Saturday morning was time to dig out your polo shirt and chuck on a bucket hat, as Shed Seven were ready to take us right back to the ‘90s. “Does anyone remember the 1990s?”, frontman Rick Witter asks before launching into a nostalgic rendition of ‘Bully Boy’, “because I don’t.”
Introducing each track not by its title, but by the year it was released, the riotous set turns into something of a quickfire tour of the decade. With 2017’s ‘Room In My House’ kicking off proceedings, and turning out to be the only post-2000 track that gets an outing, Witter is on stellar-form as sardonic ringleader.
Playing hits like ‘Dolphin’ and ‘Disco Down’, the band rattled through their back-catalogue fishing out ‘High Hopes’, a track their record label never allowed them to release, and blasting through a cover of cult Mark James track ‘Suspicious Minds’.
With explosive choruses, chugging guitars and a well-received dose of Britpop nostalgia, Shed Seven blew off the cobwebs and set Saturday off to a flying start.
The first thing everyone notices from Curtis Harding‘s set is that he has impossibly clean vocals. Capable of commanding the BBC Sounds Tent at a flick of the wrist, he has swagger and psychedelic vibes in bucket loads, giving us playful offerings that are a jubilant celebration of Black American music.
His sound fits easily with the summer sun, and whilst the music is decidedly soul, it flows calmly between sultry energy and more hook-focused songs, not quite settling on one particular sound. There was something for everyone, and Harding was unyieldingly professional without being uptight – smiles for longtime fans were common.
With such an eclectic group of musical intricacies influencing his performance, Harding managed to weave everything together so neatly that you didn’t even notice how smooth he was being. Journeying from soul to gospel to Americana has never been easier.
Charging like a hurricane through a sunny Henham Park, London’s Los Bitchos ensured there was no early afternoon lull as they brought their party-ready blend of psych-rock to the Obelisk Arena.
Probably more accustomed to late night larks (in venues with a whole lot more tequila), the four-piece arrived upbeat and unphased. Jumping between twangy Western stylings, distorted surf-rock and Middle Eastern psychedelics, the band took audiences on a sunny sprint through their instrumental catalogue.
With riotous percussion, sputtering drums and the occasional scintillating synth that amped up the energy, the band fired through fan favourites ‘The Link Is About to Die’, ‘Las Panteras’ and ‘Good To Go!’. The clamouring clap-alongs and beach balls batted around during ‘Lindsay Goes to Mykonos’ transported us straight to the sunny Greek island, while the percussive fluttering on ‘FFS’ evoked the image of a bright and bustling Turkish bazaar.
Rounding things off with a rowdy rendition of The Champs’ ‘Tequila’, Los Bitchos ensured the party had well and truly begun.
With a mix of raunchy humour and true stories, Judi Love delivers more in a short twenty minute set than we could hope for. We’re taken to Chiswick, Gucci, a new acquaintance’s mansion where she’s “the only black in the village”, and even her bedroom as Judi gives us relatable humour about relationships, love and sex.
Judi’s exploration of her love life in her forties compared to her twenties has everyone in stitches, as she details the change in attitudes and the drastic lowering of standards. The crowds favourite story is how spontaneous sex in your forties goes from racy to more domesticated, discussing work life and the need for painting on the skirting board instead of sweet nothings.
Whilst Judi shows us her taste for the high life – including a newfound love of oysters, and personally chauffeured shoes (that she returned) – she remains down to earth. We’re down there with her, all her “babes”, as she encourages us all to “big up” ourselves for whatever we may be traditionally concerned about, including weight, singleness and financial status. At the end of her set, we all left feeling cheerier and that little bit more in love with ourselves.
After cultivating a fanbase online by sharing viral videos and small glimpses of new music on TikTok, Latitude is only the seventh gig lozeak has played to date. But, from the screaming that can be heard even on approach to the tent and from the pocket of devoted fans up front singing along to every word, it’s clear the Norwich-based newcomer has already made a dent.
Her sleek blend of sticky-sweet pop has a jagged underbelly — with delicate vocals descending into barbed choruses that simmer with fuzzy driving guitars and clangorous drums. Playing a blend of recently released songs, unheard material and a heart-wrenching cover of Paloma Faith’s ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’, lozeak’s set sees enormous pop choruses descend into spiky riffs, warped synth-heavy beats and explosive drum interludes that ramp up the anxiety.
From the self-awareness of ‘Red Flag’ to the slightly edgier ‘Alter Ego’ and earworm ‘Hate Me Too’, lozeak has assuredly found a niche with her rugged and relatable brand of Gen-Z internet pop.
It’s early evening and as the sun is still blazing, we go back in time in the shade of the BBC Sounds tent. Cavetown has an infectious 2000s sound, and along with this unique energy comes a legion of fans that have swarmed the tent. They’re ready to soak up the electric atmosphere.
Cavetown shyly proclaims the crowd may not know the next song they play, an older track, and yet of course when he gives them the space to sing the lyrics, they know every word. This vivacity makes the concert come alive, and Cavetown stands out as a fierce competition to all the indie pop artists out there.
His band are just as enthusiastic, and there’s an easy camaraderie between them that sees Cavetown even ruffling his guitarist’s hair on stage. It’s this affectionate ease that makes this a show to melt away in. Just as many of the audience are calmly grooving as there are fans screaming at the front. Cavetown’s aesthetic – laid back bedroom-pop – has a charming appeal, and the crowd don’t need any theatrics because they’re just happy to be there on a Latitude Saturday evening.
Marisa Carnesky: SHOWWOMEN
“I am not the greatest showman, for I am not a man,” declares Olivier award-winning performance-maker Marisa Carnesky as a flurry of lights mark the start of her dazzling new work SHOWWOMEN.
The premise is simple: the show is a feminist retelling of the real lives of four extraordinary performing women. But the details are where things get more complex. From Koringa, a snake-charmer and crocodile hypnotist to Lulu Adams, the first ever female clown. And from Florence Shufflebottom, a Wild West sharp-shooter, to Miss La La, a teeth-hanging aerialist — SHOWWOMEN takes a deeper dive into the lesser-discussed past of the entertainment industry.
Posing questions about orientalism, colonialism, queer history, working-class community and the occult, Carnesky intersperses death-defying stunts with archive footage, witchy rituals, live-action oral histories and tell-all interviews. A courageous display of the power wielded by women coming together as a collective, Carnesky tells the story of these four marginalised women through the lens of three modern-day performers: Fancy Chance, Livia Kojo Alour and Lucifire. With dazzling displays of hair-hanging, walking on swords, fire performance and more, SHOWWOMEN is both a testament to these women’s resilience and a mirror held up to their oppression.
As things wrap up and audiences wander off to find another bit of entertainment to enjoy, the air is alight with the feeling that a new and necessary dialogue has just begun. And at a festival where variety and showpersonship is at the fore — there could be no better place for it to start.
Mahalia is a Latitude veteran through and through. “I just turned 24, so this marks 10 years since my first performance at Latitude,” she reveals, “and I feel this festival has a piece of magic not many other festivals have”. For those of you who can’t do maths, that means she first performed here at just 14 years old. She’s come a long way since then, if the hordes of fans clamouring to the front and singing every word to opener ‘Sober’ is anything to go by.
And it’s easy to see why they find Mahalia so appealing. Watching her set feels like you’re having an intimate chat with your best mate. She interacts and laughs along with her fans in the front rows as if she knows them all personally. Her lyrics are relatable tales about fake friends – as heard on ‘In The Club’ which riffs on the 50 Cent classic – and controlling ex-partners. The latter is explored on fan favourite ‘Whatever Simon Says’, which Mahalia preludes with an empowering message to never let anyone manipulate you, whilst the buttery smooth R&B of ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Simmer’ have the whole tent vibing.
Little Simz is a natural born performer. It’s clear she adores being on the stage, despite being a self proclaimed introvert, and she puts this down to the energy exchange we’re giving her back. And it’s true. Those who wander in unaware of her performance get sucked into the waving crowd and infectious beats as she storytells in the most modern of ways.
A “London born estate girl”, Simz raps the struggles she had as she made her way to the top. She’s at the top of her game on this set, however, bouncing around the stage like she owns it. It’s clear the crowd would give her another hour set if they could. The applause is thunderous and the echoes of cheers around the Obelisk make her grin from ear to ear.
It’s a wonder to watch somebody so in love with performing as Simz is, and we’re all celebrating something more than just her when she puts on track ‘Protect My Energy’. There couldn’t be a better advertisement for creating boundaries and reaching high.
Broadside Hacks are a group that are hard to define. Are they a band? Not really. A collective? Kind of. A constantly changing group of like-minded individuals gathering together to commemorate the history of folk music? Sounds about right.
Bringing a well-needed moment of calm to an action-packed Saturday night, the gaggle of bodies on The Alcove stage arrange themselves in a careful semi-circle. Each armed with an instrument — there’s guitars, a clarinet, drums, various string instruments and a small line of vocalists including Naima Bock, who wrapped her own set up on the same stage just an hour prior.
Breezing from tranquil moments to more jovial jaunts, the set feels at times like barging in on something intimate: like eavesdropping on a private conversation, or watching a group of friends joking around when they think nobody is watching. Merging careful clarinet flourishes with gauzy guitars, immense vocal harmonies and soaring strings, Broadside Hacks perch under the tent’s cosy amber lights oblivious to the captivated crowd at their feet.
With their ability to evade any sort of explanation, a fluctuating lineup, only one song on streaming services and a watertight bond between them as musicians, for Broadside Hacks, elusiveness is all part of the allure.
Much of Frankie Boyle‘s set is, unsurprisingly, too rude for us to print here. But the Comedy Arena is absolutely packed to the rafters for one of Britain’s most controversial yet best loved comedians.
Crass as ever, the set features jokes about sex with Superman, innuendos about oysters, and an abundance of four letter words. No one is safe, regardless of where they are on the political spectrum. Boyle airs his opinions on Boris Johnson (“he’s hunched over from years of hiding in married women’s wardrobes”), Joe Biden (“like a laptop that’s stuck on 4%”), and Kier Starmer (“looks like the picture that comes in the frame when you buy it”).
He tells us that he was invited to be part of the Queen’s Jubilee parade: “I’ve never been so overwhelmed with the feeling that my work has been misunderstood”, he quips. There are, after all, multiple shots fired at the English, but the Glaswegian insists he’s no nationalist – “I just like seeing England get beaten at things like football, rugby and war”.
Everything is delivered with Boyle’s trademark wryness and acerbity, and as the crowd disperses, grins seemingly permanently etched on their faces, there’s a sense we’ve just witnessed real comedy greatness.
It’s the biggest crowd the BBC Sounds stage has seen all weekend. Ravers of all shapes, sizes, ages, and creeds have crammed themselves into the tent to watch the final live performance of dance legends Groove Armada. Inflatable beach balls and glow sticks go flying as the group charge into ‘The Girls Say’.
Groove Armada are a duo consisting of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay – both on stage tonight – but this is a full band set, with alternating vocalists, and a stunning accompanying light show. The crowd reach for the lasers and emit roars of euphoria with every drop. And there’s a lot of drops. This is one non stop party.
While the likes of ‘Fogma’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’ don’t fail to satiate the audience, the group are saving their most lethal weapons ’til the end. ‘I See You Baby’, ‘At The River’, and of course, ‘Superstylin’ are met with thunderous cheers. It’s a bittersweet moment as the group leave the stage for the final time: one of dance music’s biggest icons have taken their last curtain call.
Technicolour displays, confetti cannons and intense electric guitar solos are how the audience are greeted to this Saturday night headliner at Latitude. In the Obelisk Arena, the dusk contrasts with the neon pink and blue lights pulsating to the beat of popular Foals hits such as album cut ‘2001’ and title track ‘Life is Yours’. But it’s ‘2am’ that gets the crowd really moving, all bounce and an insane amount of guitar licks.
It seems that even songs that start off slower can’t stop the crowd from raving. Not that Foals play a lot of slow songs – their “Savage Rock” section, as they call it, lights up the night. They’re working overtime to show the crowd the arena ready songs they’ve produced belong at this immense festival setting, and we believe them. Frontman Yannis Philippakis barely has time to address the crowd – or breathe – so hungry were we for more, and the songs come heavy and fast.
Whilst they’re known for more nihilistic tracks, the new album they’re showcasing at Latitude is impossibly dance-y whilst still maintaining some of the stocky grunge sound the Oxford trio are known for. The backdrop matches this new twist in their presentation, with vivid pink flowers and imposing light bars encouraging the revellers cramming the Obelisk to “have a mad one”, as frontman Yannis Philippakis suggests. As dusk settles into night at Latitude, the madness never once drops in energy.
Check back tomorrow for all the action from Sunday, including headliner Snow Patrol.