Day two of music festivals is generally make or break.
You’ve other gone full blown toddler at a birthday party and burned yourself on Friday, or your lax attitude towards the first day of proceedings means you’re forced to cram in an awful lot of activities into 24 hours.
With Longitude, that isn’t helped by the fact that Saturday was the first day of the festival to sell, because Selena Gomez’s boyfriend The Weeknd was playing, and sure doesn’t everyone love him now.
The crowd is of a similar demographic and temperament to Friday’s shower, though no reports of crushes this time, thankfully.
For some reason, Kaleo is a band that I thought were born from YouTube, such is the level of hysteria that the Icelandic rock group generate among fans. It also explains the Main Stage slot gifted to them by the festival – an early one, yes. But still.
Kaleo do not in fact produce bubblegum pop rock as I had initially anticipated – rather, they create a soundscape of noise that is only suitable for moody TV ads for a HBO drama. If the word Kaleo means nothing to you, hum the chorus of Way Down We Go and you’ll instantly recognise them.
And that’s pretty much all you will recognise them for, for the majority of the set. Snooze button, on.
Where a lot of the homegrown Irish talent seems to be tucked away is the Speakeasy Tent. It’s a flurry from start to finish, with a very ‘anything goes’ approach (audience members are continuously encouraged to get on stage. There’s comedy intervals and magic tricks, but standout acts include rapper Costello – one of the strongest Irish MCs I’ve heard in a long time. Given the setting, it’s typically understated, but remarkably powerful.
Former Irish beatbox champion Amaron also garners attention with his covers of Feeling Good and Satisfaction. Beatboxers don’t get enough credit IMO – I will never understand how they pull off that stuff with theirs mouths (innuendo fully intended).
Mac Miller‘s gets off to a pretty slow start for his Main Stage performance, but he gets there eventually. He’s insanely popular among the youth (because I’m officially a geriatric). His biggest track, Weekend, drums up serious hype, but for parts he’s inaudible as he mumble raps his way through it.
Dang! – his collab with Anderson .Paak – fares better, thankfully.
We’re some country to produce, eh, producers. There’s a lot of homegrown talent emerging among house, techno and R&B scenes. Unsurprisingly, one of the OGs, Stevie G, draws a ridiculous crowd at the Red Bull Arena – so packed that security begin enforcing a queuing system to get in and out. He’s super fun as always though, and worth the wait (also don’t think I missed that sneaky Next sample of Too Close, Stevie, because I didn’t).
Despite the incessant shiney, Skepta ensures the weekend stays grimey (sorry).
Given the fact that he’s been around longer than Stormzy, you can’t help but wonder if he feels a little bit miffed that he’s on at least four hours earlier than his slot the previous night, (he didn’t reply to my WhatsApps so can neither confirm or deny his sentiments).
It’s probably because of this though that he holds back just ever so slightly. Maintaining a constant bounce, he buoys across the stage as he rifles through his biggest hits like Shutdown and That’s Not Me.
However, his deep cut from Drake’s ‘More Life’ project, Skepta’s Interlude, is the showstopper everyone wanted, and needed, showcasing that behind the seemingly icy exterior he’s as fun as he is talented.
It’s bewildering how stark the contrast is between the crowd’s reaction to The Weeknd now, to when he supported Drake at the 3Arena in 2013.
Promoting his second major label release Kiss Land, people berated him – over his hair, his vocals, his general presence before the 6God himself. Naturally, times move on and things change – he has two enormous albums under his belt. Plus, he cut his hair. Problem solved!
Starboy – a moody, atmospheric drive through the shadowy streets of the City Of Angels – has people roaring along breathlessly. He maddens longtimes fans by mixing the intro to House Of Balloons in with new track Party Monster, without every performing it in full.
Vocally, he’s flawless, but that’s probably going unnoticed given the sheer noise level of the crowd. Acquainted follows with some nice percussive flourishes, matched by an extensive dance break for In The Night.
I Feel It Coming features some pretty snazzy fireworks, but he makes the right call ending the set on the explosive ‘fuck you’ anthem, The Hills. It’s a frantic, visceral reaction to the venomous pop juggernaut, which is a pretty good summation of his entire brand as an artist TBH.
For someone who is probably pretty boring in real life (he does not speak throughout, and I’m sure he’s seen some shit, but I’d say he’s still probably watched at least two full episodes of Downton Abbey by choice), it’s a real spectacle.
The fact that older material didn’t get a look in is disappointing for sure. But he’s not Drake’s background vocalist anymore – he’s a motherfucking star, boy.