music · Out & About

Festival diary: Latitude

It’s been a full on (and sometimes emotional) few weeks in terms of music related things for me, there was The Maccabees farewell’s in Manchester and London, a few days later a trip to Hyde Park to see longtime faves Kings of Leon, followed the day after by the Grenfell fire benefit gig at Bush Hall.

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Continuing on the gig wave I spent last weekend at Suffolk’s (my home county) biggest festival, Latitude, it was my fifth year in a row which I guess means I really like it there. As always I met up with friends from London and we headed to the cottage we’ve stayed at for the past few years – festival-ing in style no less – which makes it feel like a holiday as well as a festival. It’s been a strange year or so for me with leaving London, trying to spend more time working on my own business and trying not to spend too much cash in the meantime, so because of all this I made the decision to give up my Glastonbury ticket, NEVER an easy thing to do but it just didn’t feel right for me to go this year. So when the opportunity to go back to Latitude came up I jumped at the chance.

Anyone that’s been to Latitude before will know how lovely it is, the lakeside setting is so pretty and the forest provides plenty of hidden stages and happenings! It’s also super easy to run between all stages because everything is so close – great for people like me who lose their sense of direction easily or are trying to cram in 4 different bands in the space of 2 hours.

After picking up our wristbands on Thursday evening we had a wander around the site and took ourselves off to the restaurant by the lake run by East London’s Blixen, because when you’re at one of the most civilised festivals in the country why not eat steak off proper plates and enjoy a cocktail!? (nicest cocktail ever btw)

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I’m always keen to hear new music and check out bands I haven’t seen before, however I am also pretty happy when loads of bands I’ve loved forever appear on  a festival line-up and Latitude did not disappoint this year. The Coral, The Horrors and Mystery Jets made sure I spent most of Friday afternoon/evening at the main stage reliving the early-mid 2000s. Then Friday night delivered one of, if not the best, festival headline set I’ve seen for quite a few years from The 1975, the energy was INCREDIBLE and in Matty Healy they have the perfect pop/rockstar. After seeing them on the Lake Stage in 2013 it was great to see them back as headliners and absolutely win at doing so.

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Saturday delivered plenty of good things too including a Willy Mason acoustic performance on the tiny SOLAS stage which was hidden away in the forest. It was the perfect setting and felt like one of those special festival moments, having a chat with the man himself after made it even more special. Another trip down nostalgia lane happened early on Saturday evening with a set by Two Door Cinema Club, I had sort of forgotten just how many tunes they had and the fact that they are the perfect sunny afternoon festival band! It was great to see Chicago boys Twin Peaks again after missing their last date in London, they played an awesome set at the Sunrise Arena on Saturday night.

I headed up to the main stage to watch Mumford and Sons on my own (none of the group I was with are fans!). They may not be everybody’s cup of tea but the set reminded me how much I used to love them and the crowd singing back every word to them was quite an emotional moment! I headed to SOLAS after Mumfords to meet up with everyone and to watch Parcels – the Aussie bands midnight set ended up being one of my favourite moments of the weekend and a band I will definitely see live again, despite our weary feet/legs they managed to keep us dancing for the whole time they were on stage. I cannot recommend checking them out enough!

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Sunday afternoon came around far too quickly and featured the chilled sounds of Matt Maltese on the Lake Stage followed by a rare Latitude rain shower and Public Service Broadcasting at the main arena. Sunday also saw a bit of clash situation which involved me running around watching little bits of Childhood, Loyle Carner and The Magic Gang on three different stages, as mentioned earlier that’s why it’s so great the stages are all relatively close! Fleet Foxes were the main stage headliners on Sunday night but I headed to the Sunrise to watch Temples and once again did that thing of forgetting how much I loved them. After a quick half hour dance to BBC music headliner Fatboy Slim we reluctantly wave goodbye for another year. Latitude you remain firmly at the top of my festival list.

Head to the bottom of this post for a list of everyone I saw!

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In no particular order!

  1. The 1975 
  2. Mystery Jets 
  3. Two Door Cinema Club
  4. Afrikan Boy
  5. Sløtface
  6. HMLTD
  7. Parcels
  8. Life
  9. Honeyblood
  10. Formation
  11. Mumford and Sons
  12. Twin Peaks 
  13. Willy Mason
  14. The Magic Gang
  15. Matt Maltese 
  16. The Horrors
  17. The Divine Comedy 
  18. Loyle Carner
  19. Childhood
  20. The Coral 
  21. Temples 
  22. Fatboy Slim
  23. Dan Croll
  24. Strong Asian Mothers
  25. Sh!t Theatre – Dollywould

 

 

 

 

 

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The Maccabees – a farewell

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The Maccabees first came into my life in 2006, it was my first year living in London and my friend who was in a band and ran a club-night introduced me to them. I first listened to them via MySpace, the way I discovered almost every band back then. I can’t actually remember the first time I saw them –  I think it was at Camden Barfly – but I do know I fell in love with them instantly. The energy they had on stage was so infectious and songs like X-Ray, Bicycles and Latchmere just seemed to capture it so perfectly, They looked a bit awkward and ‘uncool’,

One gig I do remember very well from 2006 is when they played in the upstairs room at Paradiso in Amsterdam during the London Calling festival, I just remember thinking it was so exciting that loads of bands I’d been watching in London for the past few months were all in Amsterdam and we’d get to spend a weekend watching them. Then there was Reading Festival in 2007 when they played the NME tent the same day as Jamie T and The Klaxons, that was probably the biggest crowd I’d watched them in and the atmosphere was incredible. Alongside the likes of Good Shoes, Jamie T, Jack Peñate and Mystery Jets, The Maccabees were always firm indie disco favourites at nights like Frog at The Astoria, Metro or the Barfly, you were either likely to be dancing to one of their songs or bumping into someone from one of the bands watching their mates.

I watched them at every opportunity I could in London and also often ended up meeting up with friends in different cities for their gigs. During one tour in 2009 we went to see them in Manchester one night and Leeds the next and ended up drinking with them after the gigs both nights. In Leeds I remember doing tequila shots with Hugo and Felix and even though I’d said hi to them before a couple of times it was that night I realised just how awesome, fun and friendly they all were. It’s probably a night so many of their fans shared with The Maccabees over the years in different cities/countries, they always had time for a chat/drink and made everybody feel like part of The Maccabees gang.

The love affair continued and gradually I was introduced – via Twitter (or mostly Mat Horne’s Twitter) – to a whole other bunch of people with a shared love of The Maccabees, many of whom are now some of the best friends I’ve made in London. In 2012 just after they’d released Given To The Wild I went back to Amsterdam to watch them headline at the Paradiso. To see them their again after that first London Calling gig back in 2006 was really special and it’s still one of my favourite memories.

From tiny, sweaty venues to headlining Latitude Festival last summer with a number one album, I’m so grateful that I got to share so many memories with them over the past 11 years. There are other bands I love and there are other gigs that have and will be amazing but I can’t imagine another band changing my life quite the way this one has.

Thank you The Maccabees x

A few photos from over the years & the farewell gigs:

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Latitude 2017 Festival Preview

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On Friday Latitude festival added to their already impressive line-up by announcing that Leon Bridges, Mystery Jets and The Coral will be joining the other acts on the bill when the festival returns to Henham Park near Southwold this July. I’ve been lucky enough to be at Latitude for the past 4 years and it’s always one my highlights of the summer – even more lovely that it takes place in my home county of Suffolk!

The main headliners this year are The 1975, Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes with the Mumford lads curating the whole day on Saturday as part of their Gentlemen Of The Road takeovers – their only stopover in the UK no less. For The 1975 it’s their first big festival headline slot, I saw them play in 2013 on the Lake Stage so it will be great to see them back topping the bill. For Fleet Foxes it is a return to the festival circuit and a UK exclusive appearance.

Other acts added last week include The Jesus and Mary Chain, Beth Orton, Childhood, Flyte, Simian Mobile Disco, Jaguar Skills as well as a special lakeside performance by soprano Katherine Jenkins on the Sunday.

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Latitude is one of the biggest events on Suffolk’s calendar and provides the perfect sized event for those looking for a festival that attracts the big names but retains a family friendly atmosphere. The organisers have managed to expand the capacity over recent years without making it feel over-crowded – it’s one of the best festivals I have been to, not only in terms of the line-ups but also for organisation and providing plenty of space and facilities – important when you don’t want to spend half your day in the loo queue right?!

The lake-side setting always provides a stunning location too with the chance to take a dip if the weather behaves enough to make you want to strip off. Keep an eye on the lake when the sun goes down too as there are always beautiful light shows taking place!

A few of the other acts on the line-up are John Cale, Lucy Rose, Goldfrapp, Placebo, Jack Garratt and Loyle Carner, the two that I’m really excited about seeing are Chicago band Twin Peaks and The Horrors.

As well as the music line-up, the good people of Latitude have pulled out all the stops when it comes to the comedy arena too with the likes of Simon Amstell, Katherine Ryan, Joel Dommett and Dom Joly all popping up over the weekend. There really is something for everyone at Latitude with plenty of different areas to wander around including music & film, poetry, theatre and cabaret, it’s always great for discovering your new favourites as well as seeing the big names.

Latitude festival takes place from 13th – 16th July and you can still get your hands on tickets here!

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Dot to Dot Festival 2017

Dot to Dot festival is returning at the end of May, taking over the three cities of Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham during the bank holiday weekend. Headliners Sundara Karma are welcomed back after impressing last year and hotly tipped acts such as Louis Berry, Tom Grennan and Swimming Tapes are ones to look out for if you’re heading to Dot to Dot.

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Each city opens up several of it’s best live venues on the day so you can pop in and out and see what takes your fancy! Last year I was at the Manchester one and there was a great atmosphere with a few little street performances during the day, I’ve also been to the Nottingham Dot to Dot which was also awesome…so I assuming the Bristol one is more of the same 😉

I recently wrote a full preview for the website Penny Black Music which you can read here if you want to find out a little bit more about the festival and this years acts.

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Tickets for Dot to Dot are available here for £13.20 (inc. booking fees)

 

 

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Preview: Tramlines Festival 2017

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Spread across three days (Fri – Sun) at the end of July and taking place in the city of Sheffield, Tramlines is back this year and it’s looking pretty MEGA. This is the first time it will take place in three of the cities parks rather than at indoor venues which will allow for a bigger capacity and even bigger acts!

Now in it’s eighth year the festival has grown each year and now boasts one of the most exciting line-ups out of all the U.K metropolitan festivals. There’s no camping involved with this one so you’ll either need to have a mate with a sofa or get yourself booked into a hotel – you can find out more about accommodation packages on their website here.

Main stage headliners this year are The Libertines on Friday, All Saints Saturday and Metronomy on Sunday…yes All Saints from the 90s, having caught them on their tour last year and absolutely loving the trip down memory lane I was more than happy to see them appearing on the Tramlines line-up! It’s also great to see The Libertines appearing as headliners at a handful of festivals this summer.

Also rocking up in Sheffield for the weekend are Spring King, The Magic Gang, The Coral, We Are Scientists and Loyle Carner to name just a few of my personal picks!

If all of that isn’t enough to keep you entertained for 3 days there are after-parties taking place every night too, featuring more performances and DJ sets from the likes of Artful Dodger, Faithless, Mike Skinner and Bugzy Malone…Now all we need is the sun to shine on Sheffield in July!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Liverpool Sound City 2017 – festival preview

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The Liverpool festival is celebrating its 10th Birthday in May and this time it’s moved location from Bramley Moore dock to a bigger space down the road at Clarence dock. When Sound City first started it took place in multiple city centre venues before the organisers decided in 2015 to move it to Bramley Moore dock to accommodate more people and have a proper festival site, so moving again just two years later seems testament to its growth.

This year sees the festival put on an extra two nights too, starting on the Thursday with The Human League headlining and Friday impressively boasts the only European performance of ‘John Cale presents The Velvet Underground & Nico’…what a start to the bank holiday weekend.

Metronomy head up Saturday night with Slaves and The Kills taking to the main stage before them and indie veterans The Kooks will close the festival on Sunday night with their own anniversary celebration – it’s 10 years since the release of their debut album. The Cribs were recently added as special guests on the Sunday too, and judging by their performance on the main stage in 2015 they should be warmly welcomed back!

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Sound City has always championed emerging talent and this years showcase is no exception with the likes of Swiimers, Crimsons and Violet Youth all appearing on the bill. Bands that have been breaking through recently like The Amazons, The Sherlocks, The Magic Gang and The Shimmer Band have joined the line-up too.

Tim Burgess returns again this year with Tim Peaks Diner where he will be bringing his usual combination of coffee, conversation, signings and special performances.

Sound City takes place from 25th – 28th May (with the Thursday and Friday nights ticketed separately). Make sure you follow @SoundCity for any announcements and to keep updated before the big weekend!

 

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Drake – Boy Meets World Tour @ The O2

img_1922It’s been a bit of a quiet time for me on the gig front for the past few months, with absolutely none at all in January…a very rare occurrence! So when I was offered the chance to see Drake (on Valentines Day of all days) I was more than ready to end my live music drought…if you know anything about my little (big) obsession with the Toronto man this was quite a big deal.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in posts before but the O2 is a bit hit and miss for me when it comes to concerts, the humongous aircraft hanger-like arena doesn’t always seem to work – especially for bands/solo artists without a huge theatrical production with them to fill the space. Despite being mostly alone on stage (his DJ, drummer and keyboardist barely visible in the dry ice) Drake somehow manages to make the 20,000 or so people in the audience feel like they were attending a much more intimate gig, I lost count of how many times he declared his love for London/the UK and made sure everyone knew they’d made the right decision spending Valentines night with him…the man is a charmer. The set was jam-packed with almost 40 songs including Hotline Bling, of course, and there was a ‘hits medley’ in the middle feat. snippets of 6 God and Worst Behavior.

Light spheres/balloons suspended from the ceiling waved up and down, changing colour throughout the set and were mesmerizing, almost like a giant installation piece. Then on the second stage in the middle of the crowd a huge inflatable moon/planet pops up and provides a pretty impressive backdrop for the last few songs, I’d seen a few photos of this from other dates on the tour and was waiting for it all night! Throw in some real flames and a couple of fireworks here and there and there is no question Drake can keep a massive audience enthralled for 90 minutes with minimal gimmicks.