It’s suffice to say that I could barely believe my eyes when double and triple checking the gig calendar to confirm that one of my favourite weekends of the year, Green Man, has careered so quickly into view. August 2013 was 12 months ago, I’ll accept – but somehow it doesn’t feel time yet, even though I am exceedingly happy it is.
Reviving memories of last years balmy August weekend moves the mind into a fast state of imagistic recall, as the sublime (the electro-drone euphoria of F__k Buttons) and the ridiculous (feeling frustratingly alone amid the electro-drone euphoria, idiotically unaware of my friend standing next to me) re-assert themselves in my head’s event horizon. Yet despite how strong those recollections are, Green Man always seems to spring into the calendar rather than pre-emptively impose itself upon my mind.
As odd as it sounds – considering this will be the 7th Green Man in a row I’ve been to, half the reason for the above is because I don’t feel like a ‘regular’, at least not in the pub sense of the word and that is part of why I am now, as always, so excited to go back to Glanusk park with probably the best ever line up awaiting crowds. There is a genuinely brilliant mix of music on offer – just looking at the almost perversely good Saturday night headlining trio of Slint, Mercury Rev and the majestic East India Youth (check back next week for an interview with him) gives an indication of the incredible quality that comes with the diversity on offer.
Because of the authentically varied lineup, there never feels like there is one sort of festival-goer or coterie who can claim cultural ownership about what the festival exclusively is – hence why I always feel like this isn’t ‘my’ festival, it’s just a damn good one. Like a mystical, backstreet local that you invariably end up spending countless accidental, un-diarizable nights at, Green Man still feels a wonderfully communal, fringe concern. It’s a fine reminder that you shouldn’t go to a festival and feel like the organisers have, like a jaded barman with whom you only share mutual cultural ennui, already served you your predictably inoffensive lager. The usual? Same again? No thanks.
And if you’ll excuse the extensive beveraged metaphors, here’s the musical tipples we are looking forward to enjoying in a weeks time. Come back tomorrow for our preview of the best from Saturday at Green Man.
John MOuse – I Was a Goalkeeper – Walled Garden
Kicking off Friday’s festivities in earnest is John MOuse and we feel slightly guilty being able to only recommend one track from his excellent LP The Death of John Mouse, which skips from genre to genre and across emotional tones with impressive ease. Much of it is heartbreaking and the solemn ‘Robbie Savage’ is delicate whilst retaining the dark humour present throughout the album. This 1st single from it however, feels like a bright, bounding way to begin Green Man, with it’s nostalgic ‘trees-as-goalposts’ lyrics rollicked through with catchy impudence, not entirely dissimilar from guest vocalist Gareth Campesinos! ‘home’ team.
Caribou – Jamelia (Gold Panda Remix) – Far Out
Dan Snaith returns to Green Man for the first time since 2008, when he was riding on the back of winning the Polaris Prize for the psychedelic, brilliant electronic work Andorra. Single ‘Can’t Do Without You’ was released to huge excitement earlier in the year ahead of an autumn LP release, putting a house twist on his breakthrough Swim album, which is doubly brilliant for it’s long list of remixes, which give you a better idea of the kaleidoscopic intensity of his live performance, which will be even more key to catch as preparation before the Swedish intense Electronic act The Field take over with Far Out ‘After Dark’ duties.
Adult Jazz – Springful – Walled Garden
Adult Jazz debut album, Gist Is, seems to have many critics offering florid admiration, but often stopping short of outright love for it’s progressive, jazz take on something like experimental indie. That gets almost nowhere near describing where the band take their songs however, and indeed it’s an album that not only rewards multiple listens but also sounds like its aural nooks and crannies will unfold all the more melodically and satisfyingly live. ‘Springful’ is one of the most immediate tracks on Gist Is, sounding like a colourful, lilting TV on the Radio – with offbeat percussion and a depth of instrumentation which flits around the melodic vocals without being pointlessly playful.
Check back on Plastik over this weekend for Saturday & Sunday’s previews, plus next week for interviews with, amongst others – John Mouse and East India Youth.
Photo: Green Man/Press