'Latitude feels more like a party'
SUFFOLK band The Cheek play Latitude Festival for the second year running. In an exclusive article, singer and guitarist Charlie Dobney explains what a gig on home soil means to them.
SUFFOLK band The Cheek play Latitude Festival for the second year running. In an exclusive article, singer and guitarist CHARLIE DOBNEY explains what a gig on home soil means to them.
WE have spent most of our adolescent lives, and all of our adult lives preparing to take our music out to the world for people's consumption and digestion.
We rehearse in my barn in Sweffling, not far from the A12. I remember journeys down the A12, in the back of a seatless, windowless Volkswagen Transporter into the heart of London, the sense of exploration and adventure as we fell onto the pavement of an unfamiliar street, not old enough to drink.
Nervously we would play shows for strange people and sometimes they would clap their hands and jump up and down.
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People going to Latitude, I hope, will feel this same sense of adventure as they steadily climb into Suffolk and pitch their tent and feel a new wind blow over from Southwold. I remember startling a music-industry acquaintance from London with a cheery hallo as he filled up at Stratford petrol station.
For us at Latitude there is a sense of being comfortable, and for once being the host as opposed to guest. Last year, looking out from the stage we were able to pick out faces known to us, belonging to people who have inspired us and driven us, ridiculed and encouraged us.
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Before the show last year we were informed that extra security was brought in watched as a formidable metal barrier was erected, minutes before our stage time. Eyebrows were raised by bored looking men in numbered blue polo-shirts, wondering if they might see some action at the earnest yet subdued Lake stage. The crowd certainly provided them with all kinds of fervent hopping. Huw Stephens of Radio 1 recorded a video during the final song showing a boy crowd-surfed to the front, then pulled down by a security guard, who carried him past the camera, both with a broad grin spread over their faces.
We have all been to several music festivals, but Latitude felt more like a party. I remember, around midnight after our gig, being deep in conversation with a man named Tarquin who wore a pressed naval sailor's uniform, complete with pristine white shorts. I kept glimpsing familiar people over his shoulder, seeming at once blissfully at home and out of place in a strange situation. A feverish crowd for Crystal Castles was populated by countless people I went to school with.
I am writing this from the studio in Brussels where we are recording our debut album, from which we should be debuting several new songs. Our excitement is growing closer to the day. We wait for the moment Squeeze play Up The Junction.
Latitude for us is a friendly ear for us to push our music into. It is a neat reversal when the things we are singing about - our home, the people in our lives - have an opportunity to sing with us, and to maybe clap their hands in appreciation.
The Cheek play on the Lake Stage on Saturday