poetry Tent and swung seamlessly between brand new and old material, a rap about mosquitoes, and the unveiling of his recently completed detective comic.

When he finished, Uprock and a handful of geeks (notice how we don’t put ourselves in that category) were treated to an ad hoc Watchmen Q&A with Jeffrey round the side of the Literature Tent. Most asked question – “What did you think of the movie?. Paraphrased answer – “It was okay, lacked emotion though”.

Phoenix – Obelisk Arena, Sunday
Ending our long wait to see them live, Uprock favourites Phoenix played the Sunday night and exceeded our already high expectations. Opening with ‘Lisztomania’ and ending with a beefed up ‘1901’, there couldn’t have been a more fitting way to end the weekend.

And kudos to Andy for winning delayed lol of the festival, claiming that the drummer looks like Carlton Banks in a text that arrived 14 hours after they finished their set.

Photos by Jen O Neil, Chris Gornell and BBC Suffolk

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