Another year, another Latitude Festival over and done with too quickly. The festival tone always seems to balance beautifully somewhere between travelling circus and amusement mecca. It’s a wicked wonderland of the magical mixed with solid performances across the entire entertainment spectrum. This festival is a must-see for me yearly and it never disappoints. It is a carnival ride of wacky and gorgeously out-of-bounds on occasion but that is what makes it unique. There was plenty to tempt across the whole four days. However, we gravitated to two music performances in particular across the weekend and they delivered all we had hoped for.
The headliner for the BBC Sounds Stage on Friday night was Primal Scream. The band came onstage with plenty of rocky confidence and a fair bit of swagger. To be honest, you’d have to have some bravado in the pocket to wear the flaming hot pink suit, shirt and matching boots that frontman Robert Gillespie was sporting for the occasion. My guess was that he was sending a nod out to the famous pink-dipped Latitude sheep in exactly the same hue. Starting their set with ‘Run Around’ and then taking an easy ride as they drifted and moved through all the hit tracks to an increasingly excited audience. They delivered the clean, British rock sound you’d expect and it was highly identifiable as this band’s marker.
Stereophonics at The Latitude Festival
After a soggy Saturday, with downpours on and off, the mood wasn’t dampened as headliners Stereophonics took the main stage. The band wove a reminiscent set from song one. There was plenty of hooting and hollering all along the way building with every hit they played, and there were plenty to choose from. The Stereophonics had just as much natural soul and clear delivery as always. Although the word is bandied about frequently, Stereophonics has always had a deep authenticity from the start and it’s still ever-present.
The guys came downstage to a tight, close group and said they wanted to play like they used to when they were touring the pubs. The long-standing camaraderie was plain. They played several songs in a more ‘unplugged’ arrangement down front, including ‘Handbags and Gladrags’. The band’s subdued persona is always dutifully laid back. They are approachable but always quietly proficient at what they do. Frontman Kelly was kicking the ball back and forth lobbed onstage by the audience. They generally just relaxed into their groove of feel-good tracks throughout. In the encore, drummer Jamie Morrison had a stunning drum solo downstage again. With his bandmates looking on, they all had huge smiles of affirmation as he knocked it out. Kelly then said, ‘We don’t call him Big J for nothing!’ It was, for me, the best set of the festival, hands down.
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