Longitude day three: Hot Chip, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kraftwerk
The big guns came out to play on the last day of the festival, but there were a few gems to be discovered away from the headline slots
German electronic band Kraftwerk unleash their 3D show. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters
It’s a mark of The Minutes’ growing standing that the Woodland stage is packed out for their 4pm set, so much so that marshals are on hand to filter people in in waves. Maybe it has something to do with the huge sounding ripping off the stage that attracts idle passers-by - the Dublin three-piece must deliver the best power-to-player ratio of the weekend, in an enormously energetic set that shakes, rattles and rolls this corner of the Longitude forest.
The band have a reputation for a cracking live show, and a heavy touring schedule in recent years has made them one of the tightest outfits around. It’s furious, unapologetic, swaggery rock - and if you like your music straight up hard, with no mixer, then accept no substitutions. This is an outstanding shift of work. LM
Mark Lanegan is not exactly what you would call perfect festival fodder: he’s bleak and foreboding; he anchors himself behind his microphone and rarely moves from it; his band are dressed entirely in black as if they are affronted by the fine weather; and his songs are about as sunny as his disposition.
But what songs. Lanegan and his band carry this set with what feels like sheer force of will and sound, creating a cacophonous, bluesy belter of a set that drenches the main stage crowd in sonic shock and awe. Hit The City’s unloaded early and causes the unwary in the crowd to stop and stare. Lanegan’s voice, like gravel being emptied down a galvanised gutter, could reduce children to tears at 200 paces. And the set highlight is an almost terrifying Methamphetamine Blues, which sounds like an army on the move. Terrific stuff. LM
Longitude has some great Irish debuts from touring bands, and there’s a sizeable buzz about London Grammar, a young UK three-piece who signed to Warner/Chappell last month, and are no doubt already angling for a top spot at next year’s BBC Sound of 2014 list.
Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dot Major very much encapsulate a sound that a lot of young British bands are striving for, that ambient live electronic space occasionally visited by dubstep, drama and urban minimalism. Luckily, all of those aims are met. Once again, thanks to the excellent sound on this stage, the music coming from the beer-endorsed speakers sounds crisp, full, bassy and loaded with atmosphere. London Grammar need all of these things to get their tunes across, and not once during their afternoon set do they slip up.
Reid’s voice immediately calls to mind Florence Welch, but fuller and more emo, punching each note with forlorn melodrama that covers those inside the tent and also those lounging on the grass outside with brooding force. Their Metal & Dust EP gets a run out, as does Wasting My Young Years, a calling card that sounds fully formed and mature beyond the band’s even collective age. A hugely promising act who nail their gig in Marlay. UM
HALF MOON RUN
Half Moon Run arrive at Longitude as something of an unknown quantity, with just two singles having done the rounds for the Montreal rockers. So when they put in a stunning set of joyful music, and make themselves the find of the festival, you have to wonder where they’ve been hiding all this time.
The band match four-part folky vocal harmonies with some squally, full-blooded guitar riffs, and complex rhythms- at one point all four are playing some form of percussion, and drummer Dylan Phillips has permanently ditched toms in favour of playing half a kit while lashing out melodic keyboard lines. It might sound gimmicky, but it’s deeply effective, and the band play with a tightness and groove that’s usually only fair to expect from a group who have been many more years on the road.
Call Me in the Afternoon is their calling card, and here it’s delivered with cracking energy from a band who look delighted to be on stage. The Woodlands tent might not be packed, but everyone leaves a Half Moon fan. The band return to Dublin in November for a gig in the Workmans Club- expect it to sell out on foot of this pearl of a performance. LM