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
All hail the tent’s sound engineers. Throughout the past two days the sound at the Heineken Live Project Stage has been almost perfect, a bit of a challenge where electronic music is concerned at festivals.
Gold Panda always draws an enthusiastic crowd and today is no different, as the joys of not having to wear wellies at festivals means more light-footedness for dancing.
The set really only comes alive though at the end when You is born. It’s a stunning track and one that fills the tent as the staccato hook flows through an extended version. As it slows down to a slur, the crowd is set up for an evening of smart electronic music later on. UM
Mø (pronunced Muh, which sounds slightly derogatory to our ears, though it’s actually old Norse for virgin) means business. The combustible Karen Marie Ørsted leads her band from the front, as they rip into a set of slabby, Scandi, synth-dance rock with agression and intent. The triggered drums and kit drive the tracks with punch, filled out by samples and loops, while Ørsted’s vocals, humming with ethereal power, form an intriguing contrast with the guitarist’s skittering, crisp lines. All this is backed up by a bizarre combination of looped videos featuring graffiti in progress, underwater sea wrecks, abandoned factories and was that Buddy Rich given it socks mid-solo?
Ørsted leaves nothing behind here, clambering across the speakers, rolling on the stage, pulling vocals up from the deep. Her vocals are occasionally unclear, thanks to the synthesized bass lines filling the lower frequencies, but it doesn’t inhibit a cracking set of cutting-edge music. Mø of this sort of thing please. Speaking of which ... LM
Anders Trentemøller hasn’t released a studio album in three years and I suppose it takes time to make electronic music as complex and surprising as this.
Live, Trentemøller is surrounded by gothic sounds; intense drumming, dark guitars, spooky synths, female vocals and a thundering mist of proggy vibes.
The set starts as slowly as the massive portaloo queue moves outside the tent, but over the course of the next hour it takes on a narrative and build as well-structured as anything you’re likely to witness over the weekend.
Whirling from punk-ish almost industrial breakdowns, weaving back into more traditional beats, occasionally descending into a ghost-train blitz of spooky synths and smoke machines, this isn’t for everyone; in fact it occasionally goes off on challenging meanders. But the set is loaded with intrigue, taking off at unexpected moments, and ultimately left everyone from the chin-strokers to those up for a bop satisfied. Well, everyone who stuck it out. UM
Temperatures set to simmering; a main stage filling out by the minute; Villagers back in Ireland for their first gig in a while; and above it all, Conor O’Brien’s voice ringing out clear as a bell. What more could you want?
Villagers seem to get better with each gig. What’s become apparent, even at shows as large as this, is the craft in O’Brien’s songwriting (his sunglasses lend him a Roy Orbison look that’s particularly apt). On record, particularly on his debut album Becoming a Jackal, the tracks come across as intense and intimate. Here, though, they simply soar. Nothing Arrived comes early in the set, and sets a high bar that gets pushed further and further; Becoming a Jackal still cuts and jabs just like it should, though perhaps surprisingly Home matches it in the crowd-singalong stakes.