Latitude 2009

Dylan packs out comedy tent. Annuals. Bat For Lashes

Michael Bonner

Something of a full afternoon, I have to report. So busy, in fact, I've only just got round to my first beer of the day. But, happily, I also had my first Latitude highlight: Bat For Lashes.

Earlier, I caught Annuals. Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina they whip up a kind of Arcade Fire style racket, much bashing of anything that comes to hand and post-apocalyptic wailing.

They have two drummers, also, which adds to the momentum, while singer Adam Baker -- in a waistcoat and sporting a straggly beard -- throws himself into the songs. You have to admire their rather puppyish enthusiasm as they tear through each track, but they lack the Fire's rather more compelling vision.

I make a point of trying to catch Dylan Moran in the Comedy Arena, but it's impossible to get within a mile of it. It's rammed, and this is only at 3 in the afternoon.

So, instead, here's:


** Beer Fairy (green, M XL)
** Neil Young -- Harvest (beige, M M)
** Insbruck 1976 (green, M S)
** "Your favourite band sucks" (black, M L)
** The Goonies (blue with red braiding, M M)

And now, to the main stage for Bat For Lashes, aka Natasha Kahn and her striking collection of songs. She appears wearing a black dress with a skeleton print, a gold head dress and streaks of gold and blue on her face. "Sorry I'm wearing such a dull outfit," she says, somewhat inexplicably. "I was expecting rain."

The songs are beguiling and idiosyncratic and comparisons with Kate Bush or Bjork are, perhaps, inevitable. I'm even reminded, on a song called "Sarah", of an early Eurhythmics' track, "Jennifer". She comes on to a sussurus of violin effects, waving little bells on a chain. We get ju-ju rhythms, harpsichords and, at one point, she's even banging a pole on the stage. There's also some strange old wooden box she manipulates. Quite what it does, or what it's called, I don't know, but it's all very dramatic, very atmospheric.

The set, sadly, gets cut down - piano problems, it seems. Excellent stuff, though.

Anyway, off to try and catch some of the Hold Steady before Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Back later.


Editor's Letter

The Fourth Uncut Playlist Of 2015

This week's big distraction has been what appears to be a crazy number of early Aphex Twin tracks accumulating on Soundcloud (I've added the link below). Among the new stuff, though, please try Bop English; the new solo project of James Petralli from White Denim.