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Lana Del Rey at Latitude Festival review

Lana Del Rey at Latitude Festival review

If Reading and Leeds are for wild teens, and All Points East for London hipsters who won’t camp, then Latitude is – according to reputation – for middle-class families.

I’d like to debunk the myth, but it rang true over the mostly sunny weekend just gone. Not that I’m complaining; I relished the excuse not to get inebriated given the abundance of sprightly sprogs, and it was refreshing to attend a smallish festival accessible from London with such a decent lineup.

What’s more, the family dynamics played out in interesting (read: non-boring) ways: as well as euphoric toddlers/infants, I was struck by a) screechy, silly teenagers, many in profoundly irritating bucket hats, b) super cool parents and c) grandparent-age attendees having the best time of all.

Cross-generational crowds gave gigs different flavours: for Stereophonics’ solid set, bored kids swayed alongside crooning DILFs. Then, teens out in force for Aurora, 23, and Sigrid, 22, whose enthusiasm was gradually eclipsed by that of the adults in attendance, blown away by the raw Norwegian pop talent on display.

For Lana Del Rey’s headlining slot, the crowd was led by frenzied fresh-faced fans; the lady herself, a vision in white, gamely toured the pit, signing records, pinching cheeks and posing for selfies.

Such hysteria wasn’t indicative of the wider crowd, with many silent and static… albeit, with eyes and ears agog. Because, even after eight years, something about Lana Del Rey is still utterly compelling.

Her star power has always been potent but detached – or, perhaps, potent because its detached. It’s a quality captured in her videos but swallowed up on stage. As such, last night wisely featured light choreo.

This I can imagine Lana taking with reluctance, before finding her groove: pure nonchalance, of course, telephoned-in Mariah style, as two tireless and transfixing backing dancers do the heavy lifting. (I mean this as a compliment).

Then there’s her voice, which I adore, whether the rumbling lower register or on-point, songbird-esque high notes. She’s not a belter, and there’s the odd off note, but it’s always thrilling. The sound she makes is pure, pulpy charisma.

The 14-song performance was surprisingly heavy on throwback Born to Die bombast, including a densely rocky Off To The Races – an unexpected but effective set climax.

While light on her more challenging, and in many opinion, best work (i.e. West Coast, Ultraviolence, Summer Bummer) it was pretty much entirely fab. Particularly a bouncy, tropical cover of Sublime’s Doin’ Time, a perfect palate cleanser after the legendary sadness of Video Games, which she knocked out of the park.

GSN traveled from London Liverpool Street to Halesworth. Fares start from £10 ($12.44, €11.13) one-way. For the cheapest fares, book direct at greateranglia.co.uk.

See also: 

Florence + The Machine, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand at British Summer Time, London review

Pink at Wembley Stadium, London review: ‘Puts her peers in the shade’