Latitude Festival 2010 review part three: Southwold, Suffolk


Rivals for best and worst bands of the festival, evil Thatcherism and dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Getintothis reports from the last day of Latitude 2010.

OH LORD. I’m sure women who’ve given birth would testify against it, but there’s surely nothing more hideous than Final Day Of A Music Festival Syndrome.
Waking face down in a pool of combined spittle and sweat, we’re almost afraid to move should we displace the wet matter which has gathered around our person.
Thanks to the near-tropical heat, circulation inside the tent is at a premium and should we move our forehead from the roll mat from which it’s glued there’s a distinct possibility we’ll remove half our face and end up looking like a burns victim.
Then there’s the black snot situation, which has now completely restricted breathing and seemingly taken on a life of it’s own, so much so it’s entirely possible that the BBC are commissioning an Alan Titchmarsh lunchtime slot in which he’ll report daily goings-on in the Guy nasal cavities. It’s no longer black snot, more the Blue Peter garden.
Opening one eye we see it’s 11.30am – which means we’ve had four hours sleep thanks to over-indulgence with Briggs and Aussie Jen back in the green camping zone. What we remember involves face paint, dodgy red wine and nitrous oxide. This, we conclude, is a combination we shouldn’t repeat in a hurry.
All attempts to move bring forth a tidal wave of perspiration, so there’s only one thing for it – a lunge, head first out the tent… Air. Glorious. Air.
An hour and some serious TLC later and we’re back in the game, propped up leftside of the mixer listening to The Strange Boys who should stand in for Bob Dylan as he’s so bad at doing himself these days they’d offer a preferable approximation.
Sweet Billy Pilgrim are altogether wasted in such a lowly slot; given that the sun’s belting it down and their grief-ridden torture-anthems would be more suited to a late night, scuzz-soaked bar. It’s fair to say their set is met with muted indifference. Big Brucie SHAME, particularly for the magnficently massive Kalypso which reverbs on and on and on, and we’re a teeny bit sad when it stops.
Lady Gaga gets around.
Back in the Uncut Arena, The Big Pink couldn’t be more camp if they were dressed as Freddie Mercury‘s moustache – big, brash and bloomin awful it’s like being thrust back into the heart of 80s enormadome rawk and when Dominos kicks off, like a limp-wristed cousin of its over-produced single, it’s all too much to take and we literally start running away.
Stumbling into the Film and Music tent in search of ex-Beta Band bro Steve Mason we’re confronted with images of mounted policemen battering all hell out of folk in a grainy 80s documentary. Confused, we’re told by an onlooker that Mason’s played half his set and is now showing a film about the 1984-85 miner’s strike.
It’s a sobering and hugely involving piece of footage showcasing the brutality of the police and Thatcher‘s crippling regime which annihilated Britain’s unions – and all told makes a greater impression than 90% of the music on offer over the weekend.
Mason then offers a rambling, yet passionate and thought-provoking conclusion which basically translates as government/police state/media = BAD. Community/human spirit/solidarity = GOOD.
He then rounds off with Beta Band classic Dr Baker and a campfire reworking of Madonna‘s Borderline. Cue unanimous standing ovation.
Death disco
Sometimes at festivals compromise is key. In this instance compromise comes at an almighty cost. Meeting up with the lasses from Greenzone means enduring once again, Mumford & Sons.
First time round was bad enough, now 97% of Latitude has gathered, to sing hopelessly out of tune as the inbred Westlife with banjos deliver something so turgid, so bereft of sparkle we’d rather stare at a shed.
Thankfully, our nightmare is short-lived as it’s their final song and we disperse into the woods to take in some of the ‘alternative culture’ on offer. Like trees decorated in post it notes.
Slightly more arty and a whole load better to look at are Dirty Projectors, who in Angel Deradoorian, have the all-time, uber-hipster foxiest miss ever. There’s a small sea of boys, tongue-dangling, gently sashaying as the Dirty P’s weave their intricate summer grooves. Oft-noted for their ridiculous time signatures and kitchen-sink approach, here, while not immediate, they’re certainly suited to the great expanse into which they *ahem* project.
Stillness Is The Move, is an obvious high, but there’s much to love; Useful Chamber‘s coda is a remarkable racket of guitar glee and No Intention is a great mass of flitty-floaty fun.
Speaking of which, someone should really have told Charlotte Gainsbourg. For 15 cripplingly mundane minutes she hum-drums her way through the most plodding of sets before we yawn loudly in protest and go grab another of Maxwell’s homemade haloumi-dressed beefburgers (boy, how we’re missing thems juicy eats).
Next up is Yeasayer who stamp a colossal-sized YAY into the early evening. Heavy on tracks from Odd Blood, but a fair sprinkling of all the best bits from All Hour Cymbals, we can’t help but feel hugely satisfied seeing this band steadily grow into the world-beaters they’ve always promised.
Not only is the tent rammed but it’s bob-bob-bobbing away with a fair few singing along. 2010 is given a rare early outing with Chris Keating shrieking like a loony and Wait For The Summer takes on a spiralling psychedelic swirl but it’s the tribal pounding of Ambling Alp and the monster chords of Madder Red which provide spectacular results. They’re on ridiculously good form and we’re it not for The National‘s tear-jerker on the opening night would comfortably run home with the Band of the Weekend gold medals. See you on the big stage next time, bros.
Time out
The Temper Trap are an odd bunch. That there Sweet Disposition threatens to hang over them like an anvil-shaped one-hit wonder and dent any ambition of credible longeity, so they appear to completely changed tact delivering a set high in extended avant bliss-outs which is ideally suited to the lazy haze descending round Henham Park.
I’m not entirely sure if that many people are digging it but we’re loaded on sun, bevs and general good times to care. Let’s put it this way, alot of people are sprawled on the floor tapping their digits.
As the darkness descends we’re left to party-ooop with Vampire Weekend who are good an’ all but hardly festival headliner status and it all feels very ‘of the moment’ and a tad throwaway. For every Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa or Mansard Roof there’s a slightly underwhelming California English or Giving Up The Gun.
With just two albums to dip their mits into there’s little material to rake through and it’s quite clear there’s two camps of fans eager for tracks of their album of choice. That said A-Punk is given it’s usual welly and there’s a carnival atmosphere when things draw to a close.
And that’s it, we stagger around for a bit, go for a pizza, meet a friend from home in the queue (‘I didn’t know you were here!?!‘ ‘No, neither did I!?!‘), pack up and prepare for the long drive home. Latitude 2010, you’ve been a beast, we salute you, see you on the other side.
The green zone gaggle Laura, Chayts, Briggs and Aussie Jen