Arriving at the Green Man festival site around mid day on Thursday and avoiding the wristband exchange queues later in the afternoon also meant plenty of lush green grass to pitch the tent on. The weather held for the entire weekend. Very cold Thursday night and very overcast on Saturday but, whoever was controlling the water tap above the mountains this year, kept it in the off position, with just the occasional drip of warm Welsh rain, all weekend. Tans and smiling faces guaranteed!
I don’t think I have even seen so many children at a festival but there was plenty to keep
them occupied including the rather won
Thursday night had the brilliant (twin) guitarist, Rodney Branigan
blues set, followed by the hilarious Tim Minchin with a guest spot on the Far Out stage.
The end of his set inclu
The crowd actually sang serenely on the chorus.
Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party began almost by mistake in 1997 like an impromptu band practice crashing into a backyard bar-b-que spilling into the neighboring streets. Back then, it was a one-day event on a single stage in the epicenter of Capitol Hill.
Capitol Hill is arguably the most eclectic and entrepreneurially driven neighborhood in the emerald city. 14 years later this three-day festival happens on multiple stages with line-ups that have included MGMT, The Dead Weather, Sonic Youth, Vampire Weekend, The Dodos, Visqueen, Silversun Pickups, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, The Gossip, The Thermals, The Melvins, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Mudhoney and Built to Spill.
Three consecutive days of perfect sunny summer weather in Seattle is a rarity but luckily this year for the 20,000 plus in attendance to catch headliners like TV on the Radio, Ghostland Observatory, Explosions in the Sky and The Head and the Heart sunscreen and cold beer beat out coffee and wellies.
A dry day in London until a short sharp shower as the Coral came on (later in the evening) and a midday start for Faust, the timing of which was surprising for a ‘name’ band. They put in a great effort though, dry ice and all … not bad for a midday start.
Willy Mason next on the (fairly medium sized) main stage and a nice set, which the still sparse audience soaked up whilst laying on the grass searching for a view rays. The day was generally overcast but thankfully dry.
A stroll around the seven stage site leads us to The Greenwich Tea Party. A group of young musicians with nice song witting sensibilities. Goth wannabee band Toy next. A band i
Mark Kozalek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon) was solo with a guitar and as atmospheric as ever. He was not at all happy with the sound leakage from the other stages. At one point. When trying to start a song; he
A mighty Electrelane stormed the main stage next with some subtly channelled power. Back at Field Day after its first year appearance and subsequent five years hiatus, it is great to have this band back!
John Cale was in fine fettle and with a powerful band
My ‘coolest band on the planet’ is currently Warpaint and the ladies again lived up to that title. As always they are all about the music (and with a jam element) they bind effortlessly together into a groove that bleeds coolness, in my eyes anyway.
A big crowd for their early evening show and with Wild Beasts looking on from the si
The rest of the evening was spent wan
The tent for the Horrors was rammed so it was down to Wild Beasts to round off the night. A band from Kendal and with a pretty unique sound mainly led from the falsetto vocals of Hay
The Greenwich Tea Party
Following on from last year’s disappointments around the overcrowding on the site, stretched facilities, trouble in the camp site and general change in vibe of the entire festival, added to which a below par booking policy (Paulo Nutini as a Saturday headliner, Paloma Faith above Bright Eyes etc), I decided on just a Friday ticket this year. I have attended every Latitude since it started for the full weekend so it was not a decision taken lightly.
As it turned out it seemed I was not the only one making that decision, the site really was not anywhere near full on the Friday even though improvements had been made, toilets and an extra bridge across the river to name two.
The coverage of the festival on Sky Arts must have helped the coffers, in relation to the lower numbers attending and an interview with Melvin Benn on the TV where he said something along the lines of “”the music complements everything else”, I guess gives a clue to the booking policy. Still having said all that, Friday was a brilliant day of music and the sun shone all day long!
Starting off at 11.30 with ethereal Braids on the
Deerhunter “Hi we are Deerhunter from
Back over to the main (Obelisk) stage for Bright Eyes, who must have forgotten they have a new album out, and played a great selection of songs, even to the point of a Jonathon Rice & Jenny Lewis accompanied Gillian Welch cover. Another great set.
A bit of a breather for food and the
Finally it’s The National. reappearing at the same festival where they headlined the Word tent the year before (2010) putting on a stunning performance. This was the band’s third trip to Latitude overall and their first as festival headliners.
Main stage means a longer set, use of the now customary video backdrop plus, a higher expectation of the band and a bigger crowd to win over. All of that was achieved in fine style during a set approaching two hours.
The video backdrop showed the band back stage, them climbing the steps onto the stage. Matt had a head camera on which, when he ran out of cable, snapped him backwards. “That’s Show business” he said as the band launched into ‘Bloodbuzz
Encore, we get told this song is twelve years old and ‘Son’ is performed in such a mesmerising manner that it brings a lump to the throat. ‘Mr November’ sees Matt finally in the crowd and the unamplified ‘Vandelyle’ is sung, but where Matt was, I have no idea. Absolutely brilliant, that is two years running this band has wooed a Latitude crowd.
Sorrow (with St. Vincent)
Available (With St. Vincent)
Driver, Surprise Me
Think You Can Wait
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (With St. Vincent)
No ‘Guilty Pleasures’ this Friday, so a wander around the site, Haggis and Whiskey and then it’s off home before the rain comes. Lightweight I know, but I was pleased I was there for that stunning day of music.