The 5 best acts of Green Man 2016
So that’s it for another year. More rain than usual, but more sunshine than expected; yes the 2016 edition of Green Man is over. What were our highlights of the weekend? Well let us tell you.
We picked the Americana wizard as one of our choices for the weekend and he didn’t let us down. Bringing along the tightest band you’ll have seen for a while in the 400 Unit Isbell took us on a tour of his highlights. Not too heavy with tracks from his new record he treated the Friday night Mountain Stage crowd to ‘Alabama Pines’, and a glorious singalong to ‘Codiene’. His delight at the feel of the festival was palpable, and the crowning moment of his set, the sublime ‘Cover Me Up’.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes
Transporting the wet Welsh crowd to the Californian coast of the US was a fine thing for frontman / band leader Alex Ebert and his troupe of many musicians to attempt on a wet Saturday night on the Mountain Stage. Amazingly it worked. With Ebert’s slightly shambolic, energetic and laconic, stage presence the set had the feel of falling apart at any moment; it never did. Through everything Ebert’s dry Californian drawl drew the crowd in closer, before bursting into life as a mid-summer dance party. Fabulous fun.
The debut record from this folky harmony singing seven-some was highly praised earlier this year, but never really took off on the TMF office stereo. Live though, these Chicagoans are fantastic. Exuding early 70s CSN-style vocal harmonies, an easy going bonhomie with the crowd - especially young Toby - and a confession that they’d been up all night theirs was a perfect Sunday afternoon set for the Walled Garden. And ending with the double whammy of ‘The Falls’ and ‘No Woman’ was just fantastic.
Furman has become unspeakable popular and hip over the last twelve or so months and is a staple at UK festivals. If you only stayed for the first half of his Sunday night set in the Far Out tent then you’re probably totally non-plussed. Looking like a washed out version of The Joker, with green hair and red lipstick, Furman plays a strand meld of skiffle and punk, with some straight on rock thrown in. It’s sometimes weird, and always fascinating. Despite his new found popularity he’s still the outsiders outsider, and by the end of his hour the heaving tent was hanging on his every word. A manic energy, being able to talk to the weirdo in everyone, and some bloody good songs are all it takes to conquer.
Opening the Mountain Stage on a Saturday isn’t the most glamourous slot on the bill, so if you’d seen the Clare Maguire of five years ago it’d have been a strange booking. But this isn’t 2011’s Maguire, this is a whole other person. Gone are the songs-by-numbers, the blonde wigs and fancy stage moves; in are just Maguire, in tracksuit and puffer jacket, singing the crap out of some personal songs. At one point the reaction from the crowd is too much and tears flow. This might be her last gig she mentions, you have to hope not as her vocal ability is even more to the shore and her performance of these most heartfelt songs is the most visceral of the weekend.
Tune in tomorrow for our full review of the festival.