Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New York @ Latitude 2010

Time for a very slight change of tack now. Last year I saw two truly impressive NYC acts at Latitude - Chairlift and Yes Giantess - neither of which I had heard live or possessed (at the time) any music by or from. I have posted about both and the Chairlift album 'Does You Inspire You' remains one of the most frequently played that I have; I bought it immediately afterwards.

This year I was equally blessed but the dynamic is slightly different. The thing runs like this: my fourth Latitude and so surely somehow the possibility of a disappointment beckoned.  Call me gloomy, like Eeyore, if you like but it was not to be so this time.
In fact it was possibly, as regards the music, the best I have yet attended and my main failing is that I am simply unable to be in more than one place at once. Last autumn I saw School of Seven Bells, as support to Bat For Lashes, in Bristol and they were very good.  'Alpinisms' remains a fine album, and I still like it, but when I was lucky enough to catch them playing live, once again, at Latitude 2010 I was in for a real surprise.

Here they are in the tented, 6500 capacity, 'Word Stage' early Saturday afternoon.

They were absolutely captivating playing songs from their second album 'Disconnect From Desire'. With my limited abilities this stage is not one at which I find it easy to take pictures but, although I say so myself, I'm rather proud of the above. It is unaltered except to shrink it to a blog-friendly size but, far more importantly, it encapsulates almost all that I like about festivals and live music in general.
The other NY band that I was absolutely delighted to see live is one that has divided opinion to some considerable extent.  I will say that I have pretty well all their recorded output, as it pleases me, but Brooklyn-based 'The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart' is clearly not to everyone's taste and I respect that.

They played the 'Sunrise Arena' early on Sunday evening. Some say that their music is derivative shoegaze, shambling, or even cutesy.  I'd say that it is actually all of these, and also so much more, simultaneously. I find it both captivating and also quite charming escapism.

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