The Sunday of a Festival always marks a bittersweet occasion; whilst Sunday may have been one step closer to the comfort of a real bed, it also marked the imminent end of Latitude 2010 and with it one of the most enjoyable festival experiences I’ve had. Latitude Festival - Sunday Day 3 Acts Watched = The Antlers, Mark Watson, Dirty Projectors, Yeasayer, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Temper Trap, Jonsi, Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend Highlight = The Brooklyn Collective (of which 6 out of the 8 bands I watched are native) Down Point = Having to overhear Mumford and Sons.
For Fridays review, look here. For Saturdays review, look here. Festivals are a perfect place to experience new bands; after all, they provide the perfect snapshot to a band. Indeed, Prior to Latitude, The Antlers were a band I had heard a lot about without actually having listened to the music. In fact, excluding the extent of positive acclaim surrounding their third album ‘Hospice’, I had little idea what to expect when the Brooklyn three piece walked onto the stage. Luckily, even during their first song the acclamation felt justified; their dreamy, unhinged pop proved to be a welcome surprise. As is probably the aim of festival appearances, the band’s infectious and melodramatic set certainly won me over as a fan. 4583786018_99137002ac The Antlers @ Latitude - Photo by Nick Pickles Mark Watson is the archetypical Latitude comedian; the Cambridge-graduate’s liberal middle-class aspirations are matched only by his polite and mild mannered stage persona. It came as no surprise then that the audience seemed entirely absorbed by his short-winded, conversational humour. Watson’s naturalist style proved to perfectly lend itself to a Festival performance; he was able to talk about otherwise trivial events as though it was a casual conversation. Even when faced with the difficulty of being heard under the interminably dull and sickeningly saccharine ‘music’ emanated from Mumford and Sons, Watson was able to incorporate the disruption into his set, mocking those that left - albeit in his typical amiable way. 4818902019_13309ed73c_b Mark Watson @ Comedy Tent - Photo by Marc Sethi Regrettably, Dirty Projectors are one of the bands that I’ve always avoided as a result of their bad name. Needless to say, my ignorance was exposed as soon as the band erupted into their stimulating set of intricate rhythm and harmony. These days, far too many bands forget the ‘fun’ from their music; a criticism the Brooklyn six piece are certainly exempt from. Their unique blend of afro-beat and sultry balladry is refreshingly unique - even their variety of ridiculous (and unnecessary) noises and shouts, are justified by such skilled musicianship. 4808243897_0aefef321f Dirty Projectors @ Latitude - Photo by Mario Menti
Pains of Being Pure At Heart
personify summer. Their set proved to be more of a lesson in how to create perfect fuzzy bubblegum pop rather than the stock festival performance. Even despite the feeble sound and fairly static performance, P.O.B.P.A.H were able to produce a riotous and stimulating adaptation of their album; so much so that they luckily overshadowed just how dull and lackluster The Temper Trap had been (even their target audience of young 16 year old girls looked bored). Most importantly, the band appeared as though they were enjoying themselves - no doubt helped by the set being the first date of their tour. 4818683473_9ac177d4e0 Pains of Being Pure At Heart @ Latitude - Photo by Brooklyn must be amazing place; not only is it New York City's most populous borough but it also seems able to produce an endless supply of effortlessly brilliant bands. As forerunners of this ‘Brooklyn revolution’, Yeasayer have managed to successfully create a unique electronic world-pop sound devoid of cliché or staleness - more importantly, it is a sound that perfectly lends itself to a lively festival performance. Indeed, cliché aside, the band’s album tracks seemed to make more sense experienced live – I’m not sure whether it was sweaty intimate atmosphere or their lively, powerful performance, but their set was one of the most enjoyable I’ve seen. Yeasayer Yeasayer @ Word Arena – Photo Jamie Future Let’s face it, Jonsi was never going play a bad set. Not only has the Icelandic singer long established his ability to create an impressive, grandiose performance with Sigur Ros, but his solo album ‘Go’ has further cemented his skilled and diverse songwriting ability. In typical Sigur Ros fashion, the performance was smothered in spectacle; with bizarre instruments scattering the stage, extravagant tribal-inspired costumes and mood-lighting, Jonsi was able to create the perfect ethereal backdrop to the set. The performance, whilst relying on a backing track, was so intense and mesmerizing that it barely mattered that I couldn’t understand a single word that was sung. Indeed, the audience was immersed in loud, tangled rhythms and a falsetto wall-of-sound. Whilst the set may have lacked the subtly of Sigur Ros, it certainly contained the powerful crescendos and Jonsi’ love of theatrics. 2721927541_82d3c52358_o Jonsi @ Word Arena – Photo Audunn Nielsson It was always going to be difficult for Grizzly Bear to follow Jonsi. Yet, with three such critically acclaimed albums to choose a set from, I had hoped that the band would produce an interesting performance. However, the band’s lackluster recital of their popular songs was a disappointing and uninspiring way to headline a set, not least to close a Festival. Sure, their performance may have been slick and wistful, but it’s far from the big, intense conclusion that audiences have come to expect -a dissatisfaction apparent in the dwindling crowd numbers. Grizzly Bear performing at the Latitude festival, Henham Park, S Grizzly Bear @ Word Arena - Photo Dan Griffiths In contrast, Vampire Weekend play their first festival headline set with vigor and proficiency. Only when watching their lively set did I realise just how many of their songs I enjoyed; or that is to say, how many songs were renewed into good live songs. Unlike Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend genuinely seemed as though they were enjoying themselves, and it’d surely be rude to not enjoy them back. 4822922223_8b87d21691 Vampire Weekend @ Obelisk - Photo Dan Griffiths