It was clear just from the amount of people streaming into Marlay Park, that Friday wasn’t going to be a quiet introduction to the 2016 edition of Longitude. It seemed that it was headliner Kendrick Lamar was the act you couldn’t afford to miss on the day. Thankfully though, the rest of the lineup did more than enough to whet the appetite.
Laura Mvula strode onto the stage with a keytar in hand as the sun shone on Marlay. Her music set the perfect mood as even those streaming in couldn’t resist her blend of soul and r&b. That’s Alright ratcheted up the tempo and got the crowd involved, whereas Green Garden was the right song for the right moment on such a gorgeous afternoon. KF
Daughter have garnered quite a reputation for their live shows over the years, so it was surprising to see the three piece get off to a slow start. Gradually though, they engaged the crowd as their brand of atmospheric rock stretched far beyond the main stage.
Doing The Right Thing cut through the noise and reverb to deliver a poignant message from frontwomen Elena Tonra, but the definitive moment however was the dynamic ballad Youth. The crowd was hooked on every word, as the band slowly built from an intimate moment to a climatic finish right before their eyes. KF
There is just something about synthpop and sunny weather that raises the spirits. Chvrches came onto the main stage just after 18:15, as a large crowd assembled for the Scottish group. During the set, frontwomen Lauren Mayberry spoke about the cultural similarities between Ireland and Scotland, surely the good weather is something neither nations are used to.
One criticism of Chrvches however, is that a lot of their songs have a very similar aesthetic. As the set progressed some of the songs started to blend together and it felt like there was a lack of variety overall. One of their newer songs Bury It continued this trend and instead of it sounding fresh it failed to stand out.
The Mother We Share was the exception though, as the song was greeted with a big roar from the crowd. It’s a real festival anthem and shows that Chvrches can create some special moments onstage. KF
Possibly the line-up’s most curious addition, considering they preceded rap heavy-weight Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers came with a lot to prove. Second album ‘Cleopatra’ caused enough of a stir commercially to warrant another date at the 3Arena for the band, after a hard slog to prove the band had more to offer beyond Ho Hey.
The track does feature in their Longitude set, reserved for quite early on and is received tepidly. This remains a recurring trend – timid performance, timid reception, repeat. Stubborn Love and Ophelia get a more energetic reaction, but just barely. Despite being the second largest act playing on Friday night, they prove that there is still a hard slog ahead to remain in the hearts of the public. FJ
Tyler, The Creator
Theresa May’s number one enemy Tyler The Creator finally made it to this part of the world following two cancelled Dublin gigs. As exhausted as the cliché is, it was truly worth the wait to see him perform on the Heineken stage at Longitude this year.
The rapper is visibly excited to the point where he is childlike in his delivery and play-acting with the crowd. Nevertheless, his signature style is aggressive and provocative as ever. Older material such as 2011’s Yonkers is as venomous now as it was then. The Pharrell-produced IFHY is the anti-love song of this generation, bemoaning unavoidable social media silences and the struggles of mixed emotions.
His newer material, particularly most recent studio LP ‘Cherry Bomb’ has been widely lambasted by journos globally, but none of that seems to matter here. The fans reaction to anything he performs is that of sheer exuberance, demonstrating complete idol worship. Don’t expect as long a wait for his next performance on these shores. FJ
And so for the main attraction of the evening Kendrick Lamar. His band waited patiently on stage as the anticipation built. On the screen behind them were the words of George Clinton from Wesley’s Theory “Look both ways before you cross my mind”. This was the only thing displayed on-screen the whole time, as Kendrick himself was all that was needed to put on a show.
He came firing out of the gates and bursting with energy as the crowd erupted for his grand entrance. The likes of These Walls and Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe set the tone early on, as the band seamlessly shifted from soul to jazz to r&b on a dime.
The setlist as a whole was probably the best of the weekend as Kendrick skillfully traversed through ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ and ‘Section.80’. Kendrick is someone who values loyalty and even asked the crowd how long they have been following him as he played A.D.H.D. Of course the crowd knew every word and because of this they were rewarded with ‘King Kunta’ being blasted out of the speakers to send the crowd into a frenzy.
As the show wore on you got the sense that this was a very special night. Flares lit up in the crowd, ‘Olé, Olé, Olé’ rang around the main stage, it certainly was a very Irish reaction to one of the biggest hip-hop acts in the world. They witnessed a master storyteller at work and someone who unites rather than divides the masses with his words. KF