I don’t think that there was a better way to open the Obelisk Arean Stage on Saturday than with York’s finest musical sons, Shed Seven. The band, formed in 1990 and named after a railway shed was the perfect choice for an early afternoon Latitude appearance. They are battle-hardened Brit Pop survivors who know their stuff and are still recording with a new album due out soon. The set was a definite 10/10, which is not bad for a band described on Twitter (by one David Callow) as a “shitty little band”. Segueing “Going For Gold” into “Suspicious Minds” worked very well. Note for Mr. Witter, the Elvis tune was released in 1969. The Sheds saved the sublime and magnificent, York City adopted terrace anthem, “Chasing Rainbows” until the end, closing a brilliant show! Rick Witter also gave his maracas as gifts to a couple of people, including a little kid that he had conversed with during the set. Next, it was back to the BBC Sounds Stage for relatively local lass Bessie Turner. She does soulful, folky pop and does it really well. It was a fresh, fun performance for a sunny afternoon. Apparently, her old teacher was in the crowd, I would have been proud had she been one of my pupils!
Now it was time for a quick dash to the Alcove stage for Scottish singer Hamish Hawk. The band is also called Hamish Hawk. This was an electrifying performance, a bit like early Ultravox but using more “organic” instruments, lots more emotion, and oodles of fun. There were some great songs, including one about ecclesiastical architecture. The closing track, “Caterpillar” gave the band the opportunity to completely wig out and they did it with aplomb and attitude. Hamish is an animated and passionate performer. His dancing style is totally original and feels like a Thunderbirds puppet after too many energy drinks. This is a great band, check them out now if you haven’t already. next it was back to the BBC Sounds Stage for Curtis Harding an extraordinarily talented soul singer which seems to display every emotion from ecstasy to deep pain. The band is superb and the set has the feel of a full-on Blues Brothers-style soul revue. Curtis is a great performer who works the crowd into a frenzy. He has a rich, soulful voice that comes across as a 21st Century Curtis Mayfield or Sly Stone. He and his band know how to party too!
The Obelisk Arena was my next destination for the wonderfully named Los Bitchos. They supply Latin-tinged indie instrumentals, many of which could add something as a soundtrack to TV shows like ‘Breaking Bad’. Their sound reminded me at times of Colour Me Wednesday with added South American percussion and obviously no Jennifer Doveton on vocals. Los Bitchos are a very good band, but I felt vocals would have helped carry the tunes better. That said, a particular highlight for me was “Lindsay Goes To Mykonos” which is apparently about Lindsay Lohan. Katy J Pearson was next on the BBC Sounds Stage. I last saw her just over a year ago at the Crescent in York. Her music is rather special and she has a style that is quite difficult to compare with other artists. Although there were times when she sounded a little like Linda Ronstadt. If you like US West Coast country rock from the early 70s, or Americana and alt. country you will almost certainly love Katy J Pearson. The band has a great brass section and Katy’s voice was immaculate. “Beautiful Soul” was a highlight for me. I returned to the Obelisk Arena for Foals, a band I saw quite a few years ago when they sounded like a good Kasabian crossed with Kings Of Leon. Since then they have become perhaps one of the best bands in the UK, particularly in a live setting. The more dance-oriented material is perfect for bringing a festival to life and Foals most certainly applied a fully cranked musical defibrillator to Latitude. Foals didn’t just bring the crowd alive they took us to musical Valhalla. The light show and screen display were clever, powerful, and sublime. I especially loved the kaleidoscopic, Rorschachy style moving and evolving ink blots. The confetti explosion added an eeriness to proceedings as the confetti just hung in the air, maybe because of the heat of the day or the heat of the crowd. This was a stonking set from a magnificent band.
All the photos, apart from the poster, were taken using my cheap Chinese android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube. If one of them is yours and you would like me to credit you or take it down please let me know.
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