After dashing from The Word Arena following the first few Angus & Julia Stone songs (with regret, I heard that Damien Rice stepped on stage for the remainder of the set moments after I left) I made my way over to The Sunrise Arena for the first time that weekend to catch my latest obsession, The Middle East. No, not Ahmadinejad - this is a far more catchy and less paranoid Middle East. Plus they’re Australian.
This is the performance that I had built up in my mind the most before arriving at the festival; my number 1 most anticipated set. Unfortunately I had set myself up for a fall.
The already fairly rubbish Sunrise Arena had apparently collapsed due to the heavy wind earlier in the weekend, setting all the acts back around 40 minutes. The news that I could have been watching Angus & Julia Stone perform with Latitude veteran and all round excellent singer-songwriter Damien Rice instead of the spawn of Sting ‘I Blame Coco’ only added to my woes. At least for 40 minutes I could close my eyes and pretend I was listening to Sting, the resemblence in the voice was uncanny.
After an arduous wait The Middle East clambered on stage all looking very meek. To put it bluntly, the sound in the Sunrise Arena is often very poor which never does a band any favours. But then nor do lyrically clichéd and out of place war stories to the backing of a cascade of sound. I don’t think anyone was expecting that.
I was majoritively left underwhelmed by the performance of an otherwise terrific band. Crowd pleasers such as ‘Blood’ and ‘The Darkest Side’ went down well and despite all the elements being against this performance, the fact remains that those are great songs.
I think under different circumstances this would have been a very enjoyable set, but the band must have forgotten to make a sacrifice to appease the great god of indie music this time around and my anticipated highlight was soon undermined by greater acts.