24 Jul 2014

Latitude Festival 2014; best year yet?

With a line-up to cater for people of all ages and musical genres, this years Latitude promised to be one of the greatest years so far. As it is my local festival, this was my ninth year attending the festival, so I pretty much knew what to expect upon arriving. There was a small part of me that before this weekend wished I had opted to go to Truck Festival, but I cannot fathom how glad I am that I didn't. Don't get me wrong, the line-up was very good, and after hearing about it from a lot of people, Truck sounded like great fun, but Latitude is all together such a special festival. I would have been incredibly upset not to return to the scenic Suffolk countryside with a whole load of alcohol and a big group of mates, staying in a tent that leaked during the two night thunderstorms and gathered copious amounts of ants during the four days ...what was I saying? Overall, I think Latitude is one of the nicest festivals in the world, and although the lineup may not be the best, the whole experience is unbeatable; even if it was £2.50 for a bottle of water. Anyway, enough about the festival itself, I have a lot to talk about in terms of bands so starting with the headliners, here's my verdict on Latitude 2014. 

The Headliners:

Lily Allen: An incredibly last minute substitution for Two Door Cinema Club, this announcement caused a whole lot of controversy on social networks, including myself who is not the biggest fan of Lily Allen. I have nothing against her music, I think her earlier albums were a lot stronger and even if 'Sheezus' does contain a couple of good tracks, it is half the grossly misguided comments that Allen makes about a lot of very important issues such as feminism and sexism in the music industry. Enough about that though, I want to talk about her set and her set alone. Putting every opinion I have of her aside, Lily Allen absolutely crushed this set. Not only did she fit a cover of TDCC's Something Good Can Work into her set as a 'get well soon wish' to Alex, she commanded the audience like nobody's business. All the classics came into the set including my personal favourite, a hilarious rendition of Fuck You which involved the 35,000 person audience all sticking their middle fingers up to the stage and swearing at the top of their lungs. Not too inkeeping with the 'family friendly' ethos that Latitude is famous for, but a whole lot of fun. Overall, I think that Allen performed fantastically and was definitely my favourite Obelisk Arena headline act. (I still don't like half the stuff she bangs on about though, just stick to singing Lily, you'll be much better off that way) 

Rating: 15/20

Damon (yawn) Albarn: I listened to two songs before leaving the cancerously bland set. Apparently he was very good (yawn) but with his set list lacking Song 2, Girls and Boys & Parklife, I am very happy I left. Ok, Graham Coxon joined him onstage and they played Tender together, and Ok, he played two Gorillaz tracks, but the rest of it was his bollocks solo music which (can you guess?) I'm not a fan of. Sorry Damon, you really didn't rock the Obelisk.

Rating: 3/20

The Black Keys: I'm sort of torn between two regarding this set, because on one hand I really enjoyed it and I am utterly glad I got to see them live, but on the other hand, I got quite bored. I don't know whether it was due to tiredness and the lack of being in the mosh pit, but if a band's set is really that good, then it should be enough to get you wanting to dance and enjoy yourself. (much like Foals last year) The set contained all the greats, including my personal favourite, Lonely Boy, which sent the huge crowd into a beautiful frenzy of jumping and shouting. Overall, not a bad set, but would have rather seen someone else headline. 
Rating: 13/20

Roskopp & Robyn: The only BBC 6 Music Stage headliners I saw after leaving the ever so dull Damon Alburn's set, this weird looking, electronic, lets-get-everyone-feeling-like-they're-on-drugs, full of strobing set was utterly brilliant. I have never been an avid follower of this style of music, but I knew a few tracks such as Robyn's Dancing On My Own and The Girl And The Robot, both of which were equally amazing. Saturday night at Latitude had a lot to live up to after seeing the flawless Kraftwerk last year (mind blowing) but Royskopp and Robyn did it justice. Up there with my favourite acts of the weekend. 

Rating: 16/20


Temples: The always sparkly, afro bearing front man James Bagshaw along with the remaining members of this wondrous band were the first proper act I went to see at Latitude this year. Not only were my high expectations met, but they were crushed. Absolutely fantastic show, played all the songs I hoped for with the perfect amount of album promo thrown in there. I had the pleasure of photographing this band in action, and I couldn't have asked for a better first band. Recommend going to see this band play live to anyone and everyone. 
Rating: 16/20

Childhood: One of my favourite up and coming bands, Childhood totally smashed their set. Playing the Lake Stage, this young band gathered quite a crowd with their summer ready songs like Solemn Skies and Blue Velvet. Recently announcing their debut album has caused their following to grow and this was apparent with the amount of people watching, even if it was about 4 in the afternoon. Can't wait for the debut album and the chance to see this band again, totally awesome.
Rating: 17/20

Slowdive: Writing about Slowdive is fairly difficult because I am still in utter shock. To quote someone I follow on twitter; "Seeing Slowdive live was like being in the biggest, spaced out sense of euphoria." I feel like that sums it all up perfectly. It was honestly the most mind-blowing, sense shocking, emotion twisting experience I have ever had at a gig. I came out of the tent after their set ended unable to talk for fear of ruining the moment. I also had tears in my eyes. I'm not even sure what it was that affected me so much, but honestly I have never ever been moved like that. Their set was cut short meaning the tracks they played live lacked one of my favourite songs, Alison. Opening with Slowdive & Avalyn there was no disappointment at all. They did however play my personal favourite song When The Sun Hits which is when I was in a total moment of infinite elation. Up there with the best gigs I have ever been to, and Slowdive only played 7 songs. They finished with a cover of Syd Barrett's, Golden Hair and in that moment I could not speak. I will 100% be seeing this band at their newly announced London shows, and I recommend to everyone to go, whether you are a big fan or not, Slowdive live is life changing. Highlight of the weekend, hands down, no question about it.
Rating: 20/20


Booker T Jones: Waddling along to see Booker T at 3pm in the Obelisk Arena with my mum was definitely one of my better decisions I made at the festival. He walked onto the stage, looking cooler than any other other 69 year old ever, and immediately conducted the crowd. He was cheery, energetic, and absolutely full of life. Of course, the absolute highlight was when he played a 7-minute long version of the classic track Green Onions which was brilliant. As the first chords were ploughed into the organ, the roughly-6,000-people-audience all broke into serious skanking with no concern for the sun's horrendously hot beams. What an experience. 
Rating: 15/20

Bombay Bicycle Club: I only saw a few songs by BBC due to a horrible clash with Catfish and the Bottlemen and the fact I have seen them live before, but from what I saw, they played a magnificent set. I spoke to a few audience members afterwards and the reviews were all positive, with a lot of people saying they were glad they played both classics as well as new album tracks. I wish I had been able to stay for the rest of their set, but I heard my favourite song off their new album (Feel) and a few others, so overall, a great set.
Rating: 13/20

Catfish and the Bottlemen: The indie rock quartet led by frontman Van Mc Cann (fabulous name) are about to break. Not only do they have incredible stage presence and a very loyal following, the singles that this band have put out are only getting stronger. With their soon-to-be released album and huge UK tour coming up, there is no doubt that this band will have massive success in the following months. This show alone was enough to convert anyone into a Catfish fan, they absolutely smashed it, and was a definite highlight for me. I would have happily ended my Saturday night with their set, it was phenomenal, and I cannot wait to see them live again at Reading and on their tour.
Rating: 19/20


Haim: The flawless trio of sisters with amazing hair and even better bass faces took to the Obelisk Arena for their third UK festival appearance this year. As they began, more and more people gathered to watch their set and despite some sound issues, they played brilliantly. Fitting in their 'jam session' where they play a terrific rendition of Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well, as well as their classic set-ender where the girls join forces to have a minute long 'drum battle,' alongside album tracks and their most known singles like Falling, The Wire and If I Could Change Your Mind. All these summer-ready songs got the crowd dancing and singing along which made for altogether an amazing atmosphere.
Rating: 17/20

Clean Bandit: Not my personal choice of an act to see, but I was pleasantly surprised. Going in only knowing one song, I seemed to not be alone. However, the dancey, electro-pop songs threw the crowd into a frenzy of jumping and dancing. I honestly enjoyed Clean Bandit's set a lot and I look forward to photographing them when they tour. A truly talented group with a couple of fantastic songs under their belts; including set closer Rather Be. 
Rating: 14/20

Overall, this years Latitude Festival was phenomenal. The combination of genres, ages and styles of all the acts meant that every festival-goer was catered for. No amount of mud, rain, overpriced food and excessive amounts short shorts and crop tops worn by twelve year old hipsters will keep me away. Latitude Festival, I love you, thanks for an impeccable weekend and see you next year.

(Written By Poppy Marriott)

Photo Credit:
Jack Pasco
Danny Payne
Poppy Marriott