Since it’s inception 12 years ago, Latitude has become established as one of the highlights of the British festival calendar. Despite the festival market becoming increasingly over saturated, Latitude is still seen as one of the brilliantly unique music festivals. 2017 may not of been it’s premier year, but there was still more than enough quality performances to take in over the weekend to send visitors home happy. Picking highlights from a range of acts as diverse as those offered by Latitude is never easy, but after some thought and arguing we’ve managed to pick out our top ten performances from Latitude 2017.
10. Declan McKenna
One year removed from his first Latitude performance to a crowd of hundreds at the Lake stage, Declan moved up to the BBC stage to perform a set that he himself described as “a dream come true”. Fans at the barrier sang and jumped to every song, from those best known amongst his fans such as “Brazil” and “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” to more recent releases such as “Humongous”. His heart and enthusiasm was visible for all to see, jumping into the crowd on more than one occasion and even ripping his shirt off in a way that Hulk Hogan himself would be proud of. Having ran through his short catalogue of sing-a-long indie/pop tunes without fault, and a week away from releasing his debut album, it’s easy to see why the eighteen year old is on cloud nine at the minute.
9. Seann Walsh
The comedy tent is always one of Latitude’s highlights, and despite being one of the first of the weekend to take to the stage, Seann Walsh was one of it’s high points. His chaotic comedic delivery was at it’s best, venting his modern life bug bears, from vape pens to herbal tea, and even ribbing Latitude’s middle class audience who weren’t quite on board with his hatred for sweet potato wedges. Spiralisers and selfies are also on his modern life pet hates list, alongside those on gluten free diets. “I didn’t know what gluten was till I tasted gluten free food, but know I know. It’s the bit that makes it taste nice”.
He wasn’t against everything modern life has brought though, as he was full of praise for instant downloads, reminding the crowd of the times using LimeWire, when wanting to download a file meant waiting a week to find out that you’ve downloaded the Chinese version of X-Men 2. It was a set full of laughs, and was a great way to spend the first hours of the festival.
Despite experiencing some technical problems through the set, Placebo closed Friday’s proceedings on the BBC stage with a blistering set to a packed tent. Their powerful sound was terrific as they played through their hits, featuring “Pure Morning”, “Nancy Boy” and a their well known, terrific cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. More of their more famous hits such as “Song to Say Goodbye”, were played as well as a healthy amount of their newer material, which served to be much more than just filler. It’s safe to say that they haven’t lost any of their impact over their increasingly long career.
7. Two Door Cinema Club
Two Door Cinema Club proved to be one of the weekends biggest draws, pulling in what was likely the biggest crowd of the weekend at the main stage, dwarfing those for headliners Fleet Foxes and The 1975. The Obelisk arena was border line inaccessible while they were playing, with their newest material such as “Are We Ready (Wreck)” and “Bad Decisions” receiving great receptions alongside their indie classics such as “This is the Life” and “I Can Talk”, before closing with their biggest hit “What You Know”. Although it may of appeared a slightly uninspiring addition to the line up on paper, the Northern Irish indie trio provided a convincing case that they perhaps should of been topping the bill.
6. Public Service Broadcasting
Sunday at quarter to five on Latitude’s main stage is possibly Public Service Broadcasting’s biggest show to date, and just like their latest albums performance in the charts, it exceeded everybody’s expectations. Worries that their act wouldn’t work on the big stage quickly evaporated, and went unspoiled by the small showers during the set. Their music is unlike anything else that has been released, telling compelling stories of historic occasions, accompanied by video footage of those stories to make sure every song gives you goose-bumps.
Their set featured a number of tracks from their most recent release “Every Valley” which J. Willgoose proudly reminds the crowd reached number 4 in the UK charts, an astonishing achievement for such a band. Tracks from the previous albums such as “Spitfire” “Go” “The Other Side” also featured, as well as “Gagarin”, during which they were joined by a dancing Spaceman, as well as a brass band oozing style and character, before closing with “Everest”. Whether or not these guys capture your imagination or not, you’ve got to admit that it’s pretty impressive to get hundreds of people singing along to the moon landing.
5. Katherine Jenkins
This festival really does cater to everyone. Classic opera singer Katherine Jenkins was the perfect choice to open the Waterfront stage on the Sunday. Her set started as she was rowed stage while singing Hallelujah. And yes, I spelt that correctly, she wasn’t roared on stage by the crowed, but literally rowed, as the Waterfront stage sits in the middle of the lake. People completely surrounded the stage, watching on from the surrounding hills and bridge, she proved a massive draw for the Sunday morning. Her set was carefully selected, explaining her reasons for including each song she sang. It added an extra layer of emotion as she glided through “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. The meanings behind the song choice coupled with her excellent execution was enough to have half the audience close to tears. Simply put, it’s beyond belief that anybody can possibly have the lung capacity and ability to sing in the way that she does.
4. Mumford & Sons
It’s no coincidence that the only day which sold out of day tickets was the day Mumford & Sons played the festival. They were undeniably the weekends biggest draw, and they put in a performance that matched the hype. They played a mixture of hits from all of their three albums, with their biggest hit “Little Lion Man” coming out just second, to get the crowd rocking early on. There was fans jumping and singing their hearts out right towards the back of the crowd, as Mumford put on a fantastically entertaining set fully justifying their reputation. “White Blank Page” “Lover of the Light” and “Believe” all followed, before a moving rendition of “Awake My Soul” with help from Maggie Rogers who made a surprise appearance.
They then did a trio of songs with Baaba Maal and “The Very Best”, who Mumford and Sons had invited to perform at the festival as part of their curated line up named as a “Gentlemen of the road takeover”. Gentlemen of the road is a live promotion/record label, which Mumford & Sons founded, and part of tying down Mumford & Sons for the festival involved allowing them to curate the rest of the line up for the day as part of a gentlemen of the road takeover. It may have made uninspiring reading on paper, but it was a terrific day of music. They then played “The Cave”, “Dust Bowl Dance” and “I Will Wait”, before inviting all the guests that appeared during the set back on stage to finish on a cover of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends”, concluding a set that felt like it was a pretty big deal.
Closing Friday’s proceedings on the Lake Stage, Cabbage delivered a set with the intensity of a Tornado in a bomb factory. These guys are energy with a capital E, energy that could be felt the second they started playing, as mosh pits began to open up at the front of the crowd the second the first chord was struck. Cabbage have had a pretty significant 12 months, releasing their first album “Young, Dumb and Full of” alongside multiple chat show and festival appearances, as well as a UK tour. They have caught a lot of people’s attention over this time, and as they rattled through their short catalogue of politically charged Punk rock head bangers, they caught the attention of more. The relatively modest crowd they started out with had doubled in size by the time they finished, stopping a number of festival goers in their tracks to watch the remainder of their set. Their forty five minute set of ripped shirts, crowd surfing and general mayhem, included “Dinner Lady”, “Dissonance” and “Uber Capitalist”.
2. Dara O’ Briain
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the comedy stage and of the festival, the tent was packed for Friday’s comedy headliner, with people surrounding the tents entrances and even more watching on the screens outside the tent, just watching wherever they could get a space. Dara is well known for appearing in – in his own words – “such shows as… f****** all of them”, opening the show by making light of the lengthy catalogue of TV shows he has been part of as of late. His quick wit and motor mouth style gave the woman at the side of the stage translating the set into sign language many difficulties, much to the amusement of Dara and the audience. Dara had her translating the sign language for masturbation as well as translating a conversation about her self. Its these interactions that really set his shows apart.
He went on to talk to the crowd about a fake news story that reported he had died in a car crash, and how he now felt old because he hadn’t heard of the nights headliner (The 1975), despite their popularity. Trying to blag his way through it, he guessed they had a song called “Candlestick Boy” before hypothesising that their whole existence was just a ruse to make him feel old and confused. He left the stage asking for fans going to see the 1975 later on to chant for them to play “Candlestick Boy”. It may of been a set used to trial material for his upcoming tour in autumn, but it was delivered, and felt like a finished product.
Wow. That’s one word you could use to describe this set. Another would be just angry, most frontmen ask for their audience “sing it for me” or “show me your hands”, until this set I’ve never heard one yell “SPIT AT ME YOU B******S”, like Joe Talbot of Idles did. It was a display of sheer intense rock, that immediately made you stand up and take notice. Many already have. Idles have been building a lot of momentum as of late and it showed, there was a big crowd gathered at the Lake stage to see them play before they came on stage, that only got bigger as the set progressed.
The minute they stepped on stage they let loose with a tribal like stage presence that was almost tangible. Fans in the first few rows just absorbed their energy and threw it right back at them, losing their minds in moshing to every song. It felt as if the band spend their lives waiting for their gigs, and just blow off a load of steam whenever they come along, as if its a release of their feelings of stress and frustration that builds between shows. The Bristol quintet make their feelings known in the most musically aggressive way possible, “This is a song about a s***hole, it’s called Exeter”, not shy about their feelings towards their rival city. Before the last song, Joe announces they are doing a secret set immediately after at the BBC Introducing stage. Mid song, he jumps into the crowd, and begins running to the location of their next show, beckoning for the fans to follow him yelling “FOLLOW ME F*****S. A significant number take him up on his offer, running after him in search of another intense show, it was like watching a rock n roll version of the ending of Happy Gilmore.
This year, Idles stole the show. Based on this, the following they’ve built up is more than deserved, and if they keep going the same way, it’s only going to get bigger in the near future.
There’s a number of other performances that could easily of been included in this list as well, but it’s difficult to choose when only ten can make the cut. Where you Lucky enough to be at Latitude this year? If so let us know who would make your top ten in the comments below, and who you’d want to see at next years’ festival.