Friday 22 July 2011

The Latitude Festival is full of The Beautiful Ones!

Foals headlining The Word Arena at Latitude on
Saturday night
On Thursday I made my way to the Latitude Festival by train from Norwich to Halesworth then the shuttle bus ride to Henham Park. I made my way to the campsite pitched my tent then headed for the Festival Arena. On the first evening I headed for the Theatre Arena and saw Theatre 503 and High Tide.

Theatre 503 performed PLAYlist which was nine plays inspired by the music of artists playing at this year's festival including Beautiful Ones the anthem of Latitude 2011.

High Tide performed Incoming a work about the war in Afghanistan by former poet laureate Andrew Motion. A powerful work about issues surrounding the effects of war.

I woke up on Friday morning and made my way back to the Theatre Arena to witness two productions from Clean Break. Fatal Light showed a young mother struggling to cope with separation from her daughter. While Dancing Bears was about girl gangs and life lived on the edge.

The time arrived for the music to start at the Festival with Avi Buffalo being the first act to perform in The Word Arena. Avi Zahner-Isenberg said he was stoked to be playing Latitude and we loved the bands souring guitars and What's In It For put us in a Summer Festival mood.

Edwyn Collins gave an inspired performance on the Obelisk Arena stage bringing back memories of Orange Juice and a guest appearance from his son. Chapel Club filled The Word Arena with their dark indie before Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan took us back into the light with their Country Folk sounds complete with the former Screaming Trees and Queen's of the Stoneage man's gruff.

Deerhunter brought their noise rock to The Word Arena which filled the tent with a glorious collage of sounds that brought Halcyon Digest to the Suffolk coast full of chaos in the true spirit of Rock n Roll. I just had time to catch my breath before it was time to catch Bright Eyes on the Main Stage. Conor Oberst and the band put on a magnificent show for the festival audience which included a guest appearance from Jenny and Johnny on a cover of Gillian Welch's Wrecking Ball. Finishing with a Road to Joy which could have been the mud filled tracks to the Obelisk Arena.

I crossed the bridge into the woods and got to see Jenny and Johnny twice in the same night. On the Sunrise Arena stage they gave which could be their last performance for a long while. Full of energy and fun, the packed tent were having a party. I rushed back to the Main Stage to see The National who were headlining the Friday night at Latitude. They were returning after headlining the second stage last year.

Opening with Bloodbuzz Ohio we all knew this was going to be a special performance from The National. Lead by frontman Matt Berninger the band took the stage by storm filling the night air with their gloomy rock that ripped into our hearts and souls and removed any Fake Empires from Henham Park. High drama from High Violet this a triumphant set from the band. Somehow Matt Berninger walked past me singing Terrible Love in the middle of a field at the end of their performance. A great way to finish Friday night.

I woke up on Saturday morning with the sound of rain and wind sweeping around my tent. I made my way back to the Theatre Arena for The Opera Group's production of Seven Angels. Complete with a chamber orchestra this was a story of seven fallen angels whose purpose and history has been forgotten.

James Vincent McMorrow opened the music in The Word Arena with his folk pop direct from Ireland evoking thoughts of the wild Irish coastline. Heavy rain greeted Ed Sheeran to the main stage while his acoustic pop mixed with hip hop samples warmed the crowd.

Villagers put everyone in a good mood with their folk sounds direct from Becoming a Jackal, putting smiles on the faces of people of all ages. Next on stage were The Walkmen who provide us with a lively set that completely erupts into life when they perform The Rat.

British Sea Power put on a brilliant performance while their fans seem to have brought the forest into The Word Arena tent with them. They are a band to treasure with top songs and intelligent lyrics. Waving Flags had us all bouncing up and down. Bellowhead gave us some traditional folk songs including Yarmouth Town.

After a long delay due to making sure that the Waterfront stage was safe, The English National Ballet performed two excerpts from Carmen and Don Quixote to a large crowd. This was a wonderful moment at this year's Festival and was well worth the wait.

I returned to the Obelisk Arena to witness My Morning Jacket perform a memorable set as they entertained us complete with memorable beards. The weather may not have been kind but the band took it all in their stride and rocked us into the evening.

After catching the end of Echo and the Bunnymen's performance it was time to see Foals, the Saturday night headliners in The Word Arena. The whole tent was buzzing as the band put on an amazing show that has to be one of the highlights of the weekend. Math Rock with attitude that had us all dancing without a care in the world.

On Sunday morning I was back at the Theatre Arena for the 1927 Theatre Company presentation of The Animals and Children Took To The Streets. This was a stunning production of live music, animation and stage performance. A dystopian future awaits a mother and her daughter in the sector of the city known as Bayou.

I was back at the Obelisk Arena to catch the performance of Scala with their take on contemporary indie pop. It was then left to Anna Calvi to turn us into the light. With Edith Piaf and Elvis covers she took the main arena by storm. Kele made it a mid afternoon party in the sunshine and showers and shocked everyone by playing a guitar. With a mixture of his solo material and Bloc Party songs his performance went down well with the crowd.

I was back in The Word Arena to catch The Naked and Famous bring their New Zealand indie dance to this little piece of Suffolk they had everyone in the tent jumping with joy. No Sunday afternoon naps when these Kiwi's are hitting all the right notes.

Iron and Wine took to the main stage to thrill us with their folk sounds. Samuel Beam bearded frontman looked happy as he thrilled us with songs like Walking Far From Home and Tree By The River. Cool Americana of the highest quality.

With the rain, sunglasses, white t-shirt, Carl Baret and everything that's rock n roll, Glasvegas took us on a rollercoaster ride as James Allan lives out his dreams. Daddy's Gone has us all singing along while Carl Baret and his wife joined the band for Be My Baby. You had to be there to believe it. At the end of their set the sun came out and we are all rock stars now.

Lykke Li was a little bit brilliant back at The Word Arena. Electronic pop beamed direct from Sweden, she took us on a journey with lots of fun on the way. It was time for the final headliners of the weekend and one of the bands of the nineties. Suede took to the Oberlisk Arena stage and we all became film stars. The Latitude Festival is full of the Beautiful Ones as Brett Anderson puts all his energy into a dramatic performance to bring this year's festival to an end.

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