Antony & The Johnsons return to UK

The band close second day of Latitude festival

Antony & The Johnsons closed the second day of The Latitude Festival playing their first gig in the UK this year.

The band played the main Obelisk Arena last night (July 15) to a packed crowd.

Flanked by an 8-piece band including strings, backing singers and an accordionist, Antony Hegarty drew mainly from his Mercury Prize winning album ‘I Am A Bird Now’.

Among the highlights were the single only release ‘I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy’ a song, he revealed, that he wrote when he was 21 and living in New York, and ‘You Are My Sister’ which he told the audience to sing to each other. ”Especially to a man,” he said.

Another highlight was Patti Smith who dedicated a song to Syd Barrett. She also changed the lyrics to ‘My Blakean Year’ singing : “I’m standing at the sea at Southwold/Thinking how lucky I am/ Now I am singing at the Latitude Festival.”

Joined by original band member Lenny Kaye on acoustic guitar, Smith performed a new untitled work in progress, as well as classics ‘Redondo Beach’, ’Because The Night’ and the finale ‘Gloria’.

In the Uncut Arena Howling Bells played a storming mid-afternoon set, which included: ‘Low Happening’, ‘Broken Bones’ and new single ‘Setting Sun’.

Singer Juanita Stein told NME.COM: “Latitude’s got a really good vibe, it feels very hippy.” Guitarist Joel Stein said: “There isn’t any pretentiousness, everyone is walking around enjoying it.”

The Guillemots played the main Obelisk Arena, earlier in the day, decking out the stage in camouflage. With singer Fyfe Dangerfield on an ornate wooden chair, they ran through their quirky organ driven tracks including recent single ’Made Up Love Song # 43’.

Headliners tonight (July 16) include Mogwai, Mercury Rev and Jose Gonzalez.

Keep checking NME.COM for news and reviews from the Latitude site.