Latitude 2019 – Sunday Highlights Part 2

In our final Latitude 2019 Highlights the festival is brought to unforgettable close with a cinematic headline set by pop icon, Lana Del Rey.

Before Lana, we throw a sucker punch with Sigrid, watch the first live recording of podcast Talk Art, catch Pale Waves‘ secret set, embrace the drama for Long Live Queen James and much more.

Sigrid

Norwegian popstar Sigrid is all smiles as she bursts onto the Obelisk Arena stage, her face lit up and ready to get this party started! Each track comes from her celebrated debut album, ‘Sucker Punch’, and sees the receptive crowd fall a little further in love with pop’s biggest rising star.

Sigrid bounds about the stage, her enthusiasm met and matched by both her band and the crowd. Bright visuals accompany the performance, providing a colourful backdrop for Sigrid and her band to do their thing.

Each line is delivered with a uniquely humble charisma that connects Sigrid to everyone in the crowd, as though they’ve all been friends for a lifetime. ‘Basic’ and ‘Strangers’ are such huge bangers that some in the crowd unleash bunches of bright confetti in appreciation.

As the defiant strings of ‘I Don’t Feel Like Crying’ close the set, like Sigrid, we all now can’t stop smiling.

Talk Art with special guest Deborah Francis-White

Actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament bonded over a love of appreciating and collecting art, so much so they began the wildly successful podcast Talk Art. This evening the pair are recording their first live recorded episode right here in The SpeakEasy to give us another only at Latitude experience.

Diament mentions that the last time he was here it was at the inaugural edition in 2006 playing with his old band Temposhark – how times have changed. In today’s live podcast the focus is on their esteemed guest, Deborah Francis-White. Deborah herself reveals that by her own count it’s her seventh slot of the festival this weekend, which has seen her so far perform stand up in the Cabaret Theatre and host The Guilty Feminist Live in The SpeakEasy.

Deborah Francis-White revels in the opportunity to talk about art as an adoring fan. It is as much an introspective on her life as she discusses her upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness and the restrictive art created by the religion. It was her mother’s successful hobby as a painter that first introduced her to art as she mentions how, only years later after buying it online, that she finally owned a piece by her.

The trio bounce artist names back-and-forth, sharing personal tales about their love of Frida Kahlo. Diament, clearly knee deep in research, reveals that Francis-White has even changed the colour of her walls to better match the art hanging on them.

Look out for the incredible full recording of the podcast for even more unique insights, including the piece of art Francis-White would most love to steal).

Chvrches

On an empty stage a robotoic voice ominously repeats, “love is dead”, the name of Chvrches’ latest album, out into the crowds gathered expectantly in the Obelisk Arena. But, as the whirring synths and soaring chorus of ‘Get Out’ kicks in, it’s clear Chvrches are here for a glorious celebration not a wake.

Chvrches last played Latitude in 2016 and since then the band have rocketed into the colourful stratospheres of a full blown pop sound. Album opener ‘Graffiti’ soars up into the Henham Park skies with a earworm chorus worthy of Taylor Swift and the beafy beats of ‘Miracle’ are an undeniable rallying call.

Older cuts, are emboldened with a fuller sound that gives them a new lease of life to make them even bigger bops. The original vulnerability of ‘Recover’ is transformed into an uncompromising pop beast and ‘The Mother We Share’ has the crowd singing along to every word.

Lauren Mayberry commands the stage with a mesmerising presence, she stalks the stage with conviction, headbangs to the stomp of ‘Bury It’, and punches the air to the beats of ‘Clearest Blue’. Ultimately though there’s warmth at the heart of this performance, especially as ‘Love Is Dead’ is an album about the loss of empathy. After jumping off the drum riser during ‘We Sink’, she jokes to the crowd, “as we say I’m height of s**e and that step was a big jump” and that we can “unflinch as I got the high notes” after the belter of a ballad, ‘Graves’.

Before closing the set, Lauren shares with the crowd how the band first started at Latitude in a small stage in the woods. As the defiant chords of ‘Never Say Die’ play out, we already can’t wait to see them in Henham Park again.

Georgia

Multi-instrumentalist Georgia is truly a sight to behold. Her unique stage set up sees her flanked by sample pads, cymbals and instruments galore as Georgia proves you don’t need a band to deliver outstanding tracks.

Faces gaze in amazement in the Sunrise Arena as Georgia, dressed all in black, is lit up by strong white lights that make her powerful stance even more mighty. The confidence that Georgia exudes from her every cymbal smash is inspiring to say the least, especially on her biggest track and summer anthem in the making, ‘About Work On The Dancefloor’.

Whether her presence and ideologies are inherently feminist are not touched upon by Georgia during her performance, but there can be no ignoring the implied sentiment that everyone is capable and everyone is more than enough just as they are.

Long Live Queen James

The King is dead. Long live the Queen! It’s a phrase that’s been uttered throughout history, though not likely in the same context as the Historic Royal Palace’s Long Live Queen James.

The play is a co-production with Scottee, performance artist and friend of the festival, and the playwright Mark Ravenhill. Starring a selection of London’s celebrated drag queens and cabaret stars, it explores the Stuart-eras relationship with gender and sexuality. The focus of the play is on King James I and the open secret of his homosexuality, especially the relationships with his male favourites and their grasps for power.

There is a real sense of fun and outrageous cabaret throughout the play that makes it burst with life. The three lovers battling for the king’s hand have a playful cattiness in everything they do, breaking out into lip syncs of camp classics in between the narration of their every move.

The script is a wonderful blend of Polari, a lost theatrical dialect that has its roots in the homosexual subculture of eras gone by, and modern slang. It has a rapid-fire pace that has the play speeding at a mile a minute. Throw in some hearty laughs and we have a wondrous close to a weekend of dazzling cabaret at Latitude 2019.

Pale Waves Secret Set

Fresh from performing on the Obelisk Arena stage just hours ago, Pale Waves leap onto the BBC Introducing Stage for a special secret performance that those in attendance are over the moon to be witnessing.

Often secret sets are stripped back or acoustic affairs, but Pale Waves turn the dial all the way up to 11, smashing through tracks from their debut record ‘My Mind Makes Noises’.

Flanked by band members Ciara, Hugo and Charlie, front person Heather Baron-Gracie recalls the camp power once exuded by Bowie at the height of his Ziggy Stardust period. Her charisma can be felt all the way to the back row as she thrashes at her guitar with a way too cool for school prowess.

Tonight’s performance will no doubt go down in Latitude history as one of the best secret sets to ever grace the Suffolk countryside.

Slaves

You’re tired. Four days of non-stop fun will do that to you. You’ve walked so far your step tracker has lost count, so your feet are a little weary. What do you do then to get that final boost on your Sunday night? Well how about… The Vengaboys?

We’re a little surprised to be hearing about the Vengabus when we’re expecting our Sunday BBC Sounds Stage headliners Slaves. However, it does make for a thumping intro as the twosome make their way on stage to the hollers of a crowd waiting for one last party at Latitude 2019.

The boys don’t disappoint. If you’ve heard even a second of a Slaves song, you know theirs is a sound to not just fill a tent, but shake anything and everything around it. The stage is a mere suggestion for where they should be as by the second song Laurie has already heading out into the crowd and Isaac chucks in a surprise mini-cover of ‘Just the Two of Us’ to end it.

This is a band who want to give everything for their fans and to be in the moment with them. Laurie and Issac break off from their instruments to speak to the crowd, often on a one-to-one basis, sharing hugs and laughs. When someone is taken ill in the crowd, the band don’t just stop playing, they assist in helping the security and medical staff get to them quickly. They even help handing out water to the front rows as they wait and remind everyone to respect each other while you party.

With some new material sprinkled in amongst modern classics like, ‘Cheer Up London’ and ‘The Hunter’, it shows the band have somehow found the formula to ramp up that trademark Slaves sound. We can’t wait to see what else they have in store.

Lana Del Rey

Our final headliner of Latitude 2019, Lana Del Rey, strides out onto the stage, bathed in luminous white light, to invite us into her intoxicating world of vintage glamour, doomed love and Hollywood hedonism. As the haunting loops of West Coast’s, ‘ooh baby, ooh baby, I’m in love’, play out from the palm tree adorned stage into the Obelisk Arena, it’s clear we’re not in Henham Park anymore.

The dramatic strings of ‘Born To Die’ herald in a hit heavy set as screams of ‘LANA!’ erupt from the front row of fans clasping albums of the same name. Lana is all about the fans tonight as she treats us to stone cold classics, like ‘Ride, ‘Video Games’ and ‘Summertime Sadness’ from her resplendent five album career.

Each song is accompanied by visuals and choreography that take you fully into its narrative. The bittersweet vintage vibes of ‘Cherry’ are amplified as Lana is joined by two backing dancers to become a 60s style girl group complete with understated dance moves. The cover of Sublime’s ‘Doing Time’ takes us to Cali beach as a burnt orange sunset fills the backscreen and Lana is bathed in red light. Whilst, the wild abandonment of ‘Ride’ is heighten as the two backing singers fly out towards the crowd on swings, suspended either side of the stage.

Lana’s expansive vocal range is mesmerising, she effortlessly hits the spiraling high notes of ‘White Mustang’ and comfortably sings the lower range poetic reflections of ‘Black Beauty’. For ‘Mariner’s Apartment Complex’, taken from her upcoming album ‘Norman F**king Rockwell’, Lana sings her “favourite little ballad” with a pared down backing to show her raw, magentising talent. 

Although this is a headline set on the biggest stage at Latitude there’s a real intimacy to it. The fans are at the centre of Lana’s heart, during ‘Blue Jeans’ she walks down to the front row to sign records, take selfies and talk to the die-hard fans who have waited for her all day. Lana played Latitude in 2012 and, after ‘Summertime Sadness’, she says: “I can’t tell you how special it is for me to be here. I really feel this is where it started for me 7 or 8 years ago”. It makes it a truly special moment.

Sitting at the top of the stage steps, Lana brings the set to a close with the warming summer tones of ‘Venice Bitch’. Tonight Lana Del Rey was every bit as magical and iconic as we’d dreamed. As the track draws to a dreamlike close, Lana says one last ‘goodbye’ to the front row and we wish a fond farewell to Latitude 2019.



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