With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Latitude Festival 2018 Day 3 Sunday 15th July July 19, 2018


The third day of this spiffingly good Latitude Festival arrived way too soon. Black Honey opened the curtains on the Obelisk Arena Stage on Sunday lunchtime. This colourful and punky tribe pack a serious punch that could easily knock out some more established bands. With their début album due out some time soon they may well get the opportunity to be crowned champions. All too briefly the Lake Stage was a home from home for Caswell a Suffolk based singer songwriter who is a BRIT School alumni. She has a great band behind her and Caswell herself has a soaring vocal style that appears almost effortless. She croons every bit as well as Adele, although she takes a much more left field approach than West Norwood’s finest diva and another BRIT School alumni. The style is sophisticated and very classy R & B pop. This was apparently the largest crowd Caswell had ever played for and they totally nailed it.

Caswell

There was a fabulous vibe at the Lake Stage on Sunday, starting with Dylan Cartlidge. I reviewed his song “Scratch, Sniff” earlier this year for Northern Radar. (Click here to read it). What I said about that song then was ” If Beck was British this would be him. Weird, wonderful and deserves to be heard. Some vocal parts evoke Jeff Buckley and Hawksley Workman. A truly epic tune.” Now having seen Mr Cartlidge in the flesh it is clear that he is one very talented dude. As well as the aforementioned artists I felt a bit of Shuggie Otis in his style and songs. He has an immaculate talent for freestyling as well, not many other performers can freestyle as well as that, it was magnificent. I also had a brief chat with him later and that just hammered home what a great bloke he is. This was the first time that he had ever been to a festival. Given that he is only 22 I think he will be attending many more festivals as an artist rather than a punter.

Dylan Cartlidge

I stayed at the Lake Stage for the quirky and magical Girlhood. Two great female singers and a Vince Clarke/ Chris Lowe keyboard, beats, computer and synth boffin type dude. They have some absolutely impeccable songs which were perfectly delivered and they seemed to be having so much fun. I felt a faint echo of the Fugees about them. If you set out to dislike Girlhood I think it would be truly impossible. I took a more relaxing item in after my time at the Lake Stage, one of my favourite authors, Matt Haig was in conversation with Lisa Blower mostly about his new book ‘Notes On A Nervous Planet’. this was in the Speakeasy, he is a very warm, engaging and intelligent man. He clearly values integrity and has a wicked sense of humour. That book will be purchased by me very soon. The mighty Rag ‘N’ Bone Man was next up on the Obelisk Arena Stage. I had the opportunity to review his first album about six weeks before it was released last year and I played it to death. his songs and his outstanding voice are to die for. This is a blueprint for all modern soul singers. On top of that Rag ‘N’ Bone Man a.k.a. Rory Graham can rap in a very smart way and his ciphers are sharp. He delved into songs from his 2014 EP ‘Wolves’ along with the expected classic songs in the making from last years début album ‘Human’. Inevitably “Human” was probably the highlight for most of the swaying, adoring crowd and that is an amazing song. But already this guy has an exceptional collection of songs. “Hell Yeah” is explosive and hard-hitting and given the right production Rag ‘N’ Bone Man should be given the opportunity to record a Bond theme. I want to see him headline soon.

Girlhood

I returned to the Speakeasy after that spellbinding set from rag ‘N’ Bone Man. My wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a. Catwoman and I chanced upon Dickie Beau: A Pinch Of Notoriety Will Do. Dickie is a very open, very effeminate homosexual man. He is an Artist Research Fellow at the Queen Mary University of London and the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre. His talk at Latitude focused on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Quentin Crisp’s landmark memoir ‘The Naked Civil Servant’ and explained in parallel with that the history of homosexuality, particularly in the UK. It was enlightening and fascinating even for an old straight bloke like me. Dickie will be coming to the big screen soon playing Kenny Everett in the upcoming Queen biopic. This was followed by a Salon London presentation ‘The Tao Of Jazz’ which featured Juliet Russell on vocals, jazz guitarist John Wheatcroft and philosopher Dr Julian Baggini. essentially it revolved around the performance of a number of jazz standards and how philosophy concepts lend themselves to jazz creation, performance and its iconic artists and performers. Our Latitude 2018 was rounded off by Rob Kemp’s ‘The Elvis Dead’. This show has won many awards since its first outing at the Edinburgh Fringe. What is it about? Well in simple terms it is a retelling of the 1987 horror movie ‘The Evil Dead II’ through the songs of Elvis Presley. It was beyond any doubt one of the cleverest and funniest things that I have ever seen. You have to see this if you get the chance. Sadly I missed one of the last performances of the weekend; Boss Caine one of York’s most talented artists at the Alcove Stage. An overdose of heat and alcohol meant that I fell asleep at my tent and didn’t wake up in time 🙂 But in spite of that it was another superb Latitude Festival and I am looking forward to next years already.

And it’s goodnight from me – Photo by Andy Golborne

 

Latitude Festival 2018 Day 2 Saturday 14th July


So on to the second day of what is shaping up to be a great Latitude Festival. The second day was kicked off for me on the BBC Music Stage by the 60 strong Suffolk choir; Pop Chorus. This was just a small subset from the whole choir group which has circa 300 members. It was a remarkable set from what I understand is an amateur choir group. Conducted by a talented choir mistress their five-part harmonies gave an almost church-like feel inside the tent. Their repertoire included songs from Alt J and the Killers among many others. Next it was a short hop to the Obelisk Arena for the former Howling Bells singer Juanita Stein. Her sound is rooted in 70s west coast US rock and modern-day Americana injected with a strong sassy twist.

Festival Shadows – Photograph by Andy Golborne featuring, from left to right, the shadows of Andy Golborne, Rachel Vernelle and me 🙂

UK rapper Piers James was a big hit with the Lake Stage crowd. He inspired some very highly spirited moshing, which is something you don’t see too often at Latitude. I would say he is clearly a fan of Dizzee Rascal, Kanye and Outkast although he takes those sounds to another place with some beats that would have graced maybe some Warren G tracks back in the day. The BBC Music Stage swung to some sweet, bright, summery, indie pop from Alvvays. There is an exquisitely dark undertone to their songs. Alvvays are a sumptuously sounding band who were clearly enjoying themselves. I really wasn’t particularly impressed by Parquet Courts on the Obelisk Arena Stage. They have some excellent which at times come across like Jonathan Richman backed by the Doors. A gloomy and surly bunch who on this showing are not as big as their hype suggests.

Whenyoung

Irish band Whenyoung stormed the Lake Stage all guns ablaze with a set of banging tunes. I love the attention to their stage image, with the band members wearing coloured jump suits/ overalls which had the band’s logo on them. Festival organisers please give this merry gang a bigger stage next time. There was a volcanic level of rumour and speculation about who the surprise guest would be; names bandied about included Snow Patrol, Ed Sheerhan, U2 and Madonna among many others. However I was bitterly disappointed when it turned out to be that well-known Oasis tribute act Liam Gallagher! I feel that perhaps Liam is very much a Marmite act these days, people either love him or loathe him, for me it is the latter. Having seen Oasis twice, Beady Eye twice and Liam solo at the Leeds Festival last year I believe that he is way past his best and that he is desperate for an Oasis reunion. (Eight out of the thirteen songs he played were Oasis songs).I hope that never happens, but some of the grown men in tears at Liam’s appearance on the BBC Music Stage I am sure will have a very different opinion to mine.

Boy Azooga

Jessie Ware is a true diva, but in the sense of her performance not in her behaviour. Her tight and talented band gave her a perfect bed for her soulful pop vocal style. This was the perfect soundtrack for a sunny late afternoon at the Latitude Festival. Along with my good friends Rachel and Mac we also enjoyed some hilarious people watching. Thank you to the stoned dancing bloke and to the impractical parents who not only did not master how to put up a child’s play tent, they also managed to break it! Cardiff rockers Boy Azooga seemed to be having a party on the Lake Stage. They were enjoying themselves immensely and rightly so. They put in an awesome performance and engaged perfectly with the audience. I understand that we were their biggest crowd yet. If these boys don’t go on to bigger things then I will have to eat my Festie Cowboy hat!

My festie hat with tiny Trump hands attached as a small protest at the Mango Mussolini’s UK visit. Will I have to eat the hat because of Boy Azooga?

I was lucky enough to grab twenty minutes of Mogwai’s BBC Music Stage set. It was full on prog power psyched up to maximum levels. Possibly one of the best bands the UK has ever spawned. Today the Obelisk Arena Main Stage headliners were the Killers and pardon the pun, but the killed it! Brandon Flowers is the consummate front man. He knows just how good both he and the band are and they totally understand what the crowd want. All their best songs were there; “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”, “Human”, “Mr Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done” and many others. Around halfway through their set none other than Liam Gallagher swaggered on to the stage very briefly. He prattled some utter bollocks and walked right off before the Killers played a decent version of the Oasis classic “Acquiesce”. I heard from a very reliable source that Liam was supposed to share vocal duties on the song with Brandon, but he clearly couldn’t be arsed, or at best he couldn’t remember the lyrics! The Killers delivered in spades they are one of the most entertaining bands around. I rounded off the night in the Music and Film Arena for the Trojan Sound System band. They played some wonderful reggae tunes to help celebrate 50 years of the iconic Trojan Record Label.

The Killers at Latitude – photo by Andy Golborne

 

Latitude Festival 2018 Day 1 Friday 13th July July 17, 2018


The first day of the Latitude Festival in 2018 was also the thirty-third anniversary of Live Aid. I believe that in the main music has moved on amazingly since those heady singalong days of parallel shows in London and Philadelphia. Opening the Obelisk Arena Stage and the first day of the festival were the Go! Team. This stunning eight piece indie funk combo are now on their fifth album. The highlights for me were the bombastic “Mayday” and the sublime dance sounds of “Lady Flash”. i reckon this lot were early contenders for funkiest band of the weekend.

The Go! Team

Deap Valley blew the roof off the tent housing the BBC Music Stage. Power pop punk all the way from California. You couldn’t tell from their piledriving performance here but Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy met seven years ago at a crochet class. Despite that they are more full on ballsy and bluesy than the White Stripes and many others that came before them. The Aussie Danish hybrid of Palace Winter kicked off the action on the Sunrise Arena Stage and were recommended to me by my friend Ann, her sister is a massive fan of this lot. They are indeed a good band, very deep, dark and at times Beatles-esque and when they fully wigged out I even heard traces of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”. The band almost didn’t get here on time. Their flight was delayed by Air Force One landing at Stansted Airport bring the Mango Mussolini to Britain.

Deap Valley

Sun Scream hit the Lake Stage with the full power of an out of control ocean-going super tanker. Some awesome indie pop from this bunch of funsters from John Peel’s home town of Bury St. Edmunds. I made my first visit to the Speakeasy for Dr Rosy Carrick’s Passionate Machine. This was essentially a winding, weblike, wonderful story about time travel which featured Rocky Balboa and David Bowie references. I think that I now truly believe in time travel; “oh no love you’re not alone!” I only caught the last song of Marlon Williams’ set sadly. But boy this dude has a voice that could split a planet in two! French band La Femme took control of the Obelisk Arena Stage with their Gallic electro pop. I reckon they were probably the coolest looking band of the day. They count Jean Michel Jarre among their growing army of fans and their second album ‘Mystere’ is released in September.

La Femme

 

I have seen Madrid popsters Hinds before. These girls know how to party hard and they have a collection of songs that will make you want to do the same. The audience at the BBC Stage lapped up possibly the biggest indie band ever to emerge from Spain. Due to my sometimes poor logistical skills I ended up at the Obelisk Stage when I should have been elsewhere. But that mistake gave me the opportunity to witness the love child of Rufus Wainwright, Little Richard and Nat King Cole. His name is Benjamin Clementine and he is utterly bloody amazing. He had the late afternoon audience eating out of his hands, especially during the sing along moments. He has been around for a while and won the Mercury Music Prize back in 2015 for his album ‘At Least For Now’. He has also more recently been a collaborator on the new Gorillaz LP.

Hinds

The next band to grace the BBC Music Stage during my travels across the beautiful landscape of the Latitude Festival site was …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. These Texas rockers were playing their 2002 record ‘Source Tags And Codes’ in full. Their dark, melodic rock remains a very attractive proposition. Surely the band’s name is a top contender for one of the greatest band names ever. One of York’s finest bands, The Howl And The Hum made their first ever Latitude appearance on the Lake Stage. I have seen this band a few times now and they get a little better every time that I see them. They are shaping up to be a truly great British band with influences from Pink Floyd, XTC and Pulp to name just a few. Their new single “Don’t Shoot The Storm” is potentially their best song in their career to date. It sure as hell brought the house down at Latitude. Lower Slaughter a Glasgow and Brighton four piece came along and pulverized the Lake Stage audience into submission with some mountainous punk power and perpetual, relentless energy.

The Howl and the Hum

The Music and Film Arena was home to the marvellous Lump a project of Mike Lindsey and British folk superstar Laura Marling. It was charming, eerie and whimsical rock with a soft prog vibe. A stunning achievement. Rather cheekily though, given Laura’s background in folk, I so wanted to shout “Judas!” I sensibly chose not to though. These days the Charlatans are essentially a heritage band. They did however put on an enthusiastic and danceable show from the part that I saw. My highlight was “North Country Boy” although their new material left me a bit cold. I had a wonderfully different and somewhat new experience watching Tune-Yards on the BBC Music Stage. I have heard great drum ‘n’ bass and I have witnessed talented and intelligent use of looping. This combination produced a lively and heavenly dance set.

I had been looking forward to seeing Solange from the moment the Latitude 2018 headliners were announced and she was not a disappointment. From the preshow playing of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Secret Life Of Plants’ album over the PA I had a feeling it was going to be special. The stage was sparse and white, featuring a huge globe and two pyramid like constructions. The lighting was only ever one colour at a time and no spot lights were used. The choreography and coördination of movement for everyone on stage was perfect and harked back to the golden days of watching 60s Motown groups go through their meticulously syncopated dance routines. Solange herself is an incredibly talented performer; her vocals are pitch perfect and soulful. All the hits were there, the show was book-ended by “Rise” and other highlights were “Crush” and “Losing You”, but I doubt that anything like the hook line from “F.U.B.U.”, “All my niggas in the whole wide world” has ever rang out across Henham Park before! This showcased modern R & B at its finest. For me Solange is every bit as good as her sister!

Public Service Announcement: All pictures are from my phone, apart from the pink sheep shot which I found on line. All videos are sourced from YouTube. If you own the copyright to any of these please let me know and I will be happy to either give you a named credit or take the picture or video down.

 

 

 
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