Latitude 2015

Portishead bring on Thom Yorke during immaculate Latitude 2015 headline set

Beth Gibbons and co. cast a moody shadow over the festival’s Saturday night.

Seconds into Portishead’s headline set at Latitude 2015, a moody blanket is cast over the Obelisk Arena that doesn’t leave for the next ninety minutes.

It’s a special skill for a band without new material in nearly eight years to still be such a fresh, innovative concept live, and while nothing remotely new makes the set, tonight feels anything but rehearsed and tired.

Playing only the shows they want to most and not a thing else, Portishead have kept their draw and their mystique, and as a result their enthusiasm and continued want for performing live - albeit sparingly - is given all to Latitude, and the show is received with every knowledge and appreciation of this.

Throughout, Beth Gibbons’ voice is effortlessly encapsulating, never straining but with such a draw nonetheless. ‘Machine Gun’ is brought to a stunningly emotional climax with the almost horror movie visuals that swamped the rest of the set swapped for a political voice, with clips of riots, the hunting of foxes, social unrest and the Prime Minister unfolding behind the band, interchanging with a bluntly clear message broadcast on a plain background: Five More Years. In a performance so engaging yet largely faceless, this is their statement.

A slightly unnecessary encore break half an hour from the end seems to be the only slip the band make, breaking up an otherwise seamless performance. Unnecessary it seems, until Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, already revealed to be playing a late-night ‘secret’ set at the festival, joins the band onstage for a joyous rendition of ‘The Rip’, his and Beth’s voices swooping under and over each other. It’s introduced with a lot less pomp than it undoubtedly deserves, but that which it doesn’t need. Portishead do it perfectly.

Where last night Alt-J proved their worth and made their step up to headliner status, tonight Portishead and the thousands at the Obelisk Arena revel in the fact that all their work is already done, and their years of graft are duly rolled out with upmost precision.

Portishead bring on Thom Yorke during immaculate Latitude 2015 headline set Portishead bring on Thom Yorke during immaculate Latitude 2015 headline set Portishead bring on Thom Yorke during immaculate Latitude 2015 headline set

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