Solange headlined the first night of Latitude 2018 last night (July 13) with a fittingly sophisticated set of glitch R&B and slick full-band dance moves.
Arriving onstage beneath a gigantic white balloon hoisted between two huge pyramids, with her entire band dressed in uniform pearl white, Solange delivered a 50-minute set of modernist soul and R&B, retro bubblegum pop and heartfelt balladry, telling the crowd “I want a charge, I wanna build a frequency”.
With her band often lining up across the front of the stage to perform minimalist dance moves like an AI soul band, she opened with ‘Rise’, the opening track from her 2016 third album ‘A Seat At The Table’ which built to a climax of relentless intensity. She delved further into the album, which dominated the set, with glitchy retro soul tracks ‘Wary’ and ‘Don’t You Wait’ before venturing back to her 2012 EP ‘True’ for the downbeat pop of ‘Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work’, which climaxed with a huge crescendo of frustrated screaming.
Staccato horns introduced ‘Mad’, a treatise on the suppression of African-American anger which found Solange snarling “I got a lot to be mad about… but I’m not really allowed to be mad”. She then headed out to the barrier to sing ‘F.U.B.U.’ as a sassy horn section strutted onstage for an atonal jazz freak-out to round off Solange’s show-stealing dance routine.
Following the slinky funk of ‘Lovers In The Park’, Solange told the crowd “around this time last year we were playing Glastonbury for my birthday, so to stand here tonight and headline Latitude, I have so much gratitude in my heart. I want to thank you guys for this evolution. I wanna have conversation, I wanna see your faces, I want a charge, I wanna build frequency.” She then struck into soul ballad ‘T.O.N.Y.’ from her 2008 second album ‘Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams’, which morphed into the livelier ‘Bad Girls (Verdine Version)’.
“I wanna turn this place into a junior high school party, I wanna see how Latitude can dance,” she told the crowd, introducing the spangly 80s pop of ‘Losing You’. The encore consisted of funk beast ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ and a reprise of ‘Rise’, with Solange conducting the epic finale.
Across the site, James stormed a packed and enthusiastic BBC Music Stage with a set mingling classic anthems such as ‘Laid’, ‘Come Home’ and ‘Sometimes (Lester Piggott)’ with selections from new album ‘Living In Extraordinary Times’. Earlier in the day, Tune-Yards delivered an esoteric set of quirky Afrotronic tunes and genre-clashing mood pieces, Belle & Sebastian indulged in some retro 60s beat pop and Confidence Man wowed a wild crowd at the Lake Stage with fiery disco dance routines involving Sugar Bones and Janet Plane miming gunfights, donning neon bras and shoulder pads and wearing masks of each others’ faces.
Latitude continues today with headline sets from The Killers and Mogwai and sets from The Vaccines and The Breeders.