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

Latitude 2022

What a perfect weekend. Despite the late nights, I always come away from Latitude feeling relaxed rather than tired. This was a largely hot one and so we managed to spend most of Sunday just lounging in the wooded shade of the Sunrise stage, watching great new band after great new band. Elsewhere, alongside all the music, there was Disco Yoga, Maseoke, street dance, performance poetry, decent vegan/veggie food, and swimming in the lake. Couldn’t ask for more.

William the Conqueror, 7.15pm, The Trailer Park
“Was that you, openly glum? / The world passing by as you held out your thumb”. But William the Conqueror was anything but glum as he kicked things off at Latitude with a big grin on his face. Great start.

New York Brass Band, 10pm, The Trailer Park
At Glastonbury the New York Brass Band tend to congregate in the Stone Circle on Wednesday night and lead people in a Pied Piper-esque amble around the expectant festival site. I love a brass band, especially this one. We didn’t actually see them at their appointed slot on stage, but we were treated to a rehearsal as they were camping near to us, and watched them attract a following crowd as they set off for the Latitude arena gates.

Larkin Poe, 12 noon, Obelisk Arena
Dirty, bluesy rock from these Nashville sisters, heavy on the guitar solos and perfect for a first act on the main stage.

Touissant Douglas, 1.30pm, Comedy Arena
Lots of laughs from this Black working-class comedian, who cleverly nudged his mostly white Latitude audience by riffing on the daily culture clashes of living with his white, middle-class girlfriend.

Porridge Radio, 3.10pm, BBC Sounds
Reliably punky brilliance from the Brighton based band, whom I have possibly seen more times than any other in the last year.

Mdou Moctar, 3.30pm, Obelisk Arena
A big, blues-rock Tuareg sound that really worked in a festival setting. The stage looked amazing, adorned in the striking cover of their latest ‘Afrique Victime’ album – a favourite soundtrack to my work reading hours in 2022.

Russell Howard, 5.10pm, Comedy Arena
Five out of five stuff, as Howard sashayed between comically ripping apart the Tory government, and describing his cringing embarrassment at overhearing his parents having sex (or pretending to, as it turned out, in a successful attempt to unnerve their son..)

Modest Mouse, 6.10pm, Obelisk Arena
I had no knowledge or expectations, other than recalling Johnny Marr was a band member for a while, and was delighted to discover how good they are, with a big sound and interesting lyrics.

Massaoke / Club de Fromage, 10.30pm, Comedy Arena
We elected to miss the headline acts in favour of 3 hours of band-led karaoke, followed by dancing to indie classics. Right choice.

Casus Creations: Collision, 12 noon, Theatre Arena
OMG. This was incredible. Street dance, acrobatics, top-drawer hula hooping. All kinds of entertainment that, for markontour at least, you only get to see at festivals.

Samantha Crain, 1.40pm, Sunrise Arena
I had been so much looking forward to finally seeing Samantha Crain, the Choctaw singer/songwriter from Oklahoma, having become addicted to her music during lockdowns. She didn’t disappoint. Beautiful and uplifting, Crain is hard to pigeonhole and I see she has won both a Native American Music award for folk album of the year, and an Indigenous Music Award for rock album of the year.

Sea Power, 2pm, Obelisk Arena
Surprise special guests and booked so late that two band-members hadn’t been able to make it down from the Isle of Sky, Sea Power adorned the stage with foliage in their customary manner. The open-arms welcome to strangers of ‘Waving Flags’ was a joy to sing with a big Latitude crowd. As always, Sea Power confirmed the spirits-raising power of music.

Tez Ilyas, 3pm, Comedy Arena
Hiding from the sun in the comedy tent, Tez Ilyas was gently funny, chatting about life through the COVID years. I like the sound of his book ‘The Secret Diary of a British Muslim Aged 13 3/4’.

Little Simz, 7.40pm, Obelisk Arena
Every bit as good as I was hoping and then some. Hip-hop with penetrating lyrics and can’t-stop-moving beats, all delivered with a beaming smile of a singer who is loving having finally receiving the adulation she deserves.

Groove Armada, 9.40pm, BBC Sounds
Cracking set, with lots of dancehall dub (including ‘Superstylin’, of course), that got the whole crowd dancing throughout. Really loved it.

Tina Boonstra, 11.45am, Sunrise Arena
Apparently inspired by fellow Londoners, Wolf Alice, Boonstra delivered a soothing, melodic, sometimes poppy set that was perfect for the start of the final day. I wrote “buy album” next to her name in the programme afterwards.

Been Stellar, 1.45pm, Sunrise Arena
Rising New York guitar band, who have supported emerging UK indie lads, The Goa Express, on their summer tour. Impressive and will look to see them again when I’m in the States.

Hudson Taylor, 2.45pm, Sunrise Arena
Irish duo with strong melodies, straight-forward messages, and a good line in funny, arty videos. I gave them 4/5 in my instant scoring.

Matt Maltese, 3.45pm, Sunrise Arena
The festival blurb promised “dry one-liners and a keen eye for self-deprecation”, which is more obvious watching Maltese’s You Tube channel post-festival than it was just soaking up his mellow sound, lying down on the Sunrise hillock.

Lime Cordiale, 7.30pm, Sunrise Arena (and midnight The Trailer Park)
So good we saw them twice. Sunny, buoyant, lively – the perfect festival band, with instantly catchy tunes, great stage presence (including impressively gauche suits), and an easy rapport with the crowd. Already big at home in Australia, they made a lot of new fans in the UK at Latitude.

Manic Street Preachers, 8.10pm, Obelisk Arena
Reliably wonderful, the Manics are ageing well and James Dean Bradfield’s voice remains powerful enough to fill a stadium on its own. I enjoyed their cover of The Cult’s ‘She Sells Sanctuary’. Nicky Wire seemed a bit subdued until he smashed his gutar to pieces at the end and gave it to a lucky front-row fan.

Fontaines D.C., 10pm, BBC Sounds
Wow, this was intense. I’ve seen Fontaines a few times now, so knew what to expect, but this was still full-on. There’s a humour that comes out in their videos that is absent on stage, but that’s hardly a criticism – everything about Fontaines screams musical genius and I wouldn’t want to change a note.

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