Happy 15th Birthday Greenman. Thank you to the valleys and mountains for treating us to the best weekend.
This year’s edition of Greenman was special as it was their 15th anniversary and we were lucky enough to be there. Set on our doorstep in Crickhowell, Wales’ best festival offers a unique line up with some of the best artists right now and also showcase the best upcoming talents the world has to offer. The festival is particularly loved by fans of the Indie and Folk scene. It appeals to a huge audience with swarms of families and groups of teenagers eager to celebrate and enjoy the music.
The weather did not damper spirits as people were prepared with wellies and a colourful palette of ponchos, rain jackets and umbrellas. We did encounter difficulties with the mud in the car park but other than that we were ready to celebrate the festival in style.
Thursday night was topped off by Ride headlining the legendary Far Out Stage. Darkness set in and the band from Oxford set the crowd in trance with a stunning set consisting of Vapour Trail, Lannoy Point and Lateral Alice.
If you didn’t fancy that then Chai Wallahs offered fans a piece of funk, math rock and reggae with music lasting until 4am each night. Highlight of the weekend were The Comet Is Coming and at times sounded like early Foals which made me happy.
Friday saw London band Chelou perform on Walled Garden stage. A majestic set and a good way to start off the day. The rain didn’t damper spirits and we enjoyed every minute. We recommend if you are fans of Diiv or Beach Fossils.
If you wanted to avoid the rain the Irvine Welsh performed an excellent chat session over at the Last Laugh. He is the mastermind behind 90’s classic Trainspotting.
One of the bands of the weekend Happyness performed an excellent set on the Mountain Stage. Their album scored a 9/10 from us and of course sounded even better live. Ash dressed up in heels and got the crowd moving. A surprise turn up from a mannequin leg got people laughing in a good way. To top it off Ash climbed the barrier and jumped on the hands of eager fans. Crowdsurfed in style.
We are huge fans of upcoming talent and obviously we spent a lot of the weekend over at the Rising Stage. A huge piece of the South London scene were being showcased and Hotel Lux were first to kick things off. You’d find Hotel Lux prowling around the Rising Stage, straight and serious faced. As their delightfully disturbing tones underlie frontman Lewis Duffin echoes of edgy lyricism.
The Big Moon graced the Far Out Stage with their indie pop inspired classics and got the crowd dancing. The band who are in contention of winning album of the year at Mercury Awards suggests they are on course to becoming the next big girl rock band. They showed us what they’ve got and we loved it. There was even time for the post workers to join them on stage and dance to ‘Sucker’.
Hinds didn’t bring the Spanish weather with them however brought the tunes and the dancing moves. We had waited months to see them again and they definitely did not disappoint as the crowds fell in love with the exotic girls. They also performed a brand new single which hadn’t even been named or practiced. New music is definitely incoming.
Dead Pretties headlined the Rising Stage Friday night. Another of the South London bands stormed the stage with their ferocious diy punk and the fans reacted with a mosh pit at the front. Front man Jacob even kissed me on the cheek and wore my hat. They’ve supported Drenge and are destined to headline in the future with their charismatic punk stage presence.
We then headed over to a packed out Far Out stage to witness Kate Tempest perform a politically charged set. The singer/story teller performed her 2016 album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’. Strong, emotional vibes describing the state of the country and the Brexit referendum. A highlight was the mention of the pig ‘fucker’ perfectly describing David Cameron and the dangerous Tories. Many of the left wingers cheered Kate on and the set was a triumphant way to end the first full day.
Futurisic dance moves fired through frontman Samuel T Herring of Future Islands as they brought their headline set to the Friday night of Green Man. Among his curious and amusing chats upon stage, his great grunting voice delivered tracks like A Dream Of You and Me and Doves. Also the sensational Season (Waiting On You) just kick started the Friday night feeling perfectly. Leaving the stage with Spirit, quite literally.
The Orielles kicked off the proceedings for us and the band from Halifax did not disappoint. The band managed by Heavenly Recordings performed a raucous set filled with guitars and strong vocals. Like I said they performed their longest song ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’. 8 minutes and 24 seconds of pure guitar heaven. Esmé vocals fitted the song perfectly and put the crowd into a trance and head bobbing. In fact they were one of our favourite acts and their debut album is out anytime soon. Big things to come from the trio. They’re definitely an Indie band that are bringing back the good old days.
The Oh Sees tore the Far Out Stage apart. A mix of older and younger fans joined each other many times to create a pit of chaos. The band produced a concoction of heavy guitar riffs and beating drums to create a perfect set of sweat and fury. Easily one of the best live performances I have seen and definitely the best at Greenman.
Ryan Adams opened his headline set the same way he opened Prisoner, with the booming brilliance of Do You Still Love Me? His great guitar instrumentals bellowed through the Brecon Beacons with old favourites such as New York, New York. After amazing acceptance of his latest releases, tracks Outbound Train and Doomsday were played as if they were classics. Finally he closed the set with ten year oldie Halloweenhead, leaving the fields of Green Man grinning in awe.
Electronic artists Daniel Avery and Jon Hopkins (DJ) took everyone on an ambient journey of superb electro beats, and had us dancing into the deepest moments of the wild night.
PJ Harvey produced one of the most stunning sets of the year let alone the festival. The artist performed her only UK date of the year with help from her incredible band. What a magical and enchanting ending to one of the best festivals of the year.
Sleaford Mods are a band that don’t give a shit about what you say. In some sense they are the new voice for the working class and represent what people believe and think. The duo took to The Far Out Stage with their stage presence being welcomed by the crowd in front of them. The set was a lively one with the front area of the crowd moshing and shouting the words back at Jason. A fantastic performance and one of our favorites of the weekend.
Shame are not setting stones but instead setting boulders within the music scene. The London based punk band are already building a reputation for their chaotic live sets and Greenman showed that they are a band destined to headline festivals within the next few years. The highlight was obviously the ending with ‘Gold Hole’. This tune is the spearhead of their image.
Sunflower Bean are regenerating the New York rock scene. The trio from the Big Apple admitted that their Greenman slot was their first ever Welsh gig and to celebrate they treated the crowd with their mix of melodic and heavy tunes. A brand new song was also performed to us with a new album following shortly within the next year. Catch them on tour supporting Wolf Alice throughout the UK during November.
Greenman once again proved they are one of the best small festivals in the UK and the line up is consistently competing with the best. See you in the field next year hopefully. Hwyl Fawr Haf.
Feature image courtesy of Max Miechowski.
Picture gallery to follow soon…