Green Man Festival 2010

26 08 2010

On Thursday H, Bimbo and I made our way to the Greenman Festival in Glanusk Deer Park in the Brecon Beacons.  We managed to get there and erect our tent while it wasn’t raining, but as soon as we were in it did rain, and it rained hard.  We had to improvise a prop out of beer cans for the roof so that the water would come off the badly designed tent.

Friday came and we ventured into the Festival to see some bands, the first that we saw was Hail! The Planes, and the sun actually managed to come out half way through their set, so we managed to stand outside (away from the bar) for a while.  The Friday brought an eclectic but excellent mix of bands, ranging from the 80’s inspired O. Children (Think New Order rather than A-Ha) to the mariachi sounding Beirut and the antipodean Rock of An Horse.  By far my favourite was Steve Mason on the Far Out Stage, playing music from his own solo album which I like anyway, but finishing with a track by his former (and brilliant) band The Beta Band.  This really made my night.

I woke up on Saturday still whistling a Steve Mason tune and looking forward to The Flaming Lips headlining later that night.  H and Bimbo decided to get Massages, so I wandered about the site and came across the Flaming Lips sound check, where a large group gathered and they played the whole of the Yeah Yeah Yeah song, gaining a loud cheer from the 200 or so people that had gathered.  The better news was that the sun came out making the festival site an extremely pleasant place to be.  We started out the day by watching the weird Islet, and the up coming Egyptian Hip Hop.  The surprise of the day was the Besnard Lakes, who rocked out on the main stage for a while. 

The Flaming Lips Headline slot was a late one, but I suspected that it would be good, having seen them before in what is the best gig I have ever been to.  Their stage show is somewhat epic, with Wayne Coyne entering the arena on a Zorb, with confetti cannons going off and balloons being blown into the audience and Lasers shooting into the night sky.  The sing along’s were still great, but they played a lot off of their new album and missed a lot of their good songs out.  Don’t get me wrong, this was still an exceptional gig, but not what I was expecting.  I still left humming Do You Realise!

Sunday was hot so we spent the first few hours watching small bands on the Green Man Pub Stage where we saw the rather excellent Welsh duo Brigyn.  Moving on the Far Out Stage, we settled in for a long day.  Megafaun were my favourite band of the Festival and put on an excellent show, Bear In Heaven played their electro pop really well (we had a swift diversion to sing-a-long-a-Mumford-and-Sons, who played some new tracks too) the sunny Indie pop of Girls and the mad Danish electro of Efterklang who were joined on stage by Batman.  One thing that I noticed, Bear In Heaven, Girls and Efterklang all started their sets slowly and I was unsure about them, but with strong finishes I came away loving them all.

Green man is an excellent festival, and I think that we will be going again next year.  Having only seen one of the headlining acts properly there is enough good stuff going on that, that didn’t matter.   Probably what I would do next year is not drink so much Festival Ale though.

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Bestival Festivities

16 09 2009

On Thursday I took the Fast Cat across the sea to the Isle of Wight to be taken to Bestival Festival.  I got th the campsite with H and traded in my ticket for a nice pink Wristband and made my way down the treacherous slope of Robin Hill Country park towards the campsite.

Luckily for me H and her mum had already set up the tents before I got there and I just had to worry about getting my bag down the hill and opening a beer when I got there, which I sucessfully did.  A bit later we decided to go for a Tulipsmooch around the site and have a look at the decorations, we were greeted by giant Tulips and loads of flags as well as the stages being dressed in the Space theme of the Festival.  We had a few drinks and I bought a matching hat and shirt (Skull and Crossbones motif, very nice) from the Oxfam Tent, where I found out that trying to temporary Tattoo yourself with Clothing paint doesn’t work and it left me with a purple arm.  We then watched This is Spinal Tap on the big screen, and turned it up to 11 when we had a bit of a drunken dance to a cracking set by the Cuban Brothers.

Waking up the worse for wear on Friday morning I discovered that I had left the gas for the cooker in Hannahs car, so had to set off on an epic mission up the hill again early morning.  Once we were all Tea’d up we headed into the site again for the first band of the day, we selected our seats by the WI tea tent and Farmers Market (this beacme a habit for the next few days) and were

The Bandstand

The Bandstand

drinking organic apple and blackcurrant juice from local farms while watching Sun Down City (Short reviews are being added in the brackets afterwards…Good)

This was a good start to proceedings, and soon after their set we moved back down the hill to the Big Top Tent to watch Efterklang (Scandanavian lovliness)  followed by Fresh Legs (Shouty pop) on the Redbull Stage, then 2 doses of epic orchestral rock in the form of 65 Days of Static (blooming awesome) and The Workhouse (Glum), before heading again to the Big Top to watch Mercury Award Winner Speeche Debelle (One of my favourites of the weekend) play.  H and I stayed on this stage for a while and watched Maps (Twiddly Electronica), Filthy Dukes (Funky stuff) followed by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip.  Anyone that knows

Zoidberg and Bender

Zoidberg and Bender

me will know that I love these two, and their live shows do not dissappoint.  I had built this one up for H and she was looking forward to it, so I was hoping not to be proved wrong.  I wasn’t, and all of the humour and anger that comes out in Scroobs stage presence was still there, and I loved everything about it (does this make me a fan boy) down to Dan’s T-Shirt that said Dan Is Not A Jukebox.  He has now started to sing on stage too.  What I liked better was when they said they would be playing a smaller gig at one of the stands at midnight the following night.

From here we caught Passion Pit (Unexpectedly good) Friendly Fires (Unexpectedly Bad), MGMT (terrible, really really terrible) before the nights Headliners, Massive Attack.  Thsi is a band that I have wanted to see for years, I love Mezzanine, it is one of my favourite albums, and for them to play most of it was a great moment for me.  The real highlight was Unfinished Sympathy.  The vocals on this made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, it was simply spectacular.  We walked the site for a while after this and then headed to bed.

Stars

Stars

The next morning we headed back up for a juice and sit in the sun and watched The Kurves (Summery), before going to see Chew Lips (Electronica), The Hot Rats (Supergrass doing covers, Ace.) Fight Like Apes (Crowd Pleasers), VV Brown (chilled out and relaxed funk).  We saw a couple of bands on the main stage The Golden Silvers and Goldie lookin’ Chain.  Both of them were poor.  On their day the GLC can be amazing, but this wasn’t their day.  The Golden Silvers for some reason I have been unlucky enough to see 3 times.  I still think they only have one good song.

At some point during the day H went to see Mika, which was apparantly good, but I went to see Skint and Demoralised, and Micachu and the shapes.  Both young bands, both good.  Micachu is about 12, but they have some great tunes.  I met up again with H to see the Beat, the Ska band whose biggest hit Mirror in The Bathroom has some great sax on in.  It turns out that H’s mum went to school with one of them and she thinks that song was written about his sister.  The Beat were probably one of the highlights of my day.

Seasick Steve

Seasick Steve

After a quick bite to eat we watched Seasick Steve (twangy guitar genius), Klaxons (pretty good), a DJ set from Underworld (terrible) and then Electronic music legends Kraftwerk.  I was really looking forward to this, as I expected a spectacle on an epic scale.  I wasn’t dissappointed, they were technically excellent, with great backdrops, but at this festival it didn’t work at all.  So many people left before the end the field must have emptied by a quarter, which is a shame.  The idiot that was trying to shine a lazer in one of their eyes should have been kicked out of the festival.  Still watching 4 old blokes standing still was actually pretty interesting.  Especially when they were replaced by robots for the encore.  From here we headed to the X-Box tent for the secret DLS vs SP gig, which again was fantastic.

The Sunday was a more chileld out day altogether.  H and I again went for juice and fell asleep on the hill this time.  The weather was hot and H got sunburnt.  We Saw Shanklin Freak Show (Like Marylin Manson, but from the Isle of Wight) and the Low Anthem (Really good, but didn’t play for long enough.

Main Stage

Main Stage

We also caught King Size Slim, Bastilla and Eat Static before the main stage finale for the weekend.  First up were Doves, who played brilliantly, then Fleet Foxes with their beardy folk harmonies and were excellent and then came Elbow.  I don’t know what else to say apart from this was probably the best band to end a festival with.  They were great all the way through, but the encore was purely phenomenal.  2 songs that just felt right after the weather and the good time that we had this weekend, Weather to Fly and On a Day Like Today.  Not sure weather it was the wind that had whipped up or the music, but the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.  As they finished, fireworks started and the last festival of the summer came to an end.  All I had to do was get the 5.45am Fast Cat back.

All of my photo’s are available on Flickr