Latitude 2019 – Friday Highlights Part 1

It’s Friday at Latitude 2019 and Henhan Park is getting ready to ride shotgun with George Ezra.

But, before George took to the stage we were dancing to Neneh Cherry, watching the inspiring dance of Rambert, moshing to Cherry Glazzer, laughing out loud to Comedy headliner Michelle Wolf and much more

Kokoko!

Shouting “KOKOKO!” through a megaphone the Congolese collective leave no doubt in anyone’s mind who has the honour of opening the Obelisk Stage at Latitude 2019. The band’s infectious powerful rhythms are as bright as their yellow jumpsuits and get feet instantly moving in this iconic arena.

They hurtle through fresh cuts from their acclaimed debut album, ‘Fongola’ – including  ‘Tongo’s’ and ‘Buka Dansa’- without taking their foot off the accelerator. Playing homemade instruments – a tin strapped to a board, bottles tied to a rack – Kokoko! effortlessly pound out the mechanical carnival beats of their ‘tekno kintueni’ (raw party sound) to conjure up the intensity of a full blown rave. Obelisk Arena, consider yourself opened!

Boy Blue

“The younger generation are often denied a voice in politics, but if they had one, how might it make a difference?”

The byline of Boy Blue’s ‘Project R.E.B.E.L.’ poses a powerful question amongst the daily news cycle of 2019, and the spine of the London-based dance troupe’s interpretive look at modern life in the city they call home.

From the off, there’s a sinister sense of dystopia, with a violent streak slicing through the performance. Bass-heavy, sample-driven hip-hop sends shockwaves across the lake, while a narrator lays outs what sounds like a manifesto for the disillusioned youth.

The half hour pulsates with enormous physicality with the dozen on stage form an imposing presence. When they split off into pairs to form a chain of streetfights, they gain a chance to weave through the space to heighten the violent scenes they portray to remarkable effect. But, it’s when they come together that everything escalates. With their bodies cracking and popping in perfect unison, against an invisible enemy, there’s an air of defiance and a grizzly sense of optimism to Boy Blue.



Anna Calvi

Arriving onstage in her trademark black suit, Anna Calvi radiates power with her every stride. The operatic nuances in her voice marry perfectly with every shred on her guitar.

Older favourites like ‘Suzanne & I’ intertwine with newer tracks with ease and Anna accompanies each with a face-melting guitar solo that even Jack White would be jealous of. There’s minimal between song chat, but with the sheer talent on show here it’s a long forgotten concept.

‘Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy’ is a big-hitter, the ode to questioning gender booms around the site with Anna surveying her kingdom from the crest of the Obelisk Arena, presiding over all that she sees.

Cherry Glazzer

“Have you seen Yesterday? This festival was in the movie and I’ve been excited to see it since then”, Cherry Glazzer’s Clementine Creevy confesses to the crowd in The Alcove and you know, right then, that this is going to be an amazing show.

The dreamy anguished fuzz of opener ‘Ohio’ collides with the unhinged snarl of ‘Had Ten Dollarz’ setting the tone for the LA trio’s show, which ricochets from hard to soft without flinching. Clementine introduces ‘Self Explained’, from their latest album, ‘Stuffed & Ready’, as her “favourite one to play” and you can instantly see why as the track shapeshifts from a cosmic lullaby to a distortion drenched nightmare.

The energy of the band is infectious, drummer Taylor grins from ear-to-ear as he slams out the ferocious beats of ‘Wasted Nun’ and front woman Clementine oozes cool as she shreds the solo on ‘Told You I’d Be With The Guys’. Closing with the screamed blues punk mania of ‘Sip O’ Poison’, Cherry Glazzer are the pick of the bunch today.

Rambert

A Rambert piece on The Waterfront Stage is always cause for celebration. The world-renowned dance company has been bringing sneak peeks of their latest productions to Latitude for many years now, so their latest ‘Rouge’ has a lot to live up to. Naturally it’s an astounding performance on par with some of their greatest.

Created by Marion Motin (known for her work with Christine and the Queens and Dua Lipa), the piece focuses on the individual – what is it about ourselves that makes us who we are?

What starts out as a collective piece slowly unravels to reveal six disparate characters, all with their own agendas and personalities. When we say unravel we mean it in every sense of the word: costumes are symbolically shed, as we learn more about who they are, some ending up in the lake.

With not a lick of dialogue, the characters portray themselves with the pairing of the elements of their character to strands of modern dance. Even when return to being in unison for a rousing finale they retain this stylistic facade, meaning there’s subtle differences to each dancer as your eyes dart between them. All set to a thumping 80s-alike soundtrack, this is another Rambert classic.

Michelle Wolf

The Suffolk countryside may be a far cry from the dizzying heights of the late night comedy scene in America, but Michelle Wolf’s style is not bound by borders as her show is like having a unfiltered chat with your best friend.

The near the knuckle subject matter of sex, abortion and otters (yes, otters), land exactly where Wolf wants them. Michelle Wolf is not one to shy away from controversial topics; she discusses her own abortion and keeps the audience on their toes as to which topic she’ll divert to next.

Wolf’s unpredictability is one of her best assets, it’s hard to tell if the open mouths are that way in shock or gleeful trepidation. Each topic continues to get a little more not safe for work, but the relatability of the set grows with each passing moment as elbows are nudged into friends and significant others as if to agree wholeheartedly with the more colourful concepts.



Neneh Cherry

The theme of Neneh Cherry’s show is female empowerment, and right from the second she steps onto the Obelisk Arena stage there is an inherently strong sense of resilience.

Cherry’s iconic back catalogue of hits like ‘Manchild’ and ‘Woman’ are the perfect energy for an afternoon set. During the intro to ‘Buffalo Stance’ Cherry’s harpist leaps from her seat and plunges into what can only be described as disco rave harp goodness.

Cherry isn’t resting until she has every crowd member up and grooving along with her and we’re only too keen to oblige.

Asif Kapadia: Maradonna

For a moment let’s rewind to Latitude 2018, Asif Kapadia is in the Film & Music Arena talking about his career directing hit documentaries such as Senna and Amy. He gives away a few little details about his then-upcoming project about the Argentine footballing god, Diego Maradona.

Cut to the present day and Asif is back on stage as the credits of the finished documentary, Maradona, have rolled to share all. During the documentary there appears to be a camera shooting for the purpose of the film, despite the fact the it’s being shot in the early 80s. Asif tells us that Diego’s agent fortuitously hired a film crew to follow him in the early years of his career, and after a very Maradona-like firing of his agent, these tapes have laid dormant in Naples until the producers sourced them out.

In the Q&A Asif tells us his favourite shot from the movie – the Napoli football team’s Christmas party played to silence. A Latitude exclusive slips out, with Asif regaling a recent conversation with Martin Scorcese who loved the film having seen it just last weekend.

Then the ultimate question, ‘does Asif like his latest subject?’. ‘Diego or Maradona’, he ponders highlighting the Jeckyll and Hyde-like parallel that runs throughout the entire film.


Latitude 2019 Highlights

Thursday Highlights

Latitude 2019 got off to a spectacular start with the National Theatre Live’s screening of War Horse, a secret set by Frank Turner, phenomenal flamenco from Jesús Carmona, and a jaw-dropping opening procession by The Elders.

Find out more