‘Latitude has attitude’. It’s a phrase that several performers spoke but how much truth did it ring beyond its pleasing rhyme? The short answer is disappointingly little. Indeed, many were discouraged by the festival’s dull and predicable lineup - oh and the terrible weather.

That said, ignoring the mostly stale lineup and the hoards of preppy 13 year olds (all desperate to see their favourite singer songwriter ‘Jack Wills’) Friday easily offered the most impressive lineup. In fact, so impressive was the lineup that there were several clashes – most notably forcing me to miss Grouplove.

Click to find Saturday's Review and Sunday's Review

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Avi Buffalo

It’s difficult to watch California 4 piece Avi Buffalo without acknowledging their youth. After all many 20 year olds (myself included) would give their kidneys to both write songs with as much competence and personality as Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg and have the chance to perform at festivals worldwide. Unfortunately this doesn’t always translate to a good live performance. This said what the band might have lost in confidence, they certainly made up for with enthusiasm, modesty and a sense of enjoyment. I have no doubt that guided by renowned label Sub Pop, Avi Buffalo will earn the loss of their ‘good for their age’ tag, however for now the band may have attempted to ‘run before it can walk’.

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Photo by Jenny O’Neil

Edwyn Collins

Latitude has seen countless reformed and ‘revival’ bands, which considering the demographic of middle-class, middle-aged audience members is fairly unsurprising. While for the most part I have no immediate desire to see most of these bands (either through nostalgia or enjoyment) I was particularly excited to see Edwyn Collins. Famed both for fronting 80’s post-punk band Orange Juice and prominent solo career, Edwyn Collins’ brand of jangy guitar-pop is one of the few at Latitude that transcended the period in which it was made. Age and several strokes may have debilitated his physical strength and resigned him to a cane but they have done little to dampen his unique musical style and enjoyable performance.

Edwyn

Yann Tiersen

Yann Tiersen is best known for his critically acclaimed Amelie soundtrack. However as his distinct albums and live performances prove, he is far from a ‘one-trick-pony’. As was possibly a surprise to fans of his soundtracks alone, his performance was far from the delicate, orchestral-inspired music heard on Amelie. Sporting a Neu T-shirt, Yann was accompanied by an array of analogue synths, effortless French coolness and a set splattered with intensity, bold textures and rich harmonies. Yann Tiersen is understandably keen to shake the typecasting of the Amelie soundtrack, and with a set as diverse and proficient as his at Latitude, who could blame him?

Yann

Deerhunter and Caribou

Deerhunter aren’t the typical festival band. After all, their brand of noise-rock might be as distinctive as it is stimulating, but it doesn’t lend itself to a festival environment. Indeed, to someone new to the Atlanta, Georgia 5-piece, their performance might have seemed impenetrable, with their tendencies for improvisations and intense crescendos becoming repitive. However to fans of the band and their diverse back catalogue their set proved to be a highlight; their full, mesmerizing sound and heavy dosage of bizarre psychedelia was a great. Ultimately their lack of audience participation and accessibility resulted in a stagnant, apathetic audience.

Caribou unlike Deerhunter, managed to command and entertain a huge audience. Their more accessible, technical-electro sound was much more suited to an afternoon festival slot. The band’s performance for all its lack of variation was awe-inspiringly tight and professional. Featuring a live band including two drum kits meant that Daniel Victor Snaith and his bandmate’s sound was both powerful and visually entertaining. Snaith might have a professional background in Mathmatics and suffer from severe balding, but he was still able to expertly entertain an audience.

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The National

The National are a master of many things but prior to Latitude I would never have labeled them as a band to rest on their laurels. Their headline set however was a disheveled outline of their former performances. Their sound, usually forceful and awe-inspiring, was weak and lost amongst the large outdoor setting. The set was tired and little changed from their previous set at Latitude 2010. The set was weakened further by the quiet P.A, dispassionate performance and the embarrassing, self-indulgent climax. Unlike previous performances, the band’s decision to play the last song acoustically backfired as they struggled to inspire the audience to sing along. In many ways the disappointing, lackluster performance was as much Latitude’s fault as it was the National’s. After all, it has been 14 months since High Violet was released (as fantastic as it may be). I retain confidence that The National will rise again with an even superior album complete with a reinvigorated, improved performance but until they do, they should update their set.

The National