Latitude 2017: The Headliners, The Great and The Not-So-Great

Latitude, it’s 11th year and back in Henham Park, Suffolk playing to a wide variety of music, comedy, poetry, culture and beautiful pink sheep to keep you occupied. Although the weather wasn’t up to its usual Southern standards, the variety of brilliant musical options meant we were not disappointed to be inside tents for at least half the weekend. The real crime was the sheer amount of brilliant musical options causing painful clashes and so much music we couldn’t see. Alas, here’s our take on the Latitude moments we did manage to see…


The Headliners

Those chosen to headline any festival are often met with annoyed fans and derisive claims, but this year’s three at Latitude Festival really seemed to confuse and annoy the general public. Luckily, such foolish people surprisingly did not turn up to watch The 1975, Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes play in front of thousands and missed out on its excellence. Despite Matty Healy’s slightly unhinged/high as a kite onstage attitude, the quartet were exceptional, ‘A Change of Heart’ and ‘The Sound’ being the highlights of a stand-out set. They may have been an unusual choice for Latitude headliner but the huge turnout at the Arena totally proved any critics wrong.


Saturday saw the Gentlemen of the Road Takeover come to Latitude, with Mumford & Sons headlining helped along by a healthy spattering of extra special guests. Opening up with new album favourite ‘Snake Eyes’, the only sold out crowd of the weekend immediately showing their appreciation for the already folk-rock legends. The mixture of classic 2009-2012 tracks and those on 2015’s Wilder Mind seemed to blend well together in the set list, the only juxtaposition being in the crowd’s reaction to them. Baaba Maal and The Very Best join to perform some cuts from their latest EP ‘Johannesburg’ which go down a storm, as well as finish off the set with a goosebump-inducing rendition of ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ helped out by Lucy Rose, Maggie Rogers and Leon Bridges.

To finish the weekend, the perfect Sunday headliner presented themselves in the form of Fleet Foxes. It’s their first UK show in 6 years but you wouldn’t have known. Every moment is tight, precise and so serene it’s surreal. Robin Pecknold’s soothing vocals are as impeccable live as on record, if not more. The atmosphere in the arena was one of absolute serenity and joy with every song acting as a beacon of happiness and hope to everyone present. Although the set began on a few weak tracks, once Fleet foxes really got into their stride with ‘Mykonos’ and ‘White Winter Hymnal’ there was nothing holding them back from being one of the best acts of the weekend.


The Great…

Sigrid – If you haven’t heard of her yet, mark my words you will do soon. Set to be the next big pop sensation, the Norwegian 18-year-old stormed The Sunrise Arena on Friday, a woodland tent that is packed out beyond capacity to witness Sigrid’s incredible stage presence as well as her humble and kind charisma. Tracks like ‘Fake Friends’ and ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ are already hit classics yet every single song of the set appeared to be just as mind-bogglingly spectacular.

Parcels – It’s midnight, heading into Sunday morning at the SOLAS stage, a small forest clearing with a stage placed within. The Australian band’s latest single was produced by ½ of Daft Punk – hopefully, that’s a clue to their brilliance. The woodland arena decorated with a giant disco ball was the perfect home for Parcels, their 70s nostalgia-inducing fiery tunes like ‘Overnight’ and ‘Older’ had everyone letting their grooviest moves run free.


Shame – Flying around the stage like monkeys on the loose, Shame put most other acts this weekend literally to shame. Screeching the words to ‘The Lick’ and ‘Gold Hole’, Shame are leaving the idea that they’re new kids on the block, they’re paving the way in this new subgenre. Their ferocious energy, specifically from frontman Charlie Steen (yes, Steen not Sheen), is infectious and has teens and embarrassing dads by the Lake Stage moshing without hesitation. They are #winning.


GIRLI – Another young woman who knows what she wants to do and how she’s going to do it. Clad head to toe in pink, it’s 1am Saturday Morning at the Alcove Stage where GIRLI stirs her crowd up into the biggest frenzy witnessed all weekend. With tracks like ‘I’m Gonna Jump Your Mother In The Street’ to ‘Fuck Right Back Off To LA’, we can’t help but go wild to her relatable lyricism and natural flow.

Strong Asian Mothers – on a normal day, Strong Asian Mothers create a live experience like no other, but at Latitude they took it to a whole new level, bringing their actual Strong Asian Mother into the middle of a mosh pit! Legends! More mosh pits arise as the Londoners drop dirty beat after dirty beat, it’s impossible to not get drawn into their ever expanding energy, if we found the source we may just be able to solve climate change.


…and the not so great

HMLTD – The new romantics were exciting once, but it’s 2017 now. They may be being hyped due to their eccentricities and off-kilter alternative tracks, but after their Latitude performance I feel like HMLTD are nothing more than interesting faces put over ridiculous music. Maybe it was an off performance, everyone I know has told me to see them live, but it was just terrible, really terrible. How terrible you ask? I’ll point you towards a passer-by’s comment “seriously that is the worst thing I’ve ever heard. It’s even worse than Ratboy” – yeah, that terrible.


Happyness – Although the sound quality undeniably let Happyness down this Sunday, it was a disappointingly “meh” set. The Alcove luckily got busier as the sound slightly improved and as their frontman changed his garms onstage to much audience excitement and distraction, but overall in a live setting their quality grungey tunes did not stand out. Maybe a more intimate venue would be a better location for them.


The Horrors – Walking into the Obelisk Arena was hardly a ghost town, but it certainly wasn’t busy for The Horrors set. Faris Badwan and co. seemed to regret that they were even there, even his drawled tones were signifcantly more drawled than usual. I’m sure the band have had to play ‘Still Life’ thousands of times and it grates on you after a while, but I’ve honestly never seen anyone so unenthused. Sorry Faris.