Longitude review: Massive Attack brings epic set with political visuals

Marlay Park festival succeeds with electic mix of genres

Fans enjoy another hot day at Longitude festival at Marlay Park in Dublin at the weekend. Photograph: Allen Kiely

Fans enjoy another hot day at Longitude festival at Marlay Park in Dublin at the weekend. Photograph: Allen Kiely


At Sunday night at Longitude, Massive Attack showed that even at a festival for youngsters, you don’t need to be spring chickens to show how it’s done. An epic set with political visuals brought soul and a cerebral disposition to the second installment of this festival.

There are difficult second albums, and then there are difficult second years for festivals. After last year’s resounding success of Longitude’s debut, could it follow it up with a lineup that didn’t have as many big hitters?

The answer to that question can be measured in the roars of approval to highlight sets by Disclosure, Haim, Hozier and others, who all straddled the eclectic and rather cool selection of genres blaring over the PAs in Marlay Park in Dublin at the weekend.

The live music festival market is a crowded one, but Longitude, with its convenient enough location and well-programmed line-up, looks like a keeper in a competitive climate. All day the big screen flashed up complimentary tweets, the Garda presence was visible, and the security, staff and sound engineers all deserve a raise. Once again, however, the problem with too few women’s toilets saw huge, time- consuming queues, especially on Saturday.

Saturday’s highlight was Disclosure: two young brothers who have repackaged sophisticated house pop music for an audience that recognises the acts who featured on their first album Settle – Sam Smith, London Grammar, AlunaGeorge – as the new establishment.

Smith was present to close their set with the fantastic Latch in front of a stunning production of lights and simple trademark visuals. Saturday was packed, with that day’s line-up appealing to a larger audience than Sunday’s more chilled output and Friday’s slightly generic headliner in the form of Ben Howard. Less hectic Sunday Folk band First Aid Kit yesterday morning selected Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel covers to a crowd of outstretched people on the dry ground cradling cold pints of beer. The crowd was older and less hectic.

Booze played perhaps too large a part for the audience on Saturday, with young women being stretchered away to the welfare tent and young semi- conscious men too frequent a sight. The vibe though was largely friendly and courteous, from the electronic music- heavy Heineken stage, the Red Bull area in the woods hosting great DJs, including local lads and the excellent Greg Wilson, and a speakeasy tent featuring acoustic sets as spoken word.

A smaller live music Whelan’s stage hosted guitar-heavy line-ups. Rudimental arrived on stage yesterday as an up-for-it army, with scorching pure party music, including with their massive tune Waiting All Night.

Local musician James Vincent McMorrow brought his complex, beautiful songs back to the park, as his album Post Tropical is bringing him to play spectacular venues around the world. He geared everyone up for headliners Massive Attack, and as they turned up the volume, the promoters can add another success to their CV

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