In our Latitude 2018 – Friday Highlights Part 2 we step up to the ‘Party Line’ for Belle And Sebastian, go hard to IAMDDB in the Sunrise Arena, ‘Sit Down’ to James, are wonderfully wowed by our headliner Solange and much more.
As Tim Burgess and co take to the Main Stage in the Obelisk Arena, their presence is joyous and light-hearted. The eclectic style of The Charlatans may have come into it’s own during the 80s, but fast forward to 2018 and everything from their songs to their baggy haircuts are firmly back in fashion.
Launching into ‘Let The Good Times Never End’, Burgess throws some strong moves as he dances around what is now his own personal dancefloor. The charm of the band can be felt all over, their humble nature and massive tunes has the crowd welcoming them with open arms.
A standing ovation is nothing new in The Speakeasy, a standing ovation ten minutes into the set is certainly unheard of. A whole set of constant eruption, is a revelation. Such is the power of Travis Alabanza‘s voice.
As one of the most exciting emerging queer voices in recent years, Travis uses poetry, comedy, music and whatever they please to tell the story of their life, and those not lucky enough to have the platform they have.
In parts it’s metaphorical, in others it was a constant stream of tales of oppression – but it’s never defeated. It’s a rally call to everyone in the tent; from those on tenterhooks at the front to those strolling past at the back, to take action – to take the stories of marginalised communities and make change in their lives.
For a healthy early evening meal, we follow the Rainbo to gobble up some of the Street Feast vendor’s vibrant Japanese food. Armed with trusty chopsticks, we dive into the veg Gyoza Bentos, perfectly firm on the outside and squidgy on the inside, and it’s a taste sensation with extra kick as they’re striped with hot chilli sauce. To give our taste-buds a treat we dunk the dumplings in the soy roasted sesame seed dipping sauce. The sticky rice and Asian salad with pickled mooli that comes with the dumplings is the perfect accompaniment. A winning meal to keep us going through the night.
Belle and Sebastian
Scottish icons Belle and Sebastian take up much of the main stage with their impressive selection of instruments. Frontman Stuart Murdoch effortlessly switches from keytar to bongos as though they were extensions of his own hands.
Classic songs such as ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’ gel well amongst material from their 2015 album, ‘Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance’. Murdoch soon tires of the stage holding him back and uses the energetic front rows in the Obelisk Arena to help him stride along the barrier, getting up close and personal with his adoring public.
As their set comes to a close, Murdoch raises a glass to voyages of self discovery, encouraging the crowd to take in as much of the festival as possible – sage advice from the world weary Scot.
There’s a roll call happening in the Sunrise Arena. It seems Manchester-born, Manchester-made rapper IAMDDB has brought everyone under 20 together under one canopied roof – and they’re not disappointed. Diana Debrito zooms through the hip-hop spectrum at a pace that shouldn’t surprise any who has listened to her already enigmatic back-catalogue.
When it goes hard it goes hard. Even when slowing it down there’s a bass shudder to rival any stage in the festival. The ravenous crowd, swelling from the sides, take every tune and amp it up even more. No more so than during ‘Shade’. IAMDDB tells the crowd, “you guys are gonna make me break the stage”. And, we don’t doubt it for a second as arms go flying and the front goes bananas.
Props to the rapper for not only losing her sunglasses in the ensuing bounce, but catching them from the stage as someone throws them back at the end of the song. Coolest moment of the day.
The BBC Music Stage is bursting at the seams by the time James take to the stage. Those who were old enough to see them back in the day rub shoulders with younger generations excited to hear the now iconic ‘Sit Down’.
New material takes the first seat at the table though, as the band jump between additional percussion duties. Many eyes in the crowd are closed with enjoyment, as the sweaty tent quickly begins to dance and groove.
It must be a tough call to figure out where in the set to drop the classics, but James are self-assured enough to keep the crowd waiting with baited breath before they unleash their trump cards, including ‘Come Home’, ‘Born Of Frustration’ and ‘Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)’.
The set comes to fitting close with the euphoric singalong of ‘Laid’ and is another perfect BBC Music headline set.
Those drums. From the moment they kick off, you know it’s a Solange show, and what a show it’s going to be. Those who can sing back her 2017 masterpiece, ‘A Seat at the Table’, from beginning to end know how well the lo-fi R&B sounds will pierce the Suffolk sky and provide a fitting end to a hazy summer’s day in the Obelisk Arena.
There’s a whole extra level of performance art and you can see the whole team are having a great time bringing this together. There’s little standing centre stage, instead she takes band members with her as she patrols every inch of the Main Stage. Sparse choreography punctuates the set, with the whole eight-piece band getting involved and providing dynamism that means you have little idea what would come next.
Solange goes down to the front row during ‘F.U.B.U.’ (while a whole additional brass section take her place on stage), and it shows just how much this means to her fans. Tears stroll down faces and lyrics are effortlessly belted back to her as she makes her way down the line. “I don’t just wanna perform, I wanna engage”, she says once she’s back on stage. Consider us fully engaged.
Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
Pappy’s are as Latitude as pink sheep. The trio have been coming to Henham Park constantly in their various guises since our first ever edition, and we know that a late-night Pappy’s party is a guarantee for a good time in The Speakeasy.
For those unaware (get your podcast apps ready), ‘Flatshare Slamdown’ is a podcast in which they have to deal with a flat-based nightmare. This quickly descends into an anarchic gameshow, full of absurd games, singalongs (think ‘Hey Jude’ as Latitude) and an often unsuccessful attempt at crowd surfing.
The boys have recorded many an episode in front of our crowds, but never before have we been such a focus. This episode is all about planning their Latitude schedule, which invariably give them licence to playfully dig at the line-up… and build a whole round about The Killers. Watching guest Jayde Adams and her operatic voice belt out an improv song about their body parts to the tune of ‘Human’ is the perfect reason to get your app out and click subscribe.
Local talent Bessie Turner closes the BBC Music Introducing Stage, as she plays material from her debut ‘22:22 EP’. The crowd quickly descends into a respectful hush as Turner defies genres and takes the crowd from alt-rock through to sparser territory.
Although Bessie is new to much of the crowd, their support is unwavering right from the moment she takes to the stage. Many in the crowd express a pride for Turner’s headline slot, highlighting the strong sense of community that radiates within the festival.
The dramatic surroundings with trees and artwork encapsulate the very heart of Latitude, with the relatively unknown Turner bringing the first day in the Late Night Lavish Lounge to a mellow close.
In our Saturday Highlights Part 1 we ponder Modern Love with Joel Dommett, learn how to make butter with Felicity Cloake, surf the west coast with sugary pop from Alvvays and much more.
Visit our photo gallery and video highlights to relive all of the music and magic from Latitude 2018.