Liam Gallagher’s surprise mix of new music and Oasis hits had the crowd going absolutely nuts at Latitude

THE thirteenth edition of Latitude was blessed with the kind of weather you’d expect at Coachella — it was so dry the problem wasn’t the mud but the dust.

The sunshine seemed to give the whole weekend a kick up its usual slightly complacent, middle class posterior and it was the most energised Latitude I can recall.

Liam Gallagher surprises fans with a set at Latitude Festival and plays some of his classic hits
Alamy Live News

The bill was dominated as usual by guitar bands some of whom fared better than others: The Breeders, for example, were thrilling, The Killers, less so.

But the bookers had taken some adventurous decisions — sticking Solange on as the Friday night bill topper was a left field move that rewarded the smaller crowd willing to give it a go with a set that grew in power and range to become something quite beautiful and memorable.

Other sets across the weekend I warmed to included a power punk display by Parquet Courts, the ever enthused Charlatans and Sleeper, and a light and bright turn by Belle and Sebastian.

But it’s the surprises at Latitude that are always the biggest reward.

Brandon Flowers
Liam Gallagher joins The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers on stage at Latitude Festival
Rex Features

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This year musically for me that meant Confidence Man on the Lake Stage, an Aussie ravey band with a boy/girl front pairing who were hilarious and terrifying at the same time, and the superb French keyboard band La Femme, channelling Plastic Bertrand in a Gallic electric punk cocktail that was effortlessly cool.

But the biggest surprise wasn’t from a small name but a big one — an unpublicised surprise set by Liam Gallagher. He rapidly drew a word-of-mouth crowd of many thousands to the BBC 6 Music tent where his mix of new stuff and Oasis back catalogue had the crowd going absolutely nuts. When he finished with the double header of Wonderwall and Live Forever it was like an Evangelical prayer meeting.

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Latitude’s eclectic nature means there are always other aspects apart from music to dig into. This year I saw a superb comedy set by Mo Gilligan and a description of a prostate examination by Alan Davis that was eye watering and side splitting.

The holograms on the lake — where the swimming was back on this year thank goodness as it was the only way to cool down – were great. And in one surreal moment I found the panel of Gardeners’ Question Time doing their thing in a vintage VW Camper van – and was able to ask XXX for advice on my banana tree. You don’t get that at Reading.

Rating: ★★


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