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
While almost the entire festival seems to pack into the main stage arena for Hot Chip’s set, a few detractors have decamped to the Heineken Live Project tent to catch London vocalist/producer Sohn. They’re rewarded with a warm, melodic set of gorgeously realised electronic music. Sohn attracts comparisons with James Blake but here the pace is higher and the arrangements less spare. There’s a similar craft in the songwriting, with more than a hint of dark drama at play; Sohn is definitely one worth checking out for the future. LM
“Longitude! You’re all so individually and collectively cool!” Oh Hot Chip! You flatter us so. The feel good Londoners know how to share the love, and are a festival sure thing. Their sweet’n’lite electronic music is expertly progressed live, and it’s one of those sets than can be enjoyed in a frantic party mood up the front, or in swaying appreciation on the fringes.
Joe Goddard’s distinctive voice can sometimes come across as a little anaemic, but rollicking through Boy From School, Over And Over and Don’t Deny Your Heart it holds up well, with the surrounding members gleefully noodling with guitars, keyboards, synths, percussion and vocals throughout.
Sarah Jones, Hot Chip’s live drummer who also plays with New Young Pony Club, holds the set down perfectly, and a great, loose arrangement of Ready For The Floor’skedaddles brilliantly all over the place before still getting its point across. One Life Stand is a surprising highlight, as feet jaded from two days of festival action tap back to life. Perfect, sunny, fun stuff. UM
Until Kraftwerk unveil their 3D extravaganza, Flume has the neat visual onstage award in the bag. A mirrored box at the front of his riser makes an infinity loop of LEDs, complemented by a scifi swirl of cityscapes and bursts of colour on the large digital backdrop - not for nothing was his recent home tour called the Infinity Prism tour.
And the tunes aren’t bad either. Australian Harley Streten got a strong critical reception for his debut album, which was released late last year. He might be just 21 but he’s already showing that he’s got the electronic chops to cut it with acts more experienced than he is.
This is rich, uplifting music with a steady dynamic that rarely feels like it’s straying above 100bpm, and is comfortable in its Chromatics-like territory. It’s pristine, full of ideas and eminently listenable - check out Sleepless featuring Jezzabell Doran for a fine example of where he’s at. If there’s a criticism here, it’s that on day three of a festival, Streten doesn’t look as busy behind the decks as he could be - perhaps there’s a little bit of an overreliance on samples and backing tracks, and nothing is being left to chance. (It’s also worth noting for your final farewell that Ireland is not in the UK.)
It’s a quality set all the same, and a surprise treat for the huge crowd that floods over in the wake of Hot Chip on the main stage. LM
YEAH YEAH YEAHS
Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been around long enough, with a frequent enough output - the punk of Fever To Tell, the nuanced indie of Show Your Bones, the disco rawk of It’s Blitz! and the latest rather lo-fi Mosquito - that in a festival environment, they can fill a full set without delving into some of their best tunes. Date With The Night and Y Control are notably absent at Marlay Park, but there’s a more precious quality to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ live performances in recent years, and Karen O and co opt for several quiet moments with Soft Shock, Cheated Hearts, Turn Into and Despair. An early doors Phenomena also sounds surprisingly good.
Decked out in a sparkling suit with a motif that points to what would have happened if Keith Haring drew Basquiat’s crown, Karen O really gets things going with Zero, dispensing with the suit jacket and donning her infamous studded leather jacket. A beachball eye is booted out into the crowd, bobbing along until it disappears. It’s difficult to capture the small-room energy of Pin in a field, and as ever live it falls flatter than it should. This is a song that requires proximity and sweat, not open air and sunlight.