Latitude 2012: Bands To Watch

DIY has plucked out a few must sees to save you some time with the highlighter.

With this year’s Latitude line up resembling one of Specsavers’ more challenging eye charts, it’ll be a struggle to catch everything on your checklist. Luckily, DIY has plucked out a few must sees to save you some time with the highlighter. Don’t say we never treat you.

Bon Iver (Obelisk Arena Headliners - Friday)Why have Bon Iver never played Latitude? With a Grammy win and an emphatic follow up to ‘For Emma Forever Ago’ at their disposal, Wisconsin’s cult heroes are virtually irresistible Friday night headliners. Expect hushed silences (and potential grown man tears) as Justin Vernon leads a mass swoon-a-thon with his raw, passion fueled growl during a UK festival exclusive that will keep other headliners, Elbow and Paul Weller, on their toes.

Can’t get in to that tent? Try… Of Monsters & Men (i Arena - Sat), M83 (Word Arena- Sat), Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Obelisk Arena - Sun)

Alt-J (Lake Stage - Friday)Festival booking season came around at the right time for Cambridge based Alt-J. Deceptively outgoing, the four piece have been looked to to break the mould of not-that-impressive-new-guitar-bands since the release of hotly anticipated and duly received debut ‘An Awesome Wave’. Infectious hooks and impeccably tasteful lyrics have seen them rise to the a-list of many radio stations including 6 Music and Radio 1, the home of Lake stage curator Huw Stephens. Set to attract one of the largest crowds outside of the main stages, they’ll make a lovely warm up to the evening’s headliner Bon Iver.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Chairlift (i Arena - Friday), Django Django (i Arena - Saturday)

Alabama Shakes (Obelisk Arena - Sunday)American soul-rock outfit Alabama Shakes are rare commodity in recent music trends. Instead of riding a wave of similar sounding bands they’ve just gotten really, really good at what they do. Headed by old souled, younger than she sounds, Brittany Howard the band bring a mighty contemporary romp to a traditional genre. If the sun’s out the likes of ‘Hold On’ may just evokes a hoe-down, although they are always tricky in skinny jeans.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Amadou & Mariam (Obelisk Arena -Fri), WE ARE AUGUSTINES (i Arena - Sun), Dawes (i Arena - Fri)

Lianne La Havas (Word Arena - Saturday)Having coaxed Willy Mason into featuring on debut single ‘No Room For Doubt’, Lianne La Havas has gone on to make quite a name for herself. She’s supported Bon Iver before stealing their limelight on Later With Jools Holland, signed to Warner Bros. and was shortlisted for the BBC Sound Of 2012. With a powerful vocal that has a knack for producing a memorable melody, La Havas is set to continue her festival charm offensive on the Word Arena. Her Saturday slot gives you just under a week to learn her debut ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ word for word. You might even catch a glimpse of Justin Vernon.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Janelle Monae (Obelisk - Friday), Esperanza Spalding (Obelisk - Sat), Seye (Lake Stage - Friday)

Laura Marling (Obelisk Arena - Saturday)The poster girl of indie folk returns to Suffolk to sooth first night hangovers. Since her 2008 debut ‘Alas, I Cannot Swim’, Marling has quietly tinkered away at critics heartstrings to become one of the most promising British singer-songwriters. Now armed with an arsenal of lilting melodies and tried and tested sing-alongs, she’s sure to please her dedicated fanbase whilst effortlessly winning over some newcomers. In her highest Latitude billing to date, Marling leads a whole host of singer-songwriters looking to captivate the crowds.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Lucy Rose (Lake Stage - Sun), Ben Howard (Obelisk Arena- Sunday), Michael Kiwanuka (Obelisk Arena - Sat)

SBTRKT (Word Arena - Saturday)Young Turk’s breakthrough of 2011 has done pretty well for himself considering no one really knows what he looks like. SBTRKT (you all know how it’s pronounced by now) has taken refuge behind an African tribal mask as his blend of melodic electronica has gained serious mainstream attention. Helped by collaborations with fellow up and comers Jessie Ware and Little Dragon his self-tilted debut took pride of place on numerous album of the year lists. Worryingly catchy singles ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Hold On’ are likely to transform the Word Arena into a sweat pit as he holds his own in a tough slot before Saturday headliners, The Horrors.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Metronomy (Obelisk Arena - Friday), Perfume Genius (i Arena - Sunday), Twin Shadow (i Arena - Friday)

Soko (i Arena, Saturday)French native Stéphanie Sokolinski, thankfully, shortened her name to be better known as Soko. She’s well known across Europe but, other than her track ‘I’ll Kill Her’ appearing on a bizarre Cee Lo Green mixtape filler, Soko has somehow found it difficult to make an impact in the UK. However, this rather high placing in the i Arena on Saturday night could be the beginning of the end to her struggle. A delicate fusion of vulnerable yet elegant vocals and heart warming melodies wonderfully suit Latitude and are better excuse than any to explore further than the main stage over the weekend.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Bat For Lashes (Obelisk Arena - Sunday), Howler (i Arena - Friday), St Vincent (Word Arena - Sunday)

tUnE-yArDs (i Arena - Friday)“This music scares me and I love it!” exclaimed a particularly exuberant fan at a recent tUne-yArDs show. To be fair, it’s a pretty accurate description of the musical alter-ego of Merrill Garbus. Eclectic is an understatement for the ukelele, drum loop, vocal arrangements that somehow create a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Anyone with the ability to make what should be a royal mess into two award winning albums (Bird Brain and Whokill) deserves to headline a stage. Head to the i Arena on Friday night to get the shit scared out of you… in the best possible way.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Los Campesinos! (Lake Stage - Sat), Phenomenal Handclap Band (Film & Music Arena - Fri), First Aid Kit (Obelisk Arena - Fri)

Kindness (i Arena, Friday)If you’re looking to ease yourself into the festival but not doze off by the lake, Kindness is a safe bet. Having impressed at SXSW, one man show Adam Bainbridge is rapidly becoming one of the ‘ones to watch’, gaining serious momentum in the music press. That said, ‘House’, the lead single from debut album ‘World, You Need A Change Of Mind’ is likely to get the closest to a ruptuous reaction. Let his pop sprinkled, LCD Soundsystem on a budget, musings with a hint of Foals esque brass lines wash over you to forget the night before or set you up for the one after.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Kwes (Lake Stage - Saturday), Polica (Lake Stage - Friday), Yeasayer (Word Arena - Friday)

Lana Del Rey (Word Arena - Friday)Hold fire! This pick is as much an ultimatum as much it is an intriguing booking. With a string of questionable live performances under her belt, Little Miss ‘Video Games’ will be looking to redeem herself in her only appearance on UK soil this summer - maybe there’s a reason for that. There’s little chance of her making much of an impact beyond her singles but get there early if you want to catch a glimpse, this one will be rammed. You never know, you might even like it (equal chance you wont, though!). Even if you don’t White Lies will be lying in wait to reassert your faith in the line-up.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… anything else, tUnE-yArDs might be on by then.

Slow Club (i Arena - Sunday)Sheffield’s finest bring a syncopation, gang vocaled harmonies and a serious amount of energy to the i Arena. With Charles Watson (vocals, chords) and Rebecca Taylor (vocals, guitar, drums) at the helm the band have taken six years to fine tune a unique indie-folk sound and built up a sizable following. Expect a charismatic ‘we wont take ourselves too seriously if you wont’ look back at a somewhat overlooked career including latest work from last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Paradise’.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Wild Beasts (Word Arena - Sunday), Battles (Word Arena - Sunday), GIVERS (Obelisk Arena - Friday)

Latitude 2012 - Best Of The RestLatitude boasts to be ‘more than just a music festival.’ To be honest, it’s a fair comment bearing in mind the seventeen stages (yes, seventeen) spread across the site. With three days being a worryingly short amount of time to pack in theatre, comedy and cabaret, here’s what DIY thinks you should be aiming for.

Scroobius Pip - (Poetry Stage - Saturday)
In the music world he’s best known for his collaborative work with dan le sac but Scroobius Pip, AKA David Peter Meads, owes his mainstream success to a spoken word career that launched in 2006. Effortlessly balancing humour and sadness in equal depth, the wordsmith has an ability to captivate his audiences with wonderfully crafted works with a generally unorthodox delivery. Don’t be surprised to see the appearance of hair clippers as he graces the same stage as some of his literary influences in an otherwise stripped back performance.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… John Cooper Clarke (Poetry Stage - Sunday), Benjamin Zephaniah (Poetry Stage - Sunday), Swamp Juice (Theatre Stage - Sunday)

Tim Minchin (Comedy Arena - Friday)
In the past, Latitude’s comedy arena has underestimated its popularity and left hundreds herding around the fringes trying to catch a peek of ‘that one off the TV.’ This year’s headline act is sure to be no exception as still-wearing-guy-liner Tim Minchin unleashes his ground breaking take on musical comedy. Now with Olivier Award breaking Matilda only adding to his fame, you’ll have to sit through a serious amount to get a good spot for this one but it may well be worth it.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Frisky & Mannish (Comedy Arena - Friday), Phil Jupitus (Comedy Arena - Saturday), Greg Davis (Comedy Arena - Sunday)

Lang Lang (Waterfont Stage - Sunday)
The Chinese translation of Lang Lang is ‘so good they named him twice.’ Well, it’s not but it would be a fitting title for one of the festival’s special guests. Playing piano since he could walk has lead to the ability to make his fingers blend into the keys and a prodigy status that have earned him invites to play at The White House and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert. Well, If he’s good enough for old Liz, he’s good enough for DIY.

Can’t get in the tent? Try… You’ll get to see this one, he’ll be the one floating on the lake.

Flash Mob (Waterfront Stage - Saturday)
If cutting edge music’s not quite your thing, for a start you’re probably being on the wrong website, but more importantly you’ll still be well catered for at Latitude. Head down to the Waterfront Stage for a preview of Flash Mob, a dance production as it stops off on en route to the Edinburgh Fringe in August before going on a nationwide tour in 2013. This sees the finest dance talent show rejects coming back with a vengeance to take over the lake. Don’t come crying to us if you get bored of guitar bands!

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Rich Hall’s Hoedown (Cabaret Arena - Sat), C!RCA (Theatre Stage - Fri and Sat)

Norman Jay (In the Woods - TBC)
The party goes long into the night at Latitude and the woods are the best place to get lost for an evening. One of the highlights this year sees legendary DJ Norman Jay (MBE?!) bringing his Notting Hill Carnival regular Good Times Sound System to the party. Expect funk and soul classics from across the ages as the British radio legend brings a street party vibe to the middle class Suffolk countryside.

Can’t get into that tent? Try… Goldierocks (In The Woods), Shy FX (Word Arena - Sat), Guilty Pleasures (the comedy tent’s camp alter ego on Saturday) if you’re feeling bold.

Latitude will take place at Henham Park in Southwold, from 12th - 15th July.

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