Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Lovely Latitude 2013

With a bit of luck (and application) this is the first in series of blogs that will attempt to catalogue some of the many wonderful festivals I have enjoyed since first watching Kurt Cobain wheelchaired on to the stage at Reading in 1992. Possibly unrealistically ambitiously I am going to attempt to rate everything I saw at every festival. We’ll see how that works when I get to the ones from 20 years ago, but for now I have concentrated on creating a complicated scoring system all of my very own and will worry about the actual content later (see the Festival Anthology page for an explanation). So, working in reverse chronological order..

Latitude 2013 – it was lovely! A beautiful lakeside setting, a cracking line-up that sort of revealed itself with each day, and a laid-back feel that distinguishes that means this is festival you can relax at. As always, this year’s programme was genuinely diverse, providing seriously good line-ups across theatre, dance, comedy, performance poetry, book readings, and agit-prop alongside the music. And this year it was extra special for being able to share it with a full complement of my old Shacklewell Lane house-mates and partners as well as the wonderful Liz.

Context

  • Headline acts: Bloc Party; Kraftwerk; Foals
  • Weather: Mostly sunny and dry
  • Contemporaneous events: Andy Murray wins Wimbledon; Greenpeace scale the Shard in protest at Arctic oil drilling
  • Author’s festival credentials: Punter

The Scores

See ‘Festival Anthology Explained‘ for an explanation of my scoring system

 

5/5

  • The Leisure Society (5*) – a beautiful opening to the festival, ukele, violin, keyboards, guitar and all, and probably the only time I’m going to see a band that asks the crowd “Is anyone here from Burton on Trent?” I’m not sure there really is a ‘Latitude Moment’ when the whole crowd experiences euphoria at the same time in the way there undoubtedly is every now and again at Glastonbury, but for our little group including four old Burtonians this hit the spot. [12.30 Friday, Obelisk Arena]
  • I Am Kloot – I’m losing count of how many times I’ve seen them this year but they are always special. ‘The Brink’ was the tune on this occasion. [15.50 Friday, Obelisk Arena]
  • From the Sea to the Land Beyond ft. British Sea Power – extraordinary archive footage of Britain’s coastline, accompanied by my favourite live-act of the moment, BSP. [14.05 Saturday, Film Arena]
  • Catfish and the Bottlemen – a cracking, unexpected find (thanks to my friend, Kirsty) and a new band I definitely want to see again and proved worth missing Owen Sheers, my favourite poet. [7pm Saturday, The Alcove]
  • The Tallest Man on Earth – a quirky Scandanavian who seemed oddly concerned that someone on the internet thinks he is a satanist, but provided the perfect tunes as the sun emerged on Sunday afternoon and finished with a cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ that was arguably better than the original. [15.40 Sunday, Obelisk Arena]
  • Mark Lamaar DJ set – we only caught the last song, Egyptian Dancer, but he played it at least four times and it was just what we needed on our way to the woods. [1.30am Saturday, Film Theatre]

 

4/5

  • Guilty Pleasures disco – sometimes it’s just what you need.. [Midnight Friday, Comedy Arena]
  • Mark Thomas – I loved the ‘Trainee Shoplifter in Harrods” segment of his 100 small acts rebellion. [11am Friday, Literary Arena]
  • Mikhael Paskalev – my note says ‘promising’ and I’m going to have to look him up to remember why! [14.10 Friday, I-Arena]
  • Marcus Brigstocke – a last minute replacement for Mark Watson, his random run-through of impressions of national caricatures got him on to the top three list for most of my Latitude 2013 mates. [5pm Friday, Comedy Arena]
  • Matthew E. White – must see more of. [13.45 Saturday, BBC 6 Stage]
  • White Denim – didn’t see enough of them to be honest, but what I did see convinced me that Marc Riley is right to keep banging on about them. [15.30 Saturday, BBC 6 Stage]
  • National Theatre of Wales & Neon Neon: Praxis Makes Perfect – clever, interesting and emotive afternoon musical theatre courtesy of Gruff Rhys and friends! [17.15 Saturday, Theatre Arena]
  • Alt-J – worthy of the hype and the Mercury Prize and worth leaving Kraftwerk for. [10pm Saturday, BBC6 Stage]
  • Eddie Izzard – my note says 4 but my memory tells me 3. I’m not sure it is a joke, but he gave one very memorable: “Boredom kills fear – you can’t be bored and scared at the same time.” [6pm Sunday, Comedy Theatre]
  • Swim Deep – getting tired by this point and all I can remember is that most of the audience seemed teenage and to know all the words, often a good sign. [19.30 Sunday, Lake Stage]
  • The 1975 – would like to see them again for a second opinion and they gained a 4 here on the strength of the last song I heard. [20.45 Sunday, Lake Stage]

 

3/5

  • Bloc Party – I like eclecticism but Bloc Party’s songs seemed to chop and change so much you could never really get a mood going, and the lead singer didn’t seem to want to be at the party until the last few songs. [Headliner Friday, Obelisk Arena]
  • Young Wonder [13.15 Friday, I Arena]
  • Port Isla [12.45 Saturday, Lake Stage]
  • Busy the Twist [2am Saturday, I Arena]
  • Buttoned Down Disco [Midnight Saturday Comedy Arena]
  • Marcus Brigstocke’s Policy Unit – alright but I must remember not to do the Radio 4 thing on Sunday morning – it’s always better to see a band and this year I missed Money. [11am Sunday, Comedy Theatre]
  • Issimo – my note says ‘smiley’, to which I would also like to add ‘jangly’. [2pm Sunday, The Alcove]
  • James Yorkston – country-ish and must buy. [3pm Sunday, I-Arena]
  • Foals – one great song but then they all sounded the same. [Headliners Sunday, Obelisk Arena]
  • Beach House – we left Foals for this, but I remember when Blondie were the alternative headliners on the last day.. [10pm Sunday, BBC 6 Stage]
  • Anushka [1am Sunday, I-Arena]
  • Roy Davis Jr – only cider left at the bar [2am Sunday, I-Arena]

 

2/5

  • Benjamin Francis Leftwich [20.35 Friday Lake Stage]
  • Sean Lock [18.10 Friday, Comedy Arena]
  • Kraftwerk – I realise I must be missing something, but music for robots not humans. We left early to see Alt-J. [Headliners Saturday, Obelisk Arena]

 

1/5

  • Royal Exchange Theatre: Dirty Laundry – too many northern caricatures and not enough character depth. [22.45 Thursday, Theatre Arena]
  • Marcel Lucont – to be fair we were just waiting for Eddie Izzard, had consumed too much cider in the sun and couldn’t really hear him.. [17.15 Sunday, Comedy Theatre]

 

Acts I missed but really wanted to see:

John Grant [15.50 Friday BBC 6 Music Stage]

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