Latitude 2009

Latitude: Wild Beasts

Michael Bonner

Just got back from Wild Beasts at the Obelisk Arena and it’s started tipping it down. After yesterday’s broadly sunny, hot weather, the heavens have clearly decided enough is enough. Still, without wishing to turn this into a Met Office update, let’s just say that the sun stayed out long enough to let us enjoy Wild Beasts.

I was certainly quite taken with singer/guitarist Hayden Thorpe’s rather striking mullet and cut-off demin jacket. If anything, it serves to locate them even more intrinsically in an era – the Eighties – with which they clearly have an affinity. The reference points, specifically, are The Associates (particularly Thorpe’s stunning falsetto), Orange Juice and The Smiths. But, particularly when they play songs from their new album, Two Dancers, you could be forgiven for detecting, for instance, the lush grandeur of late period Roxy Music.

Thorpe is happy to remind us that this is their third year at Latitude – I can’t off the top of my head think of any band who can make such a claim, so well done chaps. “We started off as young men, playing in the woods,” he says, before they graduated to the UNCUT Arena last year and now, “we’ve come of age” on the main stage.

There’s certainly plenty to enjoy here. The nimble interplay between Thorpe’s and Ben Little’s guitars is a joy; tremendous, life-affirming melodies swooping and swooning in the rolling Suffolk countryside. And, while admittedly they might not have drawn the biggest crowd of the day, everyone is clearly enjoying their set.

Anyway, I’m going to try and find a tent to keep dry in. I’ve been slightly slack this year in terms of seeing as much comedy as I’d like, so I’m going to see who’s on there. Hopefully, the rain might stop in time for The Vaselines and St Etienne in the UNCUT Arena later.

Pic credit: Richard Johnson


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