Latitude 2015: Sunday - Henham Park, Suffolk
Festival Sundays are always a blur of bleary eyes, greasy hair, and strung out teenagers. And Latitude is no different, except for the fact that people spend their last day watching poets and writers in the Literature and Poetry tents.
Luckily for weary revellers Duke Garwood’s crazy shock of hair is the most energetic thing about him; his woozy, laid back Americana is a mix of grumbled lazy lyrics, the odd screaming guitar-fest (‘Disco Lights’), and a ‘Hawaiian Death Ballad’. Giving off an even more relaxing vibe is C Duncan in The Alcove. His dreamy indie-pop is melodic and peaceful. Continuing the chilled atmosphere was Susanne Sundfør's Norwegian electro-pop. Though the crowd is on the light side at the iArena, Sundfør is another to add to the list of beautiful voices at the festival.
Not such a beautiful voice is that of Bob Geldof who, along with The Boomtown Rats, seemed a bit too angry for a Sunday afternoon at Latitude. You can see the logic in booking a band that produced ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and that song is an obvious highlight, but there was something just a bit too much for the crowd of pushchair wielding parents. More amiable was Seasick Steve, an act so ubiquitous at British festivals that it’d be a surprise if anyone in the UK has yet to catch him live. Despite peddling the same shtick at every performance (Crazy Dave the drummer, dragging a pretty girl onstage, etc.) the crowd love him, and he never fails to deliver. ‘Summertime Boy’, ‘Barracuda ‘68’, ‘Dog House Boogie’ all work well in the afternoon sunshine.
In a break from music, comedienne Holly Walsh managed to squeeze some laughs from Venn diagrams. Her ease with the crowd - and her use of its members as lead-offs for her comedy - was impressive. Certainly not challenging Walsh in the charm stakes was Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, closing the festival with one of the more unlikeable performances of the weekend. Full of digs about Guardian readers, the middle class, and in dedicating ‘Dreams We Have As Children’ to all the kids running around, though “not mine obviously”, it’s difficult know know whether the former Oasis writer was being ironic or not. It meant the set was harder work than one including ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Half A World Away’, the forgotten classic ‘Whatever’, and a smattering of his own best tracks - from his first album obviously - should be.
Happily one of the UK’s best live bands, and the much more charming, Manic Street Preachers had put on one of their ever-excellent performances before Gallagher on the Obelisk Arena. Their back catalogue is full of never ending brilliance; skimping on the new stuff they focussed on crowd pleasing with a set including their “wedding song” ‘Show Me The Wonder’, early hit ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’, ‘Everything Must Go’, and instant singalong ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’.
The only act that topped that was the more demure but no less thrilling La Roux on the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage. Mixing plenty of the new with some of the old, she brought the tent down with a brilliant atmosphere and closing things down with the energetic dance party that ‘Bulletproof’ inspired. It was a long way from the relaxed opening to the day.