Latitude 2009

Alberta Cross

John Mulvey

I just found one of the coolest stages I can remember seeing at a British festival. There’s a lake in the middle of Latitude, and a densely wooded slope that runs down to it. Somewhere fairly deep into these woods is the Sunrise Stage, and it’s here that I find Alberta Cross.

The stage is in a small clearing, with some loose canvas covering that isn’t quite a tent. Behind the band, all you can see is trees, apart from a couple of portaloos to the side of the stage, which are useful if you want to see your heroes doing an anxious pooh seconds before they go on.

But anyway, Alberta Cross are ideally suited to this kind of getting-it-together-in-the-country kind of setting. An Anglo-Swedish quartet with a lot of hair and plaid and ripped denim, the heady smell that comes off them is redolent of Woodstock or Topanga Canyon, classic rock with a mellow, rustic sensibility. Consequently a lot of their excellent songs are strongly in the old Crazy Horse mode, complete with Jack Nitzsche-style keyboards. Maybe My Morning Jacket, if you’re looking for a more modern reference.

It’s all good, and plenty of the set is unfamiliar from the mini-album (an Uncut debut of the month) that came out on Fiction a few weeks ago. It occurs to me that there should be plenty more people watching this, but as I’m heading out of the tent, I can hear Midlake playing “Roscoe” wafting over from the main stage, and it seemed a bit unfair that Alberta Cross had to play at the same time as an established band with such a similar aesthetic.

Oh, I also saw a bit of Emmy The Great, but she was a bit too Nanci Griffith for my taste. Got to dash and see Tinariwen on the Uncut Stage now. Later. . .


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