Day two of Latitude 2017 is all about Mumford & Sons and their Gentlemen of the Road takeover of the Suffolk festival. Honeyblood’s early set in the woods kicks things off with a bang, and is a reminder of the brilliance of last year’s ‘Babes Never Die’ LP. Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers get a hugely packed out Sunrise Arena dancing with ‘All Dragged Up’, while ‘Sea Hearts’ is as potent and biting as ever.
They’re followed on the picturesque Lake Stage by Nilüfer Yanya, who proceeds to put in one of the sets of the festival. Intricate guitar work weaves around the West Londoner’s soulful vocals and jazz-flecked instrumentation in a set that’s eclectic in the extreme. ‘The Florist’, the standout from recent EP ‘Plant Feed’ is a propulsive gem that eases the festival into mid-afternoon, and braces them for the storm to come.
Said storm comes in the form of band of the moment, IDLES. The band and crew emerge from the back of the stage while Nilüfer still thinks she’s got one song to play, and twenty minutes later they’re playing to the biggest crowd the Lake Stage has seen all weekend. Vocalist Joe Talbot is the perfect mix of brutal and sarcastic, either singing the praises of the NHS, shitting on his hometown of Exeter, or reminding the crowd to stay hydrated.
There’s nothing sarcastic about the band’s set though, with cuts from excellent recent debut album ‘Brutalism’ bringing absolute chaos. ‘Well Done’ and ‘Rottweiler’ bring a passion unrivalled across the rest of the day, and as the band race up to the BBC Introducing stage for another set immediately after this one, there’s absolutely no stopping them.
Another band with a frightening amount of momentum at the moment is Glass Animals. The band had to cancel a recent festival set in Belgium due to frontman Dave Bayley losing his voice, but today he’s an absolute livewire. From the second that ‘Life Itself’ opens the set, Bayley doesn’t stop bouncing and twirling across the stage for the entire hour. There’s an unshakeable confidence to everything the quartet do at the moment, and the front rows are adorned with all manner of pineapple paraphernalia, with a fan on his friend’s shoulders munching on one throughout the whole set, skin’n’all. By the time the pineapple anthem itself - recent single ‘Pork Soda’ - closes the set, Glass Animals are on blinding form, and they’d better headline here at Latitude sooner rather than later.
Headline performances are also surely on the horizon for OUTLYA, even at such an early stage. Up at DIY’s stage The Alcove, the trio get a flagging early evening crowd moving and yelping along to their sunny, instantly appealing alt-pop gems. Bastille are the band that most quickly come to mind when describing OUTLYA, and every track they play in their short set this evening is armed with a chorus that sticks like bubblegum. Leading the crowd through a singalong of upcoming single ‘Volcano’, the singing continues courtesy of those leaving the tent, humming a future classic to themselves.
Things are a bit more introspective in the BBC Music tent, where SOHN brings along his impressive new album ‘Rennen’. Cuts from debut album ‘Tremors’ are significantly amped up live, with shuddering bass making far more of a racket than Christopher Taylor is usually known for.
The Lake Stage at Latitude is notorious for breaking artists at the tipping point in their careers. No-one’s had any trouble catching onto Jorja Smith though, and she draws a massive crowd to the stage just before Mumford & Sons take to the Obelisk Arena. Tracks from recent EP ‘Project 11’ are interspersed with a rendition of Drake’s ‘Get It Together’ from recent LP ‘More Life’ that Jorja features on, and an unexpected but actually-pretty-brilliant cover of T2’s ‘Heartbroken’. With debut single ‘Blue Lights’, she’s got an absolute smash in her pocket, and as the day’s curators prepare to begin their headline set, they’ve given a host of the country’s best new bands a platform with which to become headliners themselves.
Photos: Phil Smithies