It's been 5-6 years since we did this festival. Glad to report it's not lost any of its charm. It carries the tag as 'the middle-class festival', perhaps deservedly, but it should not be inferred from this that the bands lack quality, diversity, freshness or 'edge' - all of this was present in abundance.

Certainly what Latitude delivers is a broader under-card of Spoken Word, Film, Comedy and the wider performing arts. All very welcome but for punters like us who focus on bands this gives an extra level of 'pressure' as we endeavour to take in some extra-curricular stuff simply to feel we've had a balanced and fulsome festival experience. The extra-curricular activity was in part mind-blowing, in other parts disappointing.

The festival lay-out remains the same and in all aspects is well organised. Saturday saw a large influx of day-visitors but queues at the bar/loos never became unacceptable.

As usual we tended to gravitate to the smaller stages, notably the stage in the woods (i- Arena) and the larger ‘6-Music Tent’ which showcased many of the fresher bands on the impressive bill. 



San Fermin –  8 piece: male and female vocalists, keys, drums, guitar, 2 brass, violin. Wonderful tunes. The male vocalist had shades of Tindersticks/Gabriel Bruce. A brilliant kick-off to the music.

Slow Club - had the legend that is Fyfe Dangerfield on bass.  Great set featuring songs mainly from their latest release 'Complete Surrender' and highlights from their first two wonderful albums.

Jimi Goodwin – a polished set from this accomplished artist. Wasn't afraid to throw in some Doves numbers:  ‘Sulphur Man’ and ‘Last Broadcast’.

Betjeman Poetry - a wonderful deviation into the Poetry Tent for an insight to John Betjeman's life with readings of his work. Final poem was 'A boy ill' - I have this on a 'Morrissey Choice' CD that came with NME 10 years ago. Possibly the saddest thing I've ever heard. 

John Wizards - 6-piece from South Africa.  Set opened with Jamaican rhythms delivered by a Bob Marley look-alike lead singer accompanied by 3 guitars, bass & drums. But the set developed into a wonderful Reggae/Vampire Weekend/Paul Simon mash up, complemented perfectly by a powerful scent of weed.  Best songs were those with extended instrumental passages venturing into prog-rock territory.

The Phantom Band - 6 piece from Scotland: keys, bass, drummer, 3 guitars. Delayed coming on due to sound problems, and then revealed they'd had their guitars stolen so were using Mogwai's equipment. They had the sound of Divine Comedy in the vocal. Oddly one of the guitarists had his back to the audience throughout the set.

Mirror Signal - caught tail end of this 4 piece. R&B sounds. Truly humble to be playing the festival.

Temples - a highlight of the afternoon. A really good live band, with their debut CD not doing full justice to their excellent guitar work, showcased in full here. Drummer had a Hawkwind T-shirt on.

East India Youth – Will Doyle throws his heart and soul into his live performances which get better and better. This was the best crowd reaction I have seen him receive. Resplendent in trademark tweed jacket, shirt and skinny tie, Will Doyle was most certainly 'dripping down the walls' (or at least over his keyboard) by the end of his set.

Teeth Of The Sea - 4 guys in a line across the stage: keys, a stand-up drummer, bass, and guitar. A fantastic trumpet intro to the first number. Dancey instrumental tunes a little in the vein of ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’.  4-5 songs in the keyboard player donned a black mask; I'm not sure of the relevance but it certainly gave the impression of a band seeking to deliver more than a run-through of their songs. Last couple of numbers saw the reintroduction of the trumpet, run through the synthesiser creating a wonderful climax to the set.

Mogwai - sublime. I've never seen this band live before and should know their material better.  Everything they do make's me realise they should be one of my very favourite bands with their superb melodies interwoven with strong prog elements and extended solos. Their set showcased their new album ‘Rave Tapes’ - definitely on my shopping list.

Papy's - a late night venture away from music to see the comedy trio we'd caught at End Of The Road last year. Very disappointing. It would be wrong to point simply to the fact that at least one of them was the worse for drink - the real problem was their liquor-fuelled bravado led to them delivering a running Lily Allen joke.  It was barely funny the first time, but the constant repetition throughout the show was numbing. A salient lesson: good comedy can rarely be created on the hoof.  Even accomplished performers like these need the discipline of a self-critical appraisal at the writing stage and a lot of rehearsal, all sadly lacking here.



Agnes Obel - cited by festival organiser Melvin Benn as one his favourite sets of the weekend. You can't argue with him. Mesmerising.  Agnes on grand piano accompanied by 2 cellos and a violin, with all 3 musicians contributing to the harmonies. Many spine-tingling moments.

Damian Jurado - had travelled to Suffolk from Heathrow having flown in from Seattle; and was flying back to Seattle immediately after - a long round trip for a 40-minute set ! He was unaccompanied, and frankly didn't need anybody else. His purity of voice and note-perfect 'whoo-ing' between verses was spellbinding.

Conor Oberst - was supported by Dawes (who we missed on same stage earlier in the day) comprising keys, bass, guitar and drums. A customary fantastic performance, featuring much of his recent album 'Upside Down Mountain'

Afghan Whigs - each member was dressed in black giving the band an appropriate moody look. Songs a bit repetitive, but nice to lounge in the sun to. (ed. first time I have heard of anyone lounging to Afghan Wigs)

The Bohicas - 4-piece guitar band. Edgey RnB tunes. The kids at the front got a mosh-pit going

Oliver Wilde – only caught a couple of their songs – sounded a bit off key.

Jungle - an extremely polished performance belying the youthfulness of this band. Today the 'duo' was complemented with two percussionists, guitar and two backing vocalists. An awe-inspiring set - a highlight of the weekend
Glass Animals - excellent laid-back lounge sounds with shades of Alt-J

Bombay Bicycle Club - a great set from this band that have truly come of age and look very comfortable on the big stage. Amusing to look back now but there was a constant irritation of a lady in the crowd playing the tambourine.

Catfish & The Bottlemen - deservedly drew the biggest crowd we saw all weekend to the Lake Stage. Destined for bigger things.

Fourfathers - a brilliant four piece from Scotland.  An unbelievable mash up of rap, gospel, spiritual.  Very  'together'. Half the songs were complemented by a female vocalist, moody and unsmiling - these were the best numbers.



Teeth Of The Sea : playing a live soundtrack to film ‘The Last Man’.  Spellbinding music alongside this harrowing short film made up of themes and repetitive clips from the movie '1984'. This deeply uncomfortable venture into Orwellian dystopia was followed by a panel discussion and Q&A which gave food for thought on the lack of privacy we each have in the internet age. Shame the questions were in varying measure inane, irrelevant or plain long-winded.

The Atomic Bomb Band - a collective brought together for the festival playing the songs of ‘William Oneyeaboar’. The stand-out was the excellent distinctive vocal of Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip).

Nils Frahm - a first class exponent of keyboard in various forms.  Most songs commenced with piano he topped with synthesised layer over synthesised layer.  He had a V-shaped keyboard layout; a little frustration that he played with his back to the audience. Difficult not to draw comparisons with similar 'one-man-band' Will Doyle (East India Youth). To my mind Will edges it simply due his mixing it up more with guitar and vocals.

Parquet Courts - the crowd at the front somehow contrived to organise itself so there was an adults side and a kids side. The kids had far more fun as far as I could see !  A rather self-indulgent set featuring latest album release ‘Sunbathing Animal’ with just occasional ventures to their more punchy material from ‘Light Up Gold’. (It was evident the younger contingent enjoyed the back catalogue more too).

Fat White Family - lost count of how many of ‘em on stage. Had heard a lot about this band who gave an excellent performance - really punchy rockin tunes - the main band members ended up bare chested.

Future Islands - Sunday night gave us a clash dilemma (The War On Drugs overlapping with Tame Impala) so we sacrificed TWOD altogether and stayed at the i Arena for Future Islands. Mistake. Came across as very middle of the road. 

Tame Impala - a wonderful set featuring the countless high points of their ‘Lonerism’ album. For a mature sound they always pull in a remarkably youthful crowd who enjoyed every note. 

A bit of comedy, poetry and film plus 28 bands over the weekend - all rock n rolled out.....

Si & Sally