It’s 16 years since the Avalanches’ era-defining ‘Since I Left You’. How can a follow-up that took so long sound so meh?
Latitude Festival 2013
Henham Park, Suffolk Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21
White Denim kick off Saturday by proving that sometimes, originality isn’t everything. One minute they sound like Supergrass, the next The Black Keys, the next like any other generic guitar band from the last two decades. Despite the obvious influences, there’s enough energy behind singer Josh Block’s howling vocal and the Austin natives’ blues-rock shredding to guarantee a good time. Jagwar Ma are an irrepressible ball of energy, transforming ‘The Throw’ and ‘Exercise’ into looping swirls of Haçienda-indebted party anthems. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, meanwhile, prove that Karen O is still the most badass frontwoman around. Decked out in neon yellow and a crown, she bounds, shrieks and writhes around the stage, spitting out (relative) newie ‘Sacrilege’ and oldie ‘Date With The Night’ with equal ferocity. Hot Chip might not have the New Yorkers’ punk spirit, but Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard’s nerd disco is always a crowd-pleaser, and ‘Over And Over’ never fails to unite. Which leaves Kraftwerk – the weekend’s hottest tickets, but not the most festival-appropriate act. Though their 3D visuals and stage aesthetics are incredible, the crowd are appreciative rather than enthusiastic. There are small bubbles of activity for ‘The Model’ and ‘Autobahn’ (complete with floating 3D road signs), but the majority of the Germans’ immaculate set is met with stillness. No-one would dare ruin their street cred by admitting it, but, seminal or not, Kraftwerk don’t really work
at a festival.
Sunday hosts a special afternoon performance from Bobby Womack, whose warmth on recent career-rejuvenating hit ‘The Bravest Man In The Universe’ cradles the crowd’s flagging Sunday spirit. James Blake is just as soothing, though less engaging, come mid-afternoon. ‘Limit To Your Love’ stands out, but in the blaring sun he sounds a little cold. It’s left to Swim Deep to bring the party vibes. Their album may not have landed yet, but everyone already knows the singles ‘The Sea’, ‘Honey’ and a final ‘King City’. Grizzly Bear are the spine-tingling penultimate band of the weekend, ‘Yet Again’ and ‘While You Wait For The Others’ soaring into the dusk before Foals round things off with a performance so visceral and fiery, it feels like their entire career has been leading up to this point.
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