Reviews: Longitude festival day two
Haim electrify Marlay main stage and Disclosure easily live up to headline billing
Haim perform on the Main Stage at Longitude Fesitval at Marley Park. Photograph: Allen Kiely.
Disclosure perform on the Main Stage at Longitude Fesitval at Marley Park. Photograph: Allen Kiely.
The amount of quality bands emerging from Ireland in recent years is relentless, but this latest overlap is something very special indeed. The focus is Lar Kaye, better known as the frantic guitarist from Adebisi Shank and Conor Adams of Cast of Cheers. As a three-piece live they instantly dismantle any notions that a 2pm slot on the Main Stage at a festival should ease punters into the day. Tvvins play anthemic and euphoric tunes that turn the instruments emitting their noises on their heads. There’s a grinning sense of fun to it, showing that Tvvins are ready for this large stage and beyond. Una Mullally
It’s a typical weekend for Hozier, who has just come from playing Latitude in Suffolk to Marlay Park, and will leave to play Benicassim in Spain after this gig. “It’s good to be home,” he announces, almost sighing with relief from the stage. Maybe all that travel is making the band a tiny bit sluggish as there’s are a few moments where the energy of his accompanying musicians should be more bombastic. But Hozier’s voice and guitar playing are impeccable, as he skips through the soulful radio-baiting songs from his upcoming debut album. Sedated, especially, is a beaut. UM
The soulful London 22-year-old is part of a clutch of acts that came to prominence by guesting on Disclosure’s excellent album Settle alongside London Grammar and AlunaGeorge. But he’s all out on his own here, in front of a large “SS” stage backdrop and a tight band with a big groove. Bashful and grateful, Smith completes the task of providing Saturday with its first big dancing and singing along moment with the brilliant Money On My Mind. Two years ago, he says, he was working in a bar, now he’s coming to Dublin and getting a big crowd. He’s delighted, and so are the fans. UM
There’s a certan brand of Scandinavian pop that’s been subtley elbowing it’s way to the top of the musical food chain: stylish, angular and edgy, with the likes of Robyn, Royksopp and MØ leading the pack. Swedish electro pop outfit Nonono are also in the gang, though slightly more mainstream than some of their Nordic peers. There’s plenty of dark drama in their songs, buffed to a high productino sheen and powering along on pure 1980s emotion. Heart shapes are made, guitar poses are pulled, drum sticks are thrown and singer Stina Wäppling plays the crowd like a charm. It might not be all that musically adventurous, but this is a fine set of music by a band delighted with their glowing reception on the Whelan’s stage. Laurence Mackin
Chvrches suffered that age old touring summer festival band affliction at Longitude when half of their gear didn’t show up, but nevertheless, they soldiered on with Lauren Mayberry carrying the set with an almost impeccable vocal performance. Although there is something of a repetitiveness to Chvrches sound both in tone and tempo, it’s an engaging turn, with tracks like The Mother We Share and Recover holding off the rain. From a production point of view, Chvrches could do with more bells and whistles, but their shoutout to the crew for having patience while they reconfigured their equipment pre-gig was explanatory and sweet. UM
Joey Badass doesn’t mess around. DJ Static Selectah gets about a minute to warm up the crowd before he rolls on stage, and within a few moments of his old school New York rhymes, he’s turned the Heineken tent into a block party, sucking in anyone who happens to drift by. The sound is less than perfect, but Badass’s flow is slick and assured. He’s also got the confidence to slow the pace down and carry the crowd, before winding back up again for a fresh musical punch. He may not have the aggression of Kendrick Lamar, say, but there’s plenty to please in the smoothness of his delivery. Having founded hip-hop collective Pro Era, and released three mix tapes, Badass is now finishing his debut album. Expect to hear much more from the Brooklyn rapper in the future. LM
Back on the Whelan’s tent, an eight-piece San Fermin are working their way through their infectious, Americana pop. It’s a heady brew of brass and drums, guitars and vocals, with Rebekah Durham’s violin lending things an occasional Cajun spice. Singer Charlene Kaye, who replaced Rae Cassidy in the band in April, seems to have grown into the role, with most tracks building around her vocal. Live, the band focus on the more crowd-pleasing end of their repertoire, forgoing some of the more ambitious, sprawling elements from their eponymous debut album. It’s pleasant, without being astonishing and you get the impression that those in the tent are ardent fans. Few stragglers will have stumbled in and stayed for the duration of this one. LM
When O Emperor burst on to the scene with Hither Thither, their musicianship and playing set them apart from their young musical contemporaries. Now, two albums in, they seem to be intent on going further down a prog rock route, and here a mid-set new song hums with the slick musicianship of Steely Dan fans. Their playing is as tight as you will see at Longitude all weekend, and a flawless, almost facsimile Let’s Dance convinces the Whelan’s stage to follow suit. It’s a fair question, though, of why a band with a decent repertoire is resorting to straight-up covers. LM
Haim have been playing the tunes from Days Are Gone for some time now, so it’s no wonder their muscle memory makes them one of the best live rock acts in the world at the moment. Their sets rarely waver from gig to gig, but this is a looser, more free flowing interpretation of many of the tracks, early on bordering on a little messy before being whipped into a controlled frenzy by the time Let Me Go is belted out. The now frequent addition of Beyonce’s XO is stunning, but it’s the telepathic sisterly rocking out on the Main stage that makes Haim fizz. UM
It could be argued that Le Galaxie drew the short straw being up against Disclosure on the Main Stage, but they still have a fanbase big enough to draw a decent crowd into this tent, although you’d imagine if they clashed with something non-electronic the place would be heaving. Le Galaxie have a new album on the horizon, but it’s the Fade 2 Forever EP tracks that fizz the most - The Nightcaller, Heat City, and Elaine Mai stepping up to the mic for Love System. MayKay of Fight Like Apes bursts on to stage in a typically brilliant appearance, and there’s plenty of stage climbing and air punching to close the night. UM
When Disclosure start their headlining set, the sun is still warming the sky, but by the time they finish, darkness has fallen and they’ve turned the vast expanse of Longitude main field into a pulsing, clattering, cacophonous club. This is a masterclass in electro pop, and although there are just Guy and Howard Lawrence on stage, there’s a terrific live feel to everything they do. Plenty of bands working off loops, laptops and samples often look like they are simply going through the electro motions – you couldn’t accuse Disclosure of that. Opening the set with a fevered F for You sets the pace, and it doesn’t drop from there, with the pair building layer upon layer of polished, propulsive music offset by terrific, spare glitchy visuals. White Noise is superb, Help Me Lose My Mind is a gift. And Sam Smith does the decent thing and hangs around for a scene-stealing Latch. This is a top class shift of work from a duo at the top of their musical game, and a terrific closing set that sends the festival stumbling off into the dark, hoping to keep their party going. LM