The final day of Wendy Roby and Andrzej Lukowski's astounding exploits at Latitude.
For Friday's review, click HERE.
For Saturday's review, click HERE.
Wendy's Day Three
By the time Sunday rolls around, we have acquired a routine. After we get up, we do some amusing OCD fingerpointing about what filthbuckets we are (all you need to know is that it involves shouting 'DIRTY!' at each other; but I do have an actual beard of dust at one point, so it is very much deserved). And then after we have ungrubbied and peacocked ourselves, we go to our favourite stall for coffee, burger and brownie. ‘Mmmn, middle class festivals are yum’ we say, ‘Shall we put these empty cups into the wrong recycling bin on purpose?’ And then, all naughty restored, we go to see some bands.
The Strange Boys are first on Sunday, and you can hear their wheedling from a bloody mile off. In fact, I am thinking to myself ‘What is this bellyaching?’ until I catch a bar of ‘Be Brave’ and realise it is hactually a band I like, and may have given Single of the Week to. In the end, it is all a bit one-note, but it might be that the blazing sun is making everything seem more screechy. Also, I see them before the coffee and cow have kicked in.
Then we pootle into the woods to see Egyptian Hip-Hop. Who look about 12, wear fashionably hideous t-shirts, and are playing what sounds (at first) like !!!-style punk funk. There are extended [AIIIEEE] ‘workouts’, there is a dollop of wacka-wacka, and it is all very bass-heavy. At which point I become patronising and awfuls. ‘See you in a few years, Egyptian Hip Hop,’ I write, ‘You do not know which band you are meant to be yet.’
Back on the main site, everyone is flocking to Mumford & Suns. Which is when we decide to have new criteria for this evening’s proposed Tawking To New People. ‘The first question has to be, ‘Did you go to see Mumford & Sons’’ we stumble, becoming ever more abominable, ‘And if they say yes, we WILL NOT TALK TO THEM, we will WALK AWAY’.
All that settled, and having decided that I like the idea of Bumford as Dirty Projectors warm-up act, we watch them. And by goodness, they are a swell-looking lot, especially the one on the right, she is all my Winonas and Rose Byrnes come at once. The thing is, though pretty much everyone I talk to later in the day makes Cor-noises when the DPs come up, I am not sure I think it works. There is some serious sound drift, their intricate only works when you are right at the front. I feel like someone is waving their music close to my ear and then running off with it, and it’s teasing, infuriating. And as much as Dirty Projectors are a sashaying band, as much as they sound like they’re making Far Northern European R’n’B at times, they don’t have the power of that genre.
Yeasayer though. YEASAYER. Cor. COR. They are my favourite band of the whole festival. They have even thought about the breaks between the songs and fudged them into the next using curious, bubbly techno. Chris Keating is channelling the movements of a frothing televangelist, they are all wearing vests but making them look gooooood, they are all rather effeminate but in an extremely sexy way, and they are Proper Men. And though we may have turned into the indie Loose Women by this point, there are still those rumbling drums, helicoptering distorts and keyboard runs that sound like they're being played on Blackpool Tower’s organ. I mean, there is definitely something happening, I see teenagers eyeing each other up, and if there is anyone in this tent not sheened with a hot flush, they are robots, dead inside. You know, someone actually - and in a very real sense - tells me later that they prefer Yeasayer’s earlier work. And it is through a SUPREME EFFORT OF WILL that I do not give them a slap.
After all that heat and frisk, and in need of cold shower music, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are curiously apt. People are running (if not hactually skipping, though it seems mean to say this) to get to the tent in time. And the Sunrise Arena is rammed, even though at the edges there is a sun-hatted Sunday Papers crowd of comfies tapping their feet. Also, people who bring their own massive, foldy chairs and cart them around all day, WHAT IS UP WITH YOU? Anyway, TPOBPAT play a wonderful set, but I am afraid it does all seem strangely asexual and trad - but not twee, that would not be fair.
Sirens announce Darwin Deez, and they seem a perfect festival band, all those funny mid-song dances exhibit the sort of go-with-it looseness that festival audiences are always up for. I see middle-aged ladies prancing like its to their 'Walk Like An Egyptian' & Pointer Sisters segways, pretty much everyone is going nuts in a darling and friendly way, and even though I am painstakingly trying to heggsplain to my friend that playing the Pointer Sisters is CHEATING, perhaps rightly she does not care, we are going to bloody well stand up and watch them properly.
The Comfies are also out in force for Vampire Weekend, and it is amazing how split the reactions are. What we have here are two sets, and two audiences, and it is painfully marked, between First Album YAY and Second Album CUH. I’ve never seen a crowd quite so clear about what they like, but it is fair to say that pretty much anything off VW’s debut has people chucking themselves about. And it is not that nobody reacts when they play songs from Contra (though I will admit that we are saying to each other ‘Is this a second album song?’ / ‘Yes’ / ‘Good, then let us talk about boys’), but by Lord, I am almost sorry for the Wampires by the end, they have been on a rollercoaster and now it is descending and it can't be nice.
My last Latitude band are Grizzly Bear, and by now I am tired of mind, notepadded out and ready to dance because I can’t really speak now, we have told all our best, lurid stories and been too silly and now there is cider where our blood should be. But I go because I know I should, and as soon as I am within 10 feet of the tent I am grinning. They, too, are Grown Ups! [this may be a theme], and they are ridiculous levels of dry ice as they breeze through ‘On A Neck, On A Spit’. And even though I feel sorry for bands playing on Sunday nights; and even though we had agreed to just wander past them; we don't, we stay, and it is the perfect, dizzying end.
Wendy is on Twitter, here
Lukowski's Day Three
So on Sunday I actually saw some bands... Kristin Hersh actually wasn’t playing music when I saw her but WAS reading from her new memoir/book/thing, which is currently called Rat Girl, because it’s only been published in the States, but will be entitled Paradoxical Undressing in the UK because we apparently smarter. Or something. Though unless her publishing company are seriously tilting it at the white trash misery memoir market, I seriously doubt the average Throwing Muses fan is liable to be put off by an eight syllable title. Anyway, as read in her strange little girl/croaky woman voice it’s a dreamlike, somewhat charming, rather twisted stumble through her teenage years that takes in gory bike crashes, the early days of the Muses, and a nameless, unidentifiable but apparently lovable Thing that used to share a house with her and jump on people’s heads.
Dirty Projectors are one of those bands that seem much more avant garde when you’re at one of yer ATPs or the weather is a bit off or you're in a glum mood. Out here, basking under a fat, lazy sun, their eruptions of harmony and tangled explosions of rhythmic joy sound like what I believe Radio 1 refers to as summer anthems. ‘Knotty Pine’, ‘Cannibal Resource’, ‘Stillness is the Move’ and especially a heaven-sent ‘Useful Chamber’ that goes on for ages (and in a fair world would have lasted the rest of the festival)... I mean, you can’t exactly sing to them, but your soul can at least offer a hum-along... each song is a little algorithm, the answer to which is always JOY. On a side note, Dave Longstreth is possibly laying the whole David Byrne thing on a bit thick these days – the head thrusting fair enough, but he’s doing the same talking voice now and it is NOT HOW HE TALKS because I interviewed him once you know.
Over at Yeasayer I finally meet up with Roby. Reading her comments above, it is no wonder she was sweating something fierce (in a purely ladylike way, obv). Er, yes, the room is rammed, the tunes bibble and bobble magnificently, the tracks chosen off that mixed first album are the correct tracks, and all is generally wunderbar, accepting the fact that this feels like a party set, and everybody is partying and making merry with the exception of the band themselves, who look rather earnest and stoic, which is just uncalled for. Those boys need to learn MOVES.
Roby departs with a warning about Charlotte Gainbourg, something like “she’s crap”. She’s sort of good, I think, and her band does a pretty interesting line in off centre electro pop, but accepting she is very very pretty and some of us have seen her hack her own lady parts off and can never really look at her the same way again, she does kind of lack any charisma. So I drift off for the latter half of blokey from Portishead and blokey from Goldfrapp’s live score to The Passion of Joan of Arc, which turns out to be amazing – the music is liquid and elegant and haunted, but the film is fucking stunning, all malevolent close ups and searing pain and a truly grim burning scene. So in conclusion it can probably be quite worth one’s while sacking off the bands for an 82-year-old film.
Two years ago Sigur Ros won music when they headlined the Obelisk stage; Jonsi has to content himself with second billing on the Word stage, but he still pretty much owns – he doesn’t have any of his weird stage props, but I dunno, maybe the helps... in his peacock coat he seems at least double the height of anybody else who has occupied the space, soaring, swooping, rolling on the floor, dunning Indian headdresses... I’m not entirely sure that he doesn’t grow as it goes on, Icelandic mojo and all. Anyway the only song of his I know by ear is ‘Go Do’, which comes about midway through and is lovable, but it’s the boiling bits of noise that occupy the second half that excite, ravenous monsters of sound chasing this dangerous angel.
Oh Grizzly Bear. Why can I feel emotionally connected to Dirty Projects songs when played live but not yours, eh? Probably best not dwelling upon, so we go and watch John Cooper-Clarke. He is late, and then tells jokes instead of poems, so we go the literary tent and watch a completely smashed Josie Long attempting to play Bob Dylan songs on a swannee whistle and asking the audience to guess what songs they are. They try but they can’t, because you cannot play Bob Dylan songs on a swannee whistle. She feels hurt. The audience feels bad she feels hurt. I leave and drink whiskey for five hours, pass out, pack up my tent, and say a last, sad farewell to my earwig chums. I’m gonna miss those guys.