Green Man Festival preview
This week it’s V Festival, but we’re not interested in V, no, not here, we’re all about Green Man Festival. Set in the beautiful mountains of the Brecon Beacons, the festival collects the brightest of 2015’s fringe acts from across the genres: country, indie, rock, blues, pop, dance, and everything in between. Staying away from the likes of science projects of Einstein's Garden, the spoken word area Babbling Tongues, and the craziness of Far Out, here are our 3 x 3 music acts for the weekend.
Gracing the Mountain Stage mid afternoon is Sweet Baboo. The quirky Welshman is the reigning king of the stream of thought, candidly funny, concise story-telling, melodically pleasing song. As long as the rain holds off the idiosyncratic likes of ‘Walking In The Rain’, ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ and others are perfect to ease festival goers into the relaxing environment. Once you’re relaxed it’ll be time to get reinvigorated so head over to the Far Out Tent for the indie punk stylings of Viet Cong. Once you get over the controversial name - the Canadian quartet were banned from playing in a town in their home country because of it - you’ll find a brilliant live show based around tracks from their epic self-titled debut album from January. To close the night off, a trip to the festival within a festival that is the Walled Garden is due. There, last on, you’ll find Strand Of Oaks. Amongst the noise for War On Drugs in 2014 you may have missed the rock brilliance that was Heal. The piercingly personal record is sure to sound great in the Welsh mountains with tracks like ‘Gosheen ‘97’ and ‘JM’ mixing with Timothy Showalter’s previously more folky tunes.
One of the core strengths of Green Man is its sheer wealth of styles and the chance to see something outside your wheelhouse. For many Sturgill Simpson, on the Mountain Stage late afternoon, will fall into that category. The so-called country outlaw released two excellent records in 2014 and has been a frequent visitor to the UK in the last eighteen months, though Wales sees his first mainstream UK festival appearance. Listen out for ‘Long White Line’, ‘The Promise’, and ‘Life Ain’t Fair And The World Is Mean’. Now you might call it obvious - it is - but calling out headliners Super Furry Animals as one to watch at a Welsh event just has to be done. After a bit of a break, with frontman Gruff Rhys touring his American Interiors album, the crazy indie faves are back. Having practiced their set at a few other festivals this summer they should be finely honed for this homecoming gig. If you want to keep going after the mighty SFA show ends then Jamie XX is lighting up the Far Out Tent with a late night show. His debut album is a delightful mix of old school traits and new fangled technologies and will give night owls the perfect party atmosphere to dance themselves back to their tents.
A more chilled set of recommendations for the final day of the festival, starting off with laid back rocker Matthew E. White. With a new record inspired by Neil Young, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and his own career, the soulful rock of Fresh Blood will be perfect with a pint (or glass of wine) in the hand to ease you into the final day. Another laid back type is Courtney Barnett, though she’s at times tonally aggressive in her lyrics. The Australian released her really rather excellent full length debut this year, after a string of EPs and her stream of consciousness style will leave an impression on Sunday night. ‘Pedestrian At Best’, ‘Dead Fox’, and ‘Debbie Downer’ are three to keep an ear open for. There’s no-more-retro sounding act at the festival than Illinois’ Ryley Walker. His psychedelic folk on stellar album Primrose Green recreates the vibe of the summer of love like no other artist on the line-up, and he’ll be a treat for those investigating the Walled Garden on Sunday afternoon.
The festival sold out weeks ago so no point trying to get a ticket now. Our tip: buy early for 2016.