Latitude Festival 2011 review

'Suede provide a wondrous end to a unique weekend'

Latitude Festival 2011 review

Photographer: Sam BrillKai Jones on 17 July 2011

If there is a festival God, he shines down on Henham Park every July. Large enough to pack in exclusive performances from Suede, Foals and Paulo Nutini, but intimate enough to create an atmosphere that feels like warm hugs with best friends, Latitude feels like Radio 4 has decamped from 92.5-96.1 FM for a weekend and set up business in a national park.

Nowhere else in festival land will you have the dilemma of choosing between Cerabral Balzy (7/10) playing British Bulldog with their crowd, Bafta winning animated shorts or an afternoon of translucent poetry. Nowhere else will you find yourself in a knitting tent minutes after watching Adam Ant (8/10) tear through a delicious ‘Prince Charming’, looking as sex pirate charming as ever.

Adam Ant
This is the weekend where you nestle into the Film and Music arena for hours, cupping beers and watching wondrous animated films like the award winning 'Eaglemen Stag'; or Guillemots (6/10) providing an improvised score to Park Chan-Wook's visceral ‘Oldboy’; or Camille O'Sullivan (9/10) putting on Tom Waits-style cabaret as rich as the red wine she pours herself on stage; or even Richard Curtis leading Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon through an hour of banter talking about their acclaimed BBC programme ‘The Trip’.

The National
It's the weekend where The National (8/10), Anna Calvi (8/10) and Glasvegas (7/10) bring their own inimitable versions of poetic gloom, while Foals (9/10) play a career-defining set, Grouplove (9/10) bring the festival love, triumphantly treating their Sunrise stage set like they’re headlining the whole shebang, and Jenny Lewis turns up on drums for a rousing Bright Eyes (7/10).

British Sea Power (7/10) have trees dancing along to them, My Morning Jacket (8/10) freak out school children waiting for Paulo Nutini (despair/10), with capes and the fiery ‘Holdin' On To Black Metal’, and Yann Tierson chills the hairs on the back of every neck in the house with subtle, beautiful minimalism, redolent of Arcade Fire scoring Darren Aronovsky films.

Echo And The Bunnymen (8/10) are triumphant. Draped in dry ice, lighting matching the poetic soul of their sound, the Bunnymen rip from ‘Nothing Ever Lasts Forever’ - which merges into a luscious ‘Take A Walk On The Wild Side’, McCulloch changing the lyrics to "Take a walk on Merseyside" - into ‘Killing Moon’, and straight into a devouring ‘The Cutter’.

There's down points, of course. Kele (4/10) wails through a dreary set that's as sodden as the rain that plagues the site all weekend. And, well that's it. Finding faults in a festival with this much love, this much attention to detail and this much variety is too much work while you can be watching Caribou (8/10) take Latitude to Berlin decadence and back, Lykke Li (9/10) shiver and quake through a rapturous, special set or Stuart Maconie and Louise Wener reminisce about the heady year of Britpop.

Suede (10/10) close the weekend in spectacular fashion, Brett Anderson looking like he's just stepped out of a time machine from 1995, pouring out ‘Filmstar’, ‘Animal Nitrate’, ‘The Wild Ones’, ‘So Young’ and ‘We Are The Pigs’. It's a wondrous end to a wondrous, unique weekend.

Click here for the best pictures from the weekend at Latitude 2011

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