Florence And The Machine singer Florence Welch made a surprise appearance at the first day of Latitude festival yesterday (July 15).
Welch gave a speech at the tiny Film Arena to introduce Odyssey, the short film based on the videos for the singles from Florence And The Machine’s album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’. Directed by Vincent Haycock, the 47-minute film comprises the album’s six singles plus new scenes linking the videos’ overarching story and a new video for ‘Third Eye’.
Welch’s appearance wasn’t the only surprise during the festival’s first day. Christine And The Queens was joined by Perfume Genius during her set at the 6 Music tent. They played their collaboration ‘Jonathan’ from Christine’s album ‘Chaleur Humaine’ live for the first time.
Christine said after the song: “The best way I can describe Perfume Genius is that he’s a beautiful flower.” She then held up a red rose and compared it to Beyoncé, saying: “It’s wonderfully strong, you can imagine it saying ‘I woke up like this’”. She then held up a white rose and compared it to Rihanna, commenting: “It has pure sexual power, saying ‘Tell me what you’re willing to do.’” Christine then ate the head of the white rose.
At the end of her 50-minute show, Christine said: “That was the most unexpectedly moving set ever.”
The Maccabees closed the opening day with their first festival headline show. Although the set featured an impressive lightshow and four confetti cannons which went off at the end of main set closer ‘Something Like Happiness’ and final song ‘Pelican’, their show was otherwise set up like a regular Maccabees gig. Singer Orlando Weeks explained to the crowd: “The aim was to make it look like we’d done this before.”
Grimes closed the 6 Music second stage tent, with her show proving so busy that she had to warn the crowd after second song ‘Flesh Without Blood’: “Try not to injure yourselves. You’re looking a little squished.”
Preceding Grimes in the tent were Slaves, who previewed new songs ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘Rich Man.’ The duo were joined on stage during ‘Cheer Up London’ by fan Harvey, who had impressed Slaves during ‘Spit It Out’ with his dancing. After Harvey’s bodypopping throughout ‘Cheer Up London’, singer Isaac Holman said: “Harvey’s fucking winning here”. The band ended their show by jumping into the crowd.
Father John Misty also leapt into the crowd during an impassioned performance of ‘Holy Shit’ from his album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, with the same song featuring a smoke machine and Misty climbing the drum riser.
The Friday had begun with a showcase of the strength of Latitude’s comedy tent. With Katherine Ryan, Al Murray and Russell Howard on the bill, it opened with Dane Baptiste, whose sitcom Sunny D starts soon on BBC3. Baptiste’s jokes included: “Medicinal cannabis is on sale in the States. It’s proven to ease cancer. So how did Bob Marley die?”
British Sea Power closed their mid-afternoon main stage show by releasing two men in giant bear costumes to dance among the front rows, before Courtney Barnett continued her rise with an impressively assured main stage show.
The Anchoress was also an impressive early act, despite singer Catherine Anne Davies having to cope without a bass amp during her set at the Sunrise Arena.
The festival continues with The National, Chvrches, John Grant, Soulwax and Steve Mason on Saturday, before New Order, M83, The Lumineers, Of Monsters And Men and Roots Manuva play on Sunday.
Video: The Ultimate Guide To Latitude, By Promoter Melvin Benn