Latitude review: Alt-J headline BBC Radio Six Music Arena

Latitude Festival 2013 - Henham Estate near Southwold, SuffolkAlt-J headline on the 6 music stage

Latitude Festival 2013 - Henham Estate near Southwold, SuffolkAlt-J headline on the 6 music stage - Credit: Ashley Pickering

There were contrasts aplenty at Latitude on Saturday night as very different music acts battled for the attentions of over 30,000 people packed into Henham Park.

Latitude Festival 2013 - Henham Estate near Southwold, SuffolkAlt-J fans watch their headline set on

Latitude Festival 2013 - Henham Estate near Southwold, SuffolkAlt-J fans watch their headline set on the 6 music stage - Credit: Ashley Pickering

While Hot Chip got the crowd going ahead of headliners Kraftwerk on the Obilesk main stage, it was Richard Ashcroft, former front-man of 90s rockers The Verve, who played ahead of headliners Alt-J in the impressive BBC Six Music Arena.

Latitude Festival 2013 - Henham Estate near Southwold, SuffolkAlt-J headline on the 6 music stage

Latitude Festival 2013 - Henham Estate near Southwold, SuffolkAlt-J headline on the 6 music stage - Credit: Ashley Pickering

It was Ashcroft who was the star of the show though, ramping up the nostalgia by playing three classic Verve hits.

The Six Music tent was full to bursting point as the audience joined Ashcroft in rousing sing-a-long performances of Lucky Man, The Drugs Don't Work and Bitter Sweet Symphony.

For me, the rendition of The Drugs Don't Work was the highlight of the whole weekend and a pretty special five minutes, with Ashcroft also playing some excellent snippets of songs set to feature on his new album.

The energy in the big top style tent, which towered over the main arena, was electric after Ashcroft had worked his magic and Alt-J felt the full benefits when they came on stage.

Last year the electro-rock quartet had performed on the Lake Stage at Latitude for their first festival performance. In the intervening year a lot has changed for the band.

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They won last year's Mercury Music Prize and this year their album, An Awesome Wave, won the album award at the Ivor Novello Awards.

That rapid rise to stardom has seen them pick up a passionate young following and that was clear to see in the Six Music tent.

Teenagers dominated the packed-out tent, while older music fans and young children enjoyed Kraftwerk on the main stage Obilesk Arena.

Some circle pits and a bit of crowdsurfing were even on show as the audience got a lot rowdier than I had expected, despite only being about 10 rows from the front.

Overall I enjoyed Alt-J but having heard three songs from a bigger name headline act, The Verve, in the performance before they had come on stage, it felt like a little bit of a let down.

They are a young band though and showed that they have plenty of potential to become a big-name act.

David Freezer

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