Belle and Sebastian – Latitude Festival – 17 July 2010

Ten great gigs from 2010: #9

Having kept a low profile since touring 2006’s The Life Pursuit, first band of twee Belle and Sebastian returned to playing on these shores at the middle class paradise of Latitude Festival.

If the melodic, family friendly records of Stuart Murdoch and co. had made them seem like the quintessential Latitude band, their mid-festival headlining slot proved as much. Soon after opening with new track ‘I Didn’t See it Coming’, a curtain near the back of the stage was dropped to reveal an string orchestra, whose stately accompaniment epitomised the oh-so-dignified setting.

Their setlist took in songs from right through their soon-to-be-eight album career, but it was those from earlier in their discography that stood out. ‘The State I Am In’ provoked a huge singalong, whilst the tender ‘The Fox in the Snow’ and livelier pair ‘Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying’ and ‘If You Find Yourself Caught in Love’ harked back to the most fruitful period of their career.

‘The Boy With the Arab Strap’ was the best of all, at least for the 20 or so youngsters who got to dance on stage for the duration, whereas a bemused Stones fan might have enjoyed their off the cuff rendition of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, (which was performed in accordance with a dream-time premonition guitarist Stevie Jackson had a few days before).

While The xx were whispering to the hipsters at the second stage, Belle and Sebastian’s homecoming provided the enchanting and unassuming highlight for the sensitive souls at the main Obelisk Stage.

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