Latitude Festival: Sunday
By Andrew Woodger
The final day of the new music and arts festival at Henham Park near Southwold was blessed with what must have been the hottest day of the year in these parts. For those of us under canvas it was simply too sweltering to have a lie-in.
My day started off with much drinking of tea and water and bumping into a practitioner of buddhism that I know. He expressed misgivings about the burlesque shows taking place in the Cabaret tent - something to do with the ethics of treating women as sex objects, no doubt.
The burgeoning saucy revival proved extremely popular. Too popular in fact - it was standing room only at the back of the arena and I'd left my spectacles somewhere else, so unfortunately I couldn't see very clearly anyway. I'm reliably informed that the flaming nipple tassles were a sight to behold (pictures unavailable due to BBC regulations).
Nuts in my beard
My first musical port of call was the Sunrise Arena. The beauty of Latitude is that the entertainment is mainly in the shade. Although getting out of the sun was my primary objective, I was pleasantly surprised by two new acts.
First up was Scottish singer Paolo Nutini and his band. Paolo's raspy vocals conjure up a downtrodden, romantic image of his homeland, without sounding like Rod Stewart. He sings in his own accent, but not as pronounced as The Proclaimers. He's tipped to be one of the next big things and his looks probably won't do him any harm.
Next on was the Archie Bronson Outfit and they rocked. They've been working with the Kings Of Leon's producer and played a raw and anguished set of driving power-trio rock. The singer's beard made him look like Tsar Nicolas II of Russia in shades and the sound that came out of his mouth is probably the sort of noise you'd make if you'd just lost the empire and were about to see your family shot by Bolsheviks. Fantastic, but probably too raw to crossover to the mainstream.
For someone who's in one of the biggest UK bands of the past 20 years, a surprisingly small number turned up at the Uncut arena for Nicky Wire. Which was a shame, because the Manic Street Preacher had obviously spent a lot of money taking-in Boss Hogg's white suit and looked very dapper. He played a mixture of stuff including covers of The Who's 'Substitute' and Jonathan Richman's 'Roadrunner.'
He also launched into a very amusing tirade which took in Snow Patrol, his new found admiration for Prince Phillip, how useless England were at the World Cup and the hypocrisy of calling Ronaldo a cheat when Peter Crouch could only head his goal by pulling hair. Oh, and he also had a dig at local heroes The Darkness and the relative commercial failure of the second album. His theory - if you sack the bassist, you lose the centre of the band!
Verlaine vs Gonzalez
Having been left cold by Television's allegedly ground-breaking 'Marquee Moon' album I thought I'd better give Tom Verlaine another go. However, it was more fairly aimless guitar noodling and I could hear a falafel calling my name.
Far more entertaining and crowd-pulling was Jose Gonzalez of that-advert-with-the- hundreds-of-little-balls-fame. His songs have more than a touch of Nick Drake about them which makes them perfect for a pastoral afternoon in the countryside.
Mercury Rev then showed how you can play long drawn out music with guitar histrionics AND sound great. They opened with 'You're My Queen' which turned into a Hawkwind-style space voyage at the end. Jonathan seemed particularly animated and, like Nicky Wire, the band dressed up for the occasion - although it was waistcoats in their case.
I had to cut short my Mercury Rev sojourn to take pictures of Regina Spektor and ended up staying there. Strikingly visual, Ms Spektor is a female singer from leftfield in the vein of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and (insert your favourite here) but with the added ingredient of Russian folksong reflecting her ancestry. She's already got a devoted crowd of young women and could do no wrong.
The Green Team
Mogwai closed the weekend in the Obelisk arena with their quite/noisy/very noisy guitar soundscapes. They strolled on stage wearing matching green tracksuit tops and trainers which seems to belie the music they produce.
The Hot Puppies
They're always given a 'punk' tag by music journalists, when to my ears they're the direct descendents of the much-but-wrongly-derided progressive rock genre. The aggression is more like Van Der Graaf Generator than The Clash. Green capes next time, chaps?
The band were bathed in pink and blue light and dry ice for most of their set. After a long weekend I found it best to appreciate them laying on my back at the rear of the tent. The waves of distorted guitar and mellow keyboards seem more cosmic with your eyes shut, man.
Wandering across the footbridge across the lake is a very pleasant way to end a great weekend. The promoters will certainly have generated enough positive word-of-mouth praise to merit bringing the whole show back next year.
The Mean Fiddler says the total attendance for the weekend was 12,000 which fell within their target of getting between 10,000 and 15,000. However, they'll probably need some bigger middle-of-the-bill acts to make the numbers really grow in future years.
last updated: 17/11/2008 at 14:30
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