WORDS: Gavin Bonson (guest post from Culture Vulture)
So here we go again… Green Man has become a bit of a staple in the eyes of festival goes who like to attend the less busier festivals and like to enjoy a variety of different foods (not just burger joints, noodle bars with massive vats of the stuff or chips), alcohol which is brewed using proper ingredients and produced on a cottage scale and don’t have their names plastered everywhere and entertainment which us adults will enjoy as well as (if you have any) the kids.
So we’re heard the hype, we know it’s in Wales somewhere and at this stage we’ve got most of the line-up information along with those nice treats we now expect from this micro festival (are we still using that term?), Chai Wallahs is back, the films have been picked, food stalls confirmed and kids’ activities all tied up but which musical acts should you go and see.
Right – this is my opinion and you can agree to disagree but the musical acts at Green Man have always been a tad controversial. For the first few years it was brilliant, but as the festival grew into it’s own pancho it became a little lost in my opinion; it seemed to ask itself, “should I appeal to all the kids or the core fans?” or “should I feature what I like, or new artists?” Now I think it’s found its really feet in this overgrown festival market, booking core bands and sprinkling the line up with a theme which it likes. From what I can tell this seems to be a bit funky this year, boasting old skool beats which gets a massive thumbs up from me. Anyway to write this article I made a playlist of a large portion of what’s on offer and as a result come up with some bands I wanna see and think you should share an ear drum with.
You’ve got your headliners which we’ll alll watch such as Fleet Foxes and the constantly magnificent Gruff Rhys, but I’ve opted for the less obvious and picked 10 bands which show the variety of what’s on offer…
Noah and the Whale – I’ve never seen these but hear great things. There musically tight and sum up what Green Man Festival is all about – Folk indie. They’ve written some great songs LIFEGOESON, 5 years time, 2 atoms in Molecule etc etc. I think this group will get you off your arse and make you get your shake on which is what we want, right? It’s a festival…. Check them out and spend the rest of you weekend singing 5 year’s time (which you’ll then hate by Sunday and keep singing in the car home until someone clips you).
Laura Marling – A little person who makes a big sound. She’s been tipped for massive things since cropping up in the indie world back in 07 and she kinda won a MASSIVE prize earlier this year. Poppy, folkie, indie-ish and out of interest I’m gonna go along and see her as she’s not the type I’d usually watch and this is what Green Man’s all about. It’s a punt.
Polar Bear – Horns, horns and more horns. I’m a bit of a jazz-liker and this excites me with its energy, fast pace and mind blowing presence. We’re at a festival so let’s explore ourselves and get some finger tapping and random head moving going on. These boys will break up the folkieness of this festival and gives a nice nod to one of the original influences of jazz and blues which is folk. Green Man brings together bands that show the interconnected influence of other genres and cultures on the folk-scene, and if anything it’ll be an interesting crowd.
Horse Meat Disco – P.A.R.T.Y. These guys are a dj collective that play 80’s boogie, electro, funk, new dance tunes and will generate a pretty funky atmosphere. So if you really wanna get your groove on then head for the tent these boys are playing and enjoy the d.i.s.c.o. Just leave the dad moves at home yeah?
Tweak Bird – By the Sunday, I crave some electric-based guitar-action which is why I’ve picked Tweak Bird. Stoner rock at Green Man, these guys have blasting riffs, speedy finger work and meet the demands of an electric junkie. Tweak Bird will give your ears something else to consider whilst at the festival SO watch out for these 2 brothers on a mission. ROCK ON.
Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo – Anyone watch Shadow Line? You know that eerie opening sequence with the beautiful soundtrack…? Well if you didn’t know already, that tack is called Pause and is produced by Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. Whilst you shouldn’t see a band based entirely on the music used in a tv programme or advert (people take note, you know who you are) I must admit it was that tap on the shoulder from our good friend ‘familiarity’ that made me listen to this band but thankfully it paid off in the long run. I found their record mesmerizing and enchanting (both terms music writers use) and I’m very much looking forward to laying back, hoping it’s a nice sunny/warm evening and letting Emily barker & the Red Clay Halo take me on their journey.
Duotone – A halftone production of an image or in this case music. Anyone with a double bass cajon is worth seeing and duotone fit that bill. Leaning on traditional sounds with simple, thoroughly thought-out patterns makes for an interesting sound. A lazy afternoon band which makes them ideal whilst enjoying the sights of Green Man. Definitely a band to watch during down-time…
2Bears – I imagine these guys will be on later or on a dance stage but they caught my attention. A mix of electro, experimental, calypso. R&b, break beats and slick production, they also wear bear outfits. They could be the band that take you to a new place, some kind of Green Man inspired alter universe. Plus, they wear bear outfits. Bear. Outfits. (In summer!)
Image: Thomas Hawk
Robyn Hitchcock – These days he probably falls under the catergory of the ‘old guard’. He’s been producing songs since the 70’s with influences like Bob Dylan, but he’s a musician you should definitely have on your list. His songs are proper songs; with full narratives rather than an arrangement of random words to create lyrics, his songs have heart and soul. Hitchcock’s a singer songwriter that’ll impress and put a smile on your face. Sometimes the oldies are the goodies…
James Yorkston – John Peel played his demo Moving Up Country, Roaring the Gospel and said “song title of the year, no doubt” and there’s no stronger endorsement than John Peel playing your demo. Having played in a punk band, being on the Fence Collective label and working with a very prestigious collection of artists makes Yorkston an interesting proposition; his records tick all the ‘folk’ boxes and are coupled with brilliant lyrics. I just wanna hear Woozey Cider…
There we are! Those attending, check out some of these bands and report back to us with your thoughts. The line up has been announce and stages confirmed and can be seen here, so go check it and start planning your weekend. And if you’re currently uncommitted this festival season, there are some tickets left but you’ll have to be quick to get them as there going like hot cakes now! Details can be found here. See you there guys.
Editor’s Note: Check out Gavin’s work at Culture Vulture Zine here. And as Gavin missed him off his list, make sure you check out the AMAZING Tim Michin as he performs live at Green Man this summer. He’s quite possibly the best looking ginger man to ever have graced Green Man’s stage.