After a relatively disappointing Day 0 at the Latitude Festival, I was looking forward to a more exciting day on Friday, officially Day 1. First up it was Larkin Poe on the Obelisk Arena stage, made up of sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell. One for fact fans out there is that the sisters are distant relatives of horror maestro and supremely talented author Edgar Allan Poe. They produce some fabulous southern blues rock, which fits given that they are from Atlanta and now reside in Nashville. Rebecca and Megan sure know how to rock and how to wow an audience. I would put them in the same lineage and rock Geneology as Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and maybe Lynrd Skynrd. Check them out, the most recent album, their fifth, ‘Self Made Man’ is rather good. Next, it was off to the Sunrise Arena for American singer-songwriter Penelope Scott. She is not a run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter though, she has deep lyrics and frankly some bloody hilarious lyrics. The dark-humoured and deep “American Healthcare” is a stunningly well-put-together song. The line “I did not become a doctor just to suck the devil’s dick” stayed in my head for ages. Penelope is an obscenely talented troubadour in the vein of Jonathan Richman combined with the wit and wisdom of Peaches. I haven’t seen an artist having so much fun on stage for ages. I am most definitely a Penelope Scott fan now!
The Alcove Stage was the setting for the next act that I encountered. The wonderfully named Sniffany and the Nits. This lot is a punk band from London who are very loud and sometimes hilarious. A bit like Siouxsie and the Banshees with the earnestness and seriousness stripped away. Ultimately though, and maybe it was just some muddy sound mixing, it was difficult to tell one song from another. Ripon’s magnificently talented Billie Marten was flying the flag for Yorkshire on the Obelisk Arena stage next. I last encountered Billie at a small gig in York some five years ago. Since then she has matured into a wonderfully voiced and eloquent songwriter. Her stage presence and audience rapport are spot on. Her album ‘Flora Fauna’ from last year is well worth a listen. I stayed at the Obelisk Arena for Mdou Moctar who blend Tuareg and Saharan sounds, especially the beats, with western rock. Moctar totally rocked the Arena Stage. This was a great performance from a truly great band. Almost 47 years ago the first band I ever saw at a festival was also an African fusion group. It was Osibisa at the Reading Festival in 1975. The Obelisk Arena had a great Friday line up so I remained for Rina Sawayama. She produces rich, dark, pop grooves which sometimes have a real hard rock edge. Rina getting the crowd at the most middle-class festival in the UK (and possibly the world) to chat “Shut the fuck up” was quite special. Some of the more synth-driven tunes are sublime slices of 21st Century R & B and pop hybrids. This woman oozes musical talent.
Next, it was a quick dash to the BBC Sounds Stage for Maximo Park. This band has been around forever. Well technically maybe seventeen years which was when their debut album ‘A Certain Trigger’ was released. Amazingly they just seem to get better and better each time that I see them. The band is incredibly tight and Paul Smith’s social conscience is something to be proud of. But that doesn’t make them over-earnest and po-faced, Maximo Park knows how to entertain a crowd as well. I was keen to encounter Modest Mouse once again after a gap of quite a few years, so I ran over to the Obelisk Arena. In fact, I probably got into Modest Mouse quite late. After reading Johnny Marr’s autobiography I rediscovered them. They are a phenomenal band, especially live. Every song is a classic and frontman Isaac Brock is a man for these times with a world-weary philosophical view of life.
A quick dash back to the BBC Sounds Stage to catch Self Esteem was next on the agenda. In 47 years of festival going this magnificent set by Self Esteem was undoubtedly one of the finest festival sets that I have ever experienced and I have seen some classics, notably Jeff Buckley, Nirvana, and Radiohead to name just a few. This was a truly spectacular and incredible performance from Self Esteem, a.k.a Rebecca, and her heavenly backing singers, booming bass player, and extraordinarily talented drummer. The latter being the token male in the band. Rebecca has a vocal range that many singers would be prepared to die for. It reminded me at times of Dame David at his operatic best. She has the power and presence of Lady Gaga and Madonna and works the audience into a perfect frenzy. I love that Rebecca brought on a fabulous group of LGBTQ people t the end of the set to dance on stage with her and the band. One Self Esteem lyric tells us that we “need to be more brave“, but it is clear that Rebecca is already super brave in attitude and performance. Self Esteem made Latitude 2022 a truly great festival and spectacle. Where did she get all those Boots Advantage cards? It was back to the Obelisk Arena after that for Maggie Rogers. After that mind-blowing set from Self Esteem, anything that followed was likely to be anti-climatic and less exciting for me. But Maggie Rogers was a gorgeous elixir to help ease that come down. She has a great R & B style voice and her band was magical. The audience lapped up every moment. Based on this I believe that her upcoming album will be something very special. It had been a long and emotionally draining day, thanks Self Esteem, so I headed off to my tent after Maggie Rogers. I really wasn’t up for Lewis Capaldi or Phoebe Bridgers. Although a good friend of mine told me that I missed a brilliant set from A Certain Ratio! I guess you can’t win them all, right?
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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