The Green Man Festival was coming off a very wet 2012 event and much to their credit, the team had made a number of significant site improvements last weekend. Some rain but mainly sunshine and a stellar line-up of musicians, meant a fabulous time was in store for all. 

Thursday 15th August; the highlight of which was a performance by Patti Smith (the last of her current European tour). Unplugged and accompanied by Patrick Wolf and Tony Shanahan, Patti was in fine fettle for the most part. Plenty of fire still burning there!

 

Friday 16th August; started with Green man competition winner’s Haiku Salut  on the Mountain Stage. A multi instrumental, instrument swapping, female three piece. An original idea and presentation and sounding really different. The closest comparison would be Iceland’s Amiina.

 

Peggy Sue with a new record on the way played a really nice set on the main stage followed by a rock out with Parquet Courts who are an enthusiastic bunch kids to say the least. Eagleowl played a sunny Walled Garden stage, which some great songs, a Granddaddy Cover and Mogwai style jam.

 

Phosphorescent, laid down the first marker, for ‘band of the weekend’, with a set of Americana that just shimmered in the afternoon sun. Mathew Houck and co were on fine form and the set could have been double the length without any complaints from the audience.

 

The Pastels, returning to the scene once again with their unique brand of indie were great on the main stage. Darkstar with a new album in tow played a compelling set on the Far Out stage before we all returned to the Mountain (main) stage for Midlake.

 

With Tim Smith having left the band, the remaining six members of the Midlake touring party continue to fly the flag. “We are still Midlake and we are still from Denton, Texas” was the theme and a cracking set they put in. Perhaps now harder edged, sound wise … the new album will be very interesting.

 

Friday evening wound up with a mixture of an entertaining Kings of Convenience and a blast out with F. Buttons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 17th August; really was another day when the music shone through the occasional showers. First up Revere on the Far Out stage were very impressive, like the National meets t Arcade Fire..  The Slow Show on the main stage again drew National compassions. A truly excellent band, baritone vocals and intense moody songscapes. Perfect!

 

It was then a stint in the Far Out tent for a dynamic Wild Smiles, a sonic Girls Names followed by one on the band’s of the week; Arbouretum from Chicago who mixed their post rock brand with folk influences, the effect was quite spectacular.

 

On the main stage another ‘band of the weekend’ were Low. Playing in the late afternoon sun, Alan Sparhawk and co really did play a fine hour long set including a cover of Neil Young’s Down by the River as well as taking requests from the appreciative crowd.

 

The Horrors looked like a band really to take the A league step as darkness fell and the night’s headliners Band of Horses were nothing short of sensational. Even they pulled out a version of ‘Powderfinger’ in tribute of the Neil Young and Crazy Horse show that might have been.

 

Sunday 18th August; was a bright sunny day. The Green Man festival is so diverse that you could occupy all your day without even listening to any music but today’s line-up is as spectacular as ever. Nuala Honan lent her amazing voice to the Chai Wallahs stage and enchanted a mid day crowd with their Saturday night hang-overs.

 

Fanfarlo returned to the Green Man main stage and put in a nice set with songs included from the soon to be released new album. Lau sounded lovely in the afternoon sun, particularly ‘Horizontigo’, their song for the Fens. Darren Hayman was in fine form with a band on the Walled Garden stage with even more new songs. He and the band were recording the new album in Monmouth (down the road) during the following week.

 

Most of Sunday was spent in the Far Out tent with a run of bands that went Mikal Cronin, with his sonic retro power songs followed by a psychedelic tinged Woods, after which it was a packed tent for Melody’s Echo Chamber followed by a definelty ‘far out’ Unknown Mortal Orchestra who were superb.

 

British Sea Power put on a typical Sea Power Set from a greenery filled stage and every entertaining it was. Nipping out before the end of the set to catch a quite incredible 40 minutes with Half Moon Run.  The Canadian four piece are just one album old, but it would be difficult to name a more infectious live show around today.

 

Final bands of the festival were polar opposites; Ben Howard on the main stage, Swans on the Far out stage and VeronicaFalls on the Walled Garden Stage.   We chose to cover the latter two starting off with an apocalyptic sounding Swans, taking a mid set break to catch Veronica Falls who were having an arty moment themselves by insisting on playing in darkness without any lights (the songs still sounded great). A quick look back at Swans, who were still at industrial levels of volume, on the way to the burning of the Green Man and fireworks.

 

So in summary a spectacular and thoroughly enjoyable Green Man Festival. Here’s to 2014!

 

Pete

 

Photos

 

More Photos