Latitude may be winning plaudits aplenty for its high-calibre of established acts on the bill this year (hi Damon Albarn, The Black Keys and, as of yesterday, Lily Allen), but the new bands playing the bash are every bit as impressive too. The festival has always been known for shining a light on upcoming talent, and this year there's a wealth of up'n'comers who are worth your time.
"Why doesn't this say 'Optimus?'" wonders The War On Drugs' Adam Granduciel aloud, staring at a backstage hoarding. "They told me we were playing a festival called 'Optimus'..." He's not the only person who's been confused by the festival's last minute decision to change it's name to reflect the fact that sponsor Optimus (a phone company) is now known as ‘NOS’ following a merger. Fortunately, not much else has changed about Lisbon’s biggest festival.
I’ve spoken to some of NME’s resident Libertines scholars and we think that the last time Pete Doherty, Carl Barât, Gary Powell and John Hassall all took to a stage together anywhere in mainland Europe was most likely 20 February 2003, at Loppen in Copenhagen. As with much Libertines lore the truth is clouded with uncertainty and a fog of drugs, but in any case it was certainly over a decade ago.
The wags down the front shouting requests for a cover of ‘Taxman’ went home disappointed. Last night (July 10), Arctic Monkeys headlined the NOS Alive festival (formerly known as Optimus Alive) and while it’s hardly a surprise they failed to acknowledge their taxing recent news story they did give us a taste of what British audiences can expect from their headline shows this summer at T In The Park (this Sunday) and at Reading and Leeds (in August).
It's a festival tradition and an iconic sight - the Pyramid stage crowd at Worthy Farm all lit up in red. But should flares be allowed at Glastonbury and other major British festivals? That's the debate this week after reports of people throwing flares at other festival-goers at Libertines comeback show in London on Saturday.