Live Review

Latitude 2012 (Day Three)

Some live for extreme escapism, others merely dabble.

Some live for extreme escapism, others merely dabble. For those flagging, the prospect of one more day without knowing what the hell is going on outside is eased with a suitably middle class browse through the morning papers. Marcus Brigstocke joins a sea of organic porridge and espresso alongside a host of guests to deliver the Early Edition in the Comedy Arena. With a new found fear of striking dairy farmers, the cultured start to the final day of Latitude continues on the waterfront as classical piano prodigy Lang Lang is rowed across the lake (perhaps he hadn’t seen the steps at the front of the stage) before taking up a technically flawless slot. The clashes start early as Rufus Wainwright’s special guest spot on the Obelisk offers a flamboyant flashback across an illustrious career all before 1pm. The Main Stage is then shaken up and taken south by the raw punk blues of Alabama Shakes lead by an on-form Brittany Howard before Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes invite the already impressive sized crowd to a psychedelic folk love in.

The rest of the arena awakes early, too. Peace give a solid guitar based set on the Lake Stage followed by The Cast Of Cheers who assert themselves on the list of bands eager to please as they blast through recent release ‘Chariots.’ The Word Arena takes a more soothing approach at the hands of quirkily serenading St. Vincent who thankfully sticks to solo work rather than recent hit and miss collaborations.

Scampering around the site is made easier by the sun finally breaking through late afternoon. The weather is fittingly welcomed by infectiously catchy indie pop from King Charles whose set has become increasingly well polished over the festival season. His performance also acts as a more than acceptable alternative to Simple Minds’ preview of their 5x5 show that, other than ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ seems somewhat lost on anyone who wasn’t ‘there’ the first time round. With Sunday being the most popular with day ticket holders, many are unwilling to fork out the programme’s £10 price tag and keep the information points busy as the hectic end starts to draw in.

A wonderfully crafted set from M83 captivates the Word Arena with infinite layers and great musicianship including a live saxophone solo during ‘Midnight City’. Their efforts clearly gain them some new fans, rewarded by a ruptuous reception that spills out into a distinctly more relaxed Main Arena. Laughing off breaking a string in the opening song, Ben Howard settles into a charismatic set that brings a more personal quality to top ten album ‘Kingdom Come’. During “the biggest gig of [his] life” the singer-songwriter’s confidence builds enough to detach himself from his (strong) band and unveil new material before controlling the crowd in a well managed ‘Only Love’ sing-along.

Meanwhile, rising poster girl of indie folk, Lucy Rose relieves pressure from Slow Club in the i Arena with their ‘we really don’t take ourselves too seriously’ set. Rose’s lyrical prowess beyond her years gives weary legs a welcome excuse to recline on the hill as spells of energy separate her from her influences and capture many who were heading to the Obelisk. With many acoustic guitared out, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club (try saying that one after a few too many ciders) put a stop to the Radio One A list with thirteen members, instinctive flare and flowery silk headdresses. The diverse Cuban ensemble prove once again the consideration organisers have put into making this year’s festival as balanced as possible, shame they didn’t think about anyone’s feet being cooped up in wellies for three days!

One final glance at the Excel spreadsheet, sorry line-up, shows each stage has just one more act to offer. Perfume Genius starts the closing ceremony in the I arena with a fittingly serene close, easing his chamber pop into the natural environment with an intimacy that leaves the woods feeling like a purpose built practice room. The Lake Stage is bought to a similarly the adequate crescendo as Herman Dune portrays many of standout traits of the weekend’s stronger acts whilst leaving a lasting impression on new music fiends. Wild Beasts cash in five year’s worth of Latitude loyalty points for a headline slot in the Word Arena, Hayden Thorpe’s elegant whine leading a well polished set. However, their industrial rock becomes a little heavy for tired feet and is perhaps not the send off many were looking for.

Locking up the Obelisk Arena is left in the capable hands of Paul Weller. The Modfather, dropping his iconic suit for a Dad-rock button up Jesus top, quickly settles into autopilot, opening with ‘Wake Up The Nation.’ With a fairly Jam-less set, the crowd dwindles slightly as some allow fatigue to win over serious interest in the headliner, but a flurry of solos from Weller and various members of his solid backing regains some support. A now captive audience is shown the songwriting genius that earned him his status with the likes of ‘Broken Stones’ and ‘Fast Car / Slow Traffic’ showcasing musicality and memorable hooks in equal measure. Following a rampant ‘Town Called Mallace’, a deluge of disowned camping equipment and knitted animal heads (one lucky trader made a killing on those bad boys over the weekend), reveal the headliner hasn’t quite complimented the rest of the line-up.

When it’s time to get clean and pull away from the music, literature, poetry, comedy, theatre… (you get the idea, it’s cultured) tracking down the shuttle bus back to civilization is made harder by it being tucked away, miles from anything. But it also gives the impression that perhaps they don’t want you to leave either.

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