Longitude day two: Local Natives, Villagers, Vampire Weekend
Local Natives delivered a superb set, after an instrumental dig out from Villagers who also gave them a run for their money in the show stakes, while Vampire Weekend had the double-edged sword of the headline spot
Villagers: A world-class act with a superb festival set
“This isn’t the Ireland I know, I’m kind of confused.” Us too, Local Natives. The shock caused by Dublin in the sunshine from some of the visiting bands leads to a kind of delightfully smug reaction from the crowd. Topman have probably sold out of vests at this point. Everyone might as well cancel their holidays and scoff at people travelling to sunnier nations for their festival fix minus the rain. Grab a beer, find some shade, and soak up the tunes on day two of Longitude, as those with less foresight queue outside holding cardboard signs looking for tickets, a trope you’re more used to observing in Croke Park than Marlay.
Warning Sign is what Fleet Foxes would have come up with if they were locked in a Talking Heads chamber, and Local Natives nail it in all its frantic glory. While en route from Berlin on Saturday morning, the band had their guitars and keyboards “mislaid” by their airline. The set is dedicated to Villagers, who gave them a dig out and leant instruments to the LA four-piece.
Camera Talking skips along like a pebble on a pond, full of vitality and fun. A tune is dedicated to anyone who has ever conspired in making fools of themselves with the band in Whelan’s, their favourite post-gig drinking hole. And Heavy Feet, with its The National-esque drumming, pushes a great set along.
Ending with a plug for their upcoming gig at the Olympia, they finish with Sun Hands, a raucous song and a lesson in control from a band that has come on in leaps and bounds since their early Irish shows in the basement of the Academy. As a thrown drumstick is snatched out of the air by a punter whose reactions should be applauded, the gig ends with whoops and whistles. A perfect afternoon concert. Well played, Local Natives - you are now local heroes. UM
Electro pop duo Youg Wonder come from Cork, but you’d be forgiven for thinking they hail from Iceland or Scandinavia, given the chilly sheen to their aesthetic and the polished, synth-driven sound to their music. Rachel Pixie pitches her vocals at the high end of the spectrum, with loops and samples, from beneath the hood of what likes a wolf/bear avatar suit, while Ian Ring builds up the beats and tracks, with occasional help from a guest guitarist. The band have invested heavily in their video backdrops, looping music videos and glitzy scenes largely featuring Pixie, but the music and instrumental set-up doesn’t match the scale of their ambition, and the music feels thin and underdeveloped.
Currently, this electro genre seems to be the most competitive in music – think Grimes, Purity Ring and Soil Collectors, and that’s before you go near the prime movers such as Bjork and The Knife – so it needs to be richly refined to stand out. By comparison, Young Wonder feel like music in progress. LM