by / July 21st, 2014 /

What State Saw: Longitude 2014 – Marlay Park

The ostensible sister to renowned Suffolk festival Latitude, Longitude returned to Marlay Park for its second edition at the weekend last. Apart from the perpendicular naming, the two share very little in common. Latitude headliners Damon Albarn and the Black Keys avoided the south co. Dublin festival, while Longitude organisers MCD eschewed much of Latitude’s boutique trappings in order to capture a younger, brasher crowd. A brand name helped get this thing off the ground, but in its second year Longitude was, for better or worse, all its own creation. Here’s what our writers thought…

Friday

Bonobo – Heineken Stage

Within the first three minutes the Heineken tent is suddenly full as people rush in for Bonobo. Lush, downtempo and oh so warm, Simon Green and his band are intent on having a good time. There’s a good mix of electronic and analogous hitting the head and heart with great intensity, and the music really comes to life with a full repertoire of instruments underpinning them instead of just Green and his pedals. (GM)

Elliphant – Heineken Stage

After the muted Lykke Li and the confrontational MØ comes Elliphant, the latest pop starlet thrown up by Scandinavia. This one comes riding Diplo and MIA’s coattails, and she does so shamelessly, plundering Diplo’s hard drive for beats while he DJs in Hollywood comedies. It’s all hyperkinetic pop-dubstep to get the people going, as it were, but the energy is genuine, and it sounds like her raspy voice could break at any point, whether she’s mid rap or yelling “Fuck Yeah!” at the audience, who are delighted by the smorgasbord of noise. Hip-hop beats are constantly crashing, and a ream of sirens and klaxons assault the ears. The slower numbers are filled with sparse clicks and whistles, but it’s not long before Elliphant is leaning into the crowd to call them all bitches. Again: delighted. She will not stop until we are all her twerking slaves and she can lash us with whips made of bass from on high. (GM)

I Am the Cosmos – Red Bull Music Academy

Cosmos stick out like a sore thumb in the Red Bull Academy. All in black, playing their sad krautrock disco in the place where the Gardai are doing their “random” sweeps, the cut rather sullen figures. The music has the ability to surprise all the same. ‘Yves Klein Bleu’ has the wonderful Edge-like flourish that opens the whole song up, while ‘Look Me in the Eye’ builds and builds before breaking into cathartic pieces. A new song affirms that the vocal stylings are still quite muddy, but after a plaintive start its starts to throb away mercilessly. There’s little to differentiate between the live and recorded sound though. ‘Dislocate’, as great as it is, would sound the same on Spotify as it does here. Are they precise or do they lack spontaneity? Probably both, so more power to them. (GM)

John Talabot – Heineken Stage

Live dance is not for the the sober mind. John Talabot is no exception. It’s headphones music that requires some focus, and unless you’ve been blinkered by intoxicants, there’s just to many things to distract you from the beat. The Catalan’s music is propulsive but idiosyncratic; he wants to hit the same marks as his peers but he has a different method. However, it’s still too easy to let go in one ear and out the other, even if one can appreciate the effort. If you’re unwilling to immerse yourself in it, then dissatisfaction is your only friend. (GM)

Nobody’s Heroes – Whelan’s Stage

Moved up the bill to cover for late pull-outs the Acid, competition winners Nobody’s Heroes deliver a professional performance. The local teenagers play to a crowd that is seemingly made up mostly of schoolfriends and supporters, but they got here on merit. Predictably, they play a core set of funk-based rock; the singer stands out with an appealing scratchiness to his youthful voice. He sings a cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ with both power and softness that impressively belies his years. The bassist focuses on his frets while the guitarist has enough confidence to swing a leg up on top of the drum riser and live that rock star dream for a few minutes. (GM)

Parquet Courts – Whelan’s

Boy, Parquet Courts are in a good mood. They’re not the first Americans to boast their tenuous Irish heritage, and nor will they be the last. They’re excited and they want to share that with everyone at the “Waylan’s” stage. How better to do so with messy but sharp garage rock. It’s something that has been missing from this year’s Longitude, and will remain so as the band are keen to get in, ring a few ears, raise a few smiles and get out again. Rollicking stuff. (GM)

Samaris – Whelan’s

Between Björk and Sigur Ros, Icelanders must be sick of coming across as a nation of eccentrics. Unfortunately for them, Samaris are in no way keen to dispel our notions. There’s a clarinetist in a karate gi and a singer trying not call attention to herself but for all the tinsel she is decorated with. She has the voice of her most famous compatriot as well as her mannered quiet when addressing the crowd, but the music is much slower and more macabre than Björk’s environmental rave. It’s all very – I apologise in advance – ethereal, the downtrodden beats and woodwind accents leave the speakers like precious gas. It’s restrained, cerebral music that still grasps at emotion. Admittedly they sing in an language nobody here understands, but they will sound familiar to anyone with a grasp of Icelandic music that has broken through to the mainstream. (GM)

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