All the best bands from Latitude

The first band of the weekend to catch Clash’s discerning ears were The Joy Formidable.

The three-piece took to the Sunrise arena - a little stage surrounded by woodland - and unleashed a hi-octane wall of noise that sounded like My Bloody Valentine covering Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They bashed out a euphoric cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘The Wanderer’ for their penultimate song, before bringing proceedings to a close with the fuzz-heavy ‘Austere’, which was all pounding drums, avalanches of guitar and harmonised backing vocals.

The bar was set high for The Aliens, who were the third act of the day to take to the main stage, but they rose to the challenge with their off-the-wall brand of psychedelic pop-funk. They strutted and jerked their way through most of their unanimously praised debut album, ‘Astronomy for Dogs’, and played a selection of their second long player, ‘Luna’, due out this September, which were packed with mechanical funk and warblings that sounded every bit as weird and wonderful as their debut.

After a deluxe Aberdeen Angus burger - it is a ‘boutique festival’ after all - Clash returned to the packed main stage for the night’s headlines, Franz Ferdinand. The Scots have been rather quiet of recent, but amid the smattering of songs from their back catalogue, they gave an indication of why. The quartet aired a generous selection of new material from their highly anticipated third album. The tracks weren’t greeted with the kind of ecstatic raptures with which the crowd welcomed their calling-card single, ‘Take Me Out’, but showed that frontman Alex Kapranos is about more than skittery new-wave and writing food blogs for the Guardian. The new songs take a left turn from the up-tempo off-kilter vibe of albums past and head-off down the autobahn with buzzing vintage synths and a none too subtle nod in the direction of Kraftwerk and Neu!.

Golden Silvers were up next as the dark clouds started to blacken the Suffolk skies. They are an odd band. If you imagine Joe Strummer singing cheesy pop songs occasionally bearing a weird resemblance to Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, all overlaid with ‘oohs and aahs’, you are just about there. As the heavens opened a couple of thousand festival goers crammed into the tent which was overflowing for their final track and most contagious to date, debut single ‘Arrows of Eros’.

Clash caught the end of Punch Brothers, who played a strangely captivating banjo-led cover of the Strokes’ ‘Heart in a Cage’ before the king of bleak Scottish songwriting Malcolm Middleton, he of ex-Arab Strap fame, worked his way through some gorgeous, hook-laden pop songs, intensified by his glum Glaswegian mumblings. He also produced the finest cover of the festival with a downbeat and achingly pretty version of N Trance’s early nineties happy hardcore chart-topper, ‘Set You Free’.

The final act of the night were Sigur Ros, who unfurled an enchanted dreamscape of whale-like vocals over a backdrop of soaring distorted guitars, the epic nature of which would put Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ to shame. As the rain poured down, glitter was released from high above the stage and blew out over the festival crowd, while a marching band circled the stage adding a blast of brass to the already densely layered tracks.

Among other notable acts on the final day were Foals, who pounded ear drums with their emotionally understated brand of dance orientated post-punk and knocked out a sharp set from their debut album, ‘Antidotes’, in between bragging about getting in a fight with Johnny Rotten and various cliched rock ‘n’ roll escapades. While a rather more modest Lykke Li had the masses swooning with a smorgasbord - excuse the trite Scandinavian pun - of Swedish electro. After opening with ‘Dance Dance Dance’ she weaved a fragile set of bitter-sweet introspection as gentle beats pattered away beneath her heartfelt vocals.

All other live music finished for the final act of the festival, Interpol, and the crowds congregated to see the post-Joy Division peddlers of moody punk par excellence close the festival. They wisely side-stepped the slower material from their back catalogue in favour of a aural barrage of faster paced numbers. After opening with a blistering rendition of ‘Pioneer from the Falls’, they bashed-out their way through a frenetic set and encored with a version of obscure early album track, but firm live favourite, ‘Stella was a Diver’ before the weary festival-goers drained from the main stage field and set-off in search of more booze and some dance-fuelled mayhem to see them through into the early hours.


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