Thursday, April 29, 2010

Havoc In Heaven - Festivals 2010

It is time for something more uplifting or, at the very least, forward looking. This is what I intended to post about yesterday but in some ways I'm glad that I never did as I have rather more to add now.
To start with I am going to indulge my liking for American music - the reason being that I feel justified in doing so. I don't feel any compunction about this - UK music is in fine form too, the trade is bi-directional and long may it last for mutual benefit. I'll start my list with artists that I'm looking forward to, and of an acoustic bent. On the UK side these obviously include Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons.

On the American side, and like the above both now confirmed for
Latitude 2010, are the following:

The hat is probably more suited to the Manchester climate than that of California?

There have been parallels made in both cases, some of them quite tenuous, with Laura Marling. In all honesty I don't think that either side is likely to have any problem with the other. The really strange thing is that only a few years ago who could have imagined that, instead of hard-core rap, we would be trading banjo-wielding singer-songwriters?

Another artist and a stranger tale still is that of Jesca Hoop. We have long been used to UK artists eloping to the sunnier side of the Atlantic but she has now been co-opted as a Manucunian; the grey skies and drizzle perhaps being more conducive to song-writing? At least there is a good excuse to stay in and get on with it and, when it arrives,
the fleeting sun will seem far more precious!
On the other hand hers is not a conventional background anyway; she is from a musical, Mormon family but later trod her own path and in time that included being live-in nanny for Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan's three kids. Now that is something - Waits' music is challenging in itself, his comments on artists perhaps even more so. I'm not sure if she plays banjo but I wouldn't rule it out...

Lissie, a native of the part of Illinois bordering the
Mississippi River, most certainly does and without any need to apologize. She is performing on the 'Sunset Stage' at Latitude 2010. It is tented, relatively small and leaks if it rains, but is actually my favourite... I will never forget seeing Crystal Castles there in 2008 - it was possibly the most frightening live performance that I have ever seen.

Lissie is not going to be scary like that... but the reviews are already quite something and she seems to be setting-up-shop in the UK for what passes as our summer. If you want to catch her live, sooner rather than later, here's your chance.

That is not to dismiss the chance to witness a full set by Sweden's 'First Aid Kit' either. They had to cancel at Latitude 2009 but I did get to see them at EOTR 2009.

They are returning to Latitude 2010 supporting their first full-length album, 'The Big Black & The Blue', and for good reason.

Slightly modernised but only in a way that kept it relevant to the early 21st century their with-no-clever-tricks-at-all live take on 'Universal Soldier', written by Buffy Sainte-Marie and from the album 'It's My Way' (1964), was actually more devastating than it was sublime.
It was received with a resonance that befitted it - awe and total silence - and a rare moment when thoughts from the Cenotaph came to a festival.
Not many can do that and fewer those still in their teens - although many of those killed in The Great War were exactly thus.

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