All in all, I had a delightful time at this twee festival. The only complaint I would have is that the other festival goers were either in their early teens or their early forties with not much in between. But despite this caveat, the crowds were responsive and mostly not douchebags so I guess you win some, you lose some. Everything else about the festival rocked – from the forest hideaways to the beautiful lake. Call me middle aged, but scenery is fast becoming one of my prerequisites for an enjoyable festival. Take a gander at the new stuff I found and the old classics that pulled it out of the bag. Special mention to The 1975 – you’re still cringe af and you’re not John Lennon, Matt, so just pipe down with your opinions.
This is a band I’ve had my eye on for a while, after hearing their kick-ass song “All The Rest Is Noise”. Their sound if beefy, with a mixture of heavy electronic production and indie-rock riffs and chords. Leather-jacket and sunglasses clad lead singer, Will Ritson, is painfully cool and has that hard-edged, sultry voice that gives the music an Arctic Monkeys vibe. I was surprised to find out the band are from South London, as they have a certain California nonchalance about them. Their live set was energetic and hard-core. Ones to watch for sure.
Best introduction tracks: “All The Rest Is Noise” and “Powerful People”
One thing that was very pointed about Latitude was its abundance of badass ladies on the line-up. Julia Jacklin is one such chica. Her sound is fairly melancholy with undeniably rock-y moments. Upon listening at home, I realised that lyrically this girl has serious talent which bodes well for the future. Live, there were moments when it felt a bit too homogenous. But on record, her detached vocals come through much more and the slower ballads become distinct because of their drollness. Kind of a cross between Marika Hackman and Emmy The Great. Big yes.
Best introduction tracks: “Coming Of Age” and “Leadlight”
Maggie Rogers claim to fame is somewhat typical of an era where social media has taken over all aspects of life, including politics. The video of her moving Pharrell Williams to near tears with original track ‘Alaska’ has been shared and viewed a few million times. Unlike a certain Canadian heartthrob-gone-bad, Maggie Rogers song writing and performing talents are undeniable. Her sound has its foundations on folk music, layered on top of which is ambient electronica that is restrained enough to avoid excesses, but also experimental enough to flood listeners with the urge to wiggle their dancing booties. A natural performer, Maggie Rogers’ onstage presence is dominating without being arrogant. An outfit of silver triangles dangling from an electric blue dress accentuates her energetic yet effortless dancing, as if the stage is now her natural habitat. Complete with a haunting voice and relatable lyrics e.g. the pain of having a crush, the rage on the day of the U.S. election, Maggie Rogers’ success is only the beginning of what is sure to be an impressive career.
Best introduction tracks: “Alaska” and “On + Off”
This lady absolutely blew me away with her live presence. She had a bit of Kate Bush about her with soaring vocal lines and dramatic electronic strings. Like her Scandinavian counterpart MO, she sits comfortably in the electropop genre but unlike MO she hasn’t yet succumbed fully to the pop troupes circulating the mainstream. On record, her sound is a lot more chilled out and I’d like to see a bit more Florence and The Machine drama which has the potential to develop. Look out for her because I think her sound could be very crowd-pleasing in future times.
Best introduction tracks: “Wolf” and “Glitter & Gloss”
You may recognise this gal’s name from her collab with Drake on “Get Together”. Her voice is easy like a Sunday morning and some of her tracks have serious groove. She knows how to rile up a crowd and live had the presence of a pop princess. I definitely think she will permeate the mainstream soon-as so make sure you get yourself in there quickly or you’ll risk sounding uncool when you recommend her to friends. Not all of her tracks are as groovy as others but she has much potential and I expect to see many more collaborations in the future that will bring out her fabulousness.
Best introduction tracks: “Where Did I Go?” and “Blue Lights”
W o w! I didn’t have exceedingly high expectations for this gig because after all he is one dude and also some of his tracks are slightly too pop for me. Man, was I proved wrong. This guy has enough power live to outfox even the foxiest of festival performers. His sound on record translates into something MASSIVE live. All the emotion bursts out and his skill is immense. The way he manoeuvres between singing like an angel and producing the grooviest of electronic noise is unbelievable. His cringier tracks were missable but overall he completely knocked it out of the park. Big big things in store for his future.
Best tracks: “Worry” and “Love You’re Given”
I mean we all know I am completely obsessed by this man and everything he says and does. He is the current king of new British rap and there are no words for how good he is live. Probably his greatest trait is his modesty. At times it feels like he might cry just because people have turned up to see him. His music speaks for itself, at once groovtastic and emotional, he can write lyrics like a South London Shakespeare. There isn’t a single song that feels out of place in his debut album Yesterday’s Gone and his live sets reflect that. Him and his best friend, Rebel Kleff, just have a sick time on stage and you can feel that as an audience member. He makes every person there feel special and for that I applaud him. 11/10 would recommend him to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Best Tracks: “Damselfly” and “Isle of Arran”
Mumford and Sons
Do you know what? Hats off to these boys. You may have read my scathing article about their new album and the possibility of them redeeming themselves. In my eyes, despite my hopeless outlook, they have done just that. Whatever you might think about their image, they are epic live. The roaring banjos, singable choruses and friendliness about them is just perfect for a festival headliner. Their new album still stinks mind, and I put my fingers in my ears for the few tracks they played from that. But they mainly played to the crowd and just produced banger after banger. I’m talking “The Cave”, I’m talking “I Will Wait”, I’m talking “Little Lion Man”. I mean you have to hand it to them, they are obviously keen to show that they’re not throwing away their banjos forever. And I am grateful to them for that.
Best Tracks: the whole Sigh No More album
Yes yes yes yes yes. These guys ROCKED like they were on the main stage. Toned physique and hairy armpits galore, Amelia Meath is my new girl crush in every way. Their music is made for dancing around a stage and they play the fuck out of it live. Meath sings like every song is her last and Nick Sanborn provides positively toe-tapping production. I would highly recommend watching their Echo Mountain Sessions which bring out the multitude of layers both lyrically and in their sound that make their new album, What Now, so esoteric and amazing. Fuck yeah.
Best tracks: “Die Young” and “Radio”
If you haven’t already read my interview with these angelic Irish ladies and listen to any and all of their ethereal music. These girls were beautiful live and had me cloud-gazing all day. The sound of the harp is like a tonic to the soul and their harmonies are just perfect. They have a self-assurance on stage that enhances their intelligent songwriting. The Lake Stage was the ideal place for them as it gave the audience a chance to chill and just soak up the elegance of it all. I see a promising future for these ladies who have already played with the likes of Win Butler and Lisa Hannigan. Huge fan.
Best tracks: “Corpses” and “Causing Trouble”
The man, the myth, the absolute legend. He played a tiny stage in the woods which was packed out with eager fans. We handed him a Guinness mid-set which he accepted as if he expected it to happen. His set was like a dream for us long-time fans, with every banger played and his bumbling personality shining out in the in-between-y bits. He forgot his words a few times and handled it like an absolute pro with a hum and a ha and a woopsie. At times, the sound was so emotional that members of our cohort had tears in their eyes. He took suggestions from the crowd at the end and played them all like a seasoned pro. He’s simply the classiest of all class acts and I will forever be a massive fan. We also had the chance to meet him at the end as he descended from the stage like Jesus, touching hands and giving hugs. What a man.
Best tracks: just all of them
This guy produced the BEST DJ set EVER. Old school hip hop, new school hip hop, basically every song you want to come on at a club was played. Shoutout to him for playing “Ignition” at which point I lost my shit. I would sell my house for him to play my party and if he plays in London I’m going and I don’t even care if anyone comes with me, I’ll just jam alone. He is a radio legend and proved himself a-hundred-fold. Wow wow wow.