Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Latitude 2012: Three Stories

I got back from Latitude on Monday but I've been too tired/sick to do much, so I'm only doing a brief report of it. It was indeed very good and I would recommend it to anyone. I got to see many bands that don't usually come my way for the first time, and many enjoyable non-musical acts also (though that won't be the focus here). You can find more comprehensive reviews elsewhere on the internet, so I'm just going to do a brief paragraph on one musician for each day and my experience of that particular show.

Friday: tUnE-yArDs (i Arena)
After catching the beautiful end to Kurt Vile's set at the secluded, forested i Arena I found myself on the second row for tUnE-yArDs. During soundcheck Kurt appeared at the side of the stage geting his picture taken. I would've got one myself if he hadn't then ran across the front of the stage and into the distance. Merrill's set was probably the most inventive I saw all weekend. Her looped vocal ad-libs were impressive in themselves but they created whole new introductions to her w h o k i l l songs. With percussion just made of bass and snare drums they sounded more hip-hop than anything else, and were supported with bass and manic saxophone parts. In a day where I'd already experienced stunning sets from Destroyer, Iceage and Janelle MonĂ¡e, tUnE-yArDs felt a cut above.

Saturday: Josh T. Pearson (Word Arena)
We all know what the self-professed Last of the Country Gentlemen is capable of with his lovelorn lyrics and delicate guitar fingerpicking, but the real reason so many people were talking about his show? The jokes! Here are a few from memory:
During soundcheck: "This one's called "Soundcheck"!"
After soundcheck: "Thank you! Goodnight!"
"We have about forty minutes. That means I can play two or three songs." (he played four in total)
"Who has two thumbs up and likes blowjobs? This guy!" (grins and raises thumbs)
"This one's just for the ladies. What's the worst thing you can hear when giving Willie Nelson a blowjob? I'm not Willie Nelson."
"I don't usually play to crowds this size. They're usually bigger."
"Buy my stuff. Or download it and give me the money. I won't tell."

Sunday: Perfume Genius (i Arena)
One of the final live performances of the weekend and I was stuck next to loud, obnoxious East London types who I thought might ruin the set for me. Fortunately they calmed down when Mike Hadreas took to the stage, playing a well-chosen selection from his two albums, and two inspired covers (Madonna and CSNY). The set proved that simple piano, and sparse synthesizer were enough to carry Hadreas' songwriting forward. The delicate nature of the recordings and the fragility of his vocals translated perfectly into the dark, confined i Arena; he sounded both confident and reserved, and didn't pander down to a somewhat weary Latitude crowd. We were grateful for it.

If you want to remember some of the best musical performances of Latitude 2012, or just want some good music to listen to, here's my Spotify playlist of the weekend:

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