Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grace Jones, Pet Shop Boys - Festival Preview: Latitude 2009

Paul Cook 08/06/2009

The fourth Latitude Festival on 16th - 19th July this year returns with it's unique mix of music, film, poetry, comedy and literature and laid back, easy-going attitude to how a festival should be done. With the live music and festival scene blossoming in the wake of physical music's gradual downfall, the competition to be the best festival is hotting up year on year. With the typical competition of festival goliaths Reading and Glastonbury admittedly impressive, what is it that makes Latitude so special?

Jack from Obelisk Arena's White Lies claims that Latitude is unique for it's "colourful sheep, stages in the forest and boat rides. Because there aren't many festivals I know where you can enjoy such pleasures. Also, the food there, it seems to be much better than the usual festival fodder. The forest, it's an amazing place to be after dark and definitely take a boat ride too." Meanwhile Jan Rosenfeld of Yes, Giantess says the best thing besides the music at Latitude is "The setting - I've already got beautiful images floating around in my head."

In terms of the music lineup this year it truly is a diverse mix of styles, genres and eras and is summed up most aptly by the term 'eclectic'. Years of experience meet fresh-faced enthusiasm in every tent and arena and the laid-back approach to assorted offerings of music, film, poetry, literature and drama make Latitude the quickly maturing festival to experience.

Obelisk Arena

The very special announcement of a solo Thom Yorke performance in a specially created Sunday slot recently made Latitude's lineup even more impressive. Melvin Benn, spokesmen for the festival says that the Radiohead frontman's announcement at the festival "fills me with enormous pride at the statement it makes about the festival - I am overjoyed at the thought of it."

Thom Yorke

Headlining the Obelisk Arena this summer are three very different acts, all with one thing in common; Experience. The professional careers of The Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds total over 80 years and although some may sniff at the 'older generation' of music on offer at Southwold's Sunshine Coast venue of Henham Park, there are plenty of new up-and-comers for the younger folk too.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are certainly the band to see at Latitude this year, off the back of their fantastic fourteenth album Dig, Lazurus, Dig! and Nick Cave's phenomenal efforts scoring The Assassination of Jesse James they're a band with as much live performance credentials as many of the other bands put together. Cave's other musical venture, Grinderman played the festival last year, and this year Cave and his 'Bad Seeds' will headline the closing day.

Several of the accompanying bands on the tour are also very excited to see Nick Cave and Co. at this year's Latitude Festival including Rocky from The Chakras - "I saw Nick Cave in Dublin Castle and was ridiculously impressed with the performance." Comedian Dave Fulton adds "I'm Probably most excited about Nick Cave (& the Bad Seeds) as I sometimes still can't believe he's still alive all things considered!" White Lies' drummer Jack Brown comments "there are so many acts I would love to see this year. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grace Jones, Spiritualized and Bat For Lashes are the big names for me."

Regina Spektor also features on the Obelisk stage with her soulful folk/acoustic style and gentle, smooth vocals. New album Far is due for release on June 23rd and Latitude Festival-goers will be some of the first fans to hear the new material live.

Pet Shop Boys having recently released tenth album Yes and receiving the Brit award for outstanding contribution to British music, headline the opening day of the festival this year.
Doves and Editors, who seem to be travelling the UK festival circuit in tandem this summer, also grace the Obelisk Arena. Doves will be performing a mix of old and new from Some Cities to brand new album Kingdom of Rust..

Other highlights of the Obelisk Arena include NME-favourites and 80's-retro-esque White Lies, Latitude returner Patrick Wolf and Scottish-duo The Pretenders. Also well worth a look are Leeds' fantastically moody, soaring four piece Wild Beasts and London/Brighton youngsters Flashguns who have gone from BBC1 Introducing Stage at last years Reading Festival to main stage at this years Latitude.

Wild Beasts

Uncut Arena

Headlining this years Uncut Arena is again an eclectic mix ranging from the full-force pop rock of The Gossip to the “space-rock” sounds of Spiritualized* and Radiohead-recommended Bat for Lashes. It seems that each day has a mix of chilled out acoustics and full-on entertainment-factor pop/rock acts. Latitude is one of only two festivals where Beth Ditto and co. will be performing in 2009 and the only UK festival to catch Spiritualized*. Squeeze, Newton Faulkner and Magazine join the above trio on the Uncut Arena.

Danish alt-rock band Mew are also one of the exciting recent announcements who will grace the Uncut stage this year, with new material from their fourth album due to be released mid-August this year lucky Latitude attendees will no doubt be the first fans to hear the material live.

Leeds' iLIKETRAINS will also be appearing on the Uncut stage with their dark, brooding style along with Ladyhawke, Saint-Etienne and The Temper Trap among others.

Sunrise Arena
Little Boots

Little Boots having shot to fame faster than anyone might have predicted and hot off the back of a Brits Critics Choice nomination and BBC Sound of 2009 award will play the first headline spot of the Sunrise Arena on the opening day of the festival.

American electro-pop band Passion Pit headline the second day with their joyous, electro-pop infusion having released debut album Manners just a fortnight ago. One of the years most tipped acts and well deserving of a headline spot on any stage, Passion Pit are the ones to catch if Grace Jones isn't your thing.

The final day's Uncut Arena headliners are as yet unannounced but the stage does feature some more impressive acts across the board including the exciting electronica outfits 65daysofstaticand Kap Bambino along with pop band Skint and Demoralised.

The Lake Stage

Bombay Bicycle Club

Playing host to the BBC Introducing bandwagon and curated by Huw Stephens himself, The Lake Stage is one of this years most promising stages and one that is unfortunately tucked away in the advertising for the festival.

Two of Latitude's best new acts, both hailing from London are the funked-up Golden Silvers and the fantastic youngsters Bombay Bicycle Club who are first and second on the bill and will no doubt be a highlight of the weekend. Bombay Bicycle Club will be performing just two weeks after releasing their much anticipated album I Had the Blues but I Shook Them due for release on July 6th. Further attention-grabbers are GIITTV-tipped Post War Years with their experimental mix of electronic ambience and offset rhythms and Norway's Casiokids furthering an aural-experimentation of electronic sounds.

More God is in the TV favourites feature on The Lake Stage lineup in the form of another Leeds four-piece Pulled Apart by Horses and Sheffield's folk-pop duo Slow Club. Furthermore there's the delicate sounds of Marina and the Diamonds and Speech Debelle.

Former attendees of the Latitude Festival reminisce about their time spent enjoying it in previous years;

Poet, Luke Wright - "I really enjoyed Jarvis Cocker in 2007, but the best thing has got to be Carol Ann Duffy last year in The Poetry Arena."

White Lies - "We were lucky enough to play Latitude last year, and stay for pretty much the whole weekend. I really enjoyed Crystal Castles set in the middle of the forest, and also The Do's set there too."

Writer Richard Milward - "I performed at Latitude 2007, it was a blast! I loved Gruff Rhys - especially how he went to town with the backdrop of the Air Cabin crew. It was mind-blowing, really psychedelic, and hadn't heard much of his solo stuff before."

A brief but concise summary of the acts to look out for at this years Latitude Festival with many, many more unmentioned, the music lineup is without doubt one of the most exhaustive and eclectic of the festival circuit. However, it is of course not the only wonderful thing about Suffolk's biggest festival. Poetry, Literature, Film, Drama and much much more is on offer:


Comedians and Comediennes aplenty as always, Latitude's comedy tent will be graced by the likes of Jo Brand, Ed Byrne, Mark Thomas and Sean Lock this year with a host of similarly brilliant gems of the comedy circuit in support. The eccentric Dave Gorman along with Never Mind The Buzzcocks' regular Sean Hughes and Australia's Adam Hills also headline the comedy tent. Fresh from Live at the Apollo and a tour of the UK's universities Stephen K Amos is also one of many must-see comedians at the festival this year.

Stephen K Amos


As ever, Latitude boasts the best (and in many cases only) poetry tent lineup this year with some of the biggest and best known poets performing. Simon Armitage stands out as one of best-known British poets of our generation, hailing from Huddersfield and recipient of a plethora of awards including an Ivor Novello award for his lyrics for Channel 4 film Feltham Sings.
Andrew Motion, 10-year-poet laureate for the UK since 1999, will mark the end of his laureate status headlining the poetry tent at this year's Latitude festival. He is also joined by fellow Philip Larkin admirer Brian Patten and Scottish poet Jackie Kay (MBE) in the headline spot.

Film and Music

Some interesting acts grace the Film and Music Stage this year with an acoustic performance from London folk-pop duo Turin Brakes, a DJ set by GIITTV-favourites Belle and Sebastian and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. There is also the Soul/Ska/Reggae/Gospel/Rap concoction that is God's Jukebox presented by Mark Lamarr. The London Short Film Festival will also be in attendance showcasing the best British and International short films.

For further details of the musical, poetic, literary and theatrical offerings across Latitude's many many stages visit the offical website.

'Latitude Official Website >' link