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Late Doors

Green Man 2015

Best laid schemes of mice and men eh.

Si had gone down Monday to set up camp in our ideal spot for me n Shaun to come down on the train Thursday. Poor Si got corralled into what they call the Settlers area for people staying the full week in and amongst the families with a vast area of the estate cordoned off. He seamed strangely unreceptive to my suggestion of de-camping and setting up again for us on Thursday morning in a position more to our liking. Language like that really does not befit a gentleman.

So as he made seven trips from car to camp including one trolley full of farmhouse cider he didn't seem to make any friends amongst the settler community. In fact it looked to me that he was even glad to meet me and Shaun outside Abbergavveny train station for the ride into Crickhowel taking in a few shufters in the Bridge and back into the site. Our fellow settlers eyed Shaun and i with a certain casual suspicion as they gathered their precious little offspring lest they fell under the wheels of the cider trolley.

Rain, lots of rain was forecast for the weekend but for now it was dry and we headed up to t'top field. Its fair to say we had immersed the festival spirit admirably and recollections of that first night are hazy. Up in the chai wallah tent a funky soul band were going down well but we spent the night wandering around bemoaning the fact that the place was packed with families and the low key mellow vibe of Thursday was gone.

Leftfield were headlining the far out tent. Their abrasive beats and powerhouse tempos a tad too overpowering for an initiation into a long weekend of music. Great band nonetheless  but we were glad of the smoke and heat of the nearby bonfire to finish off the cider. It was here i announced and we  toasted my impending notice i was handing in at work. 38 years will end in December this year. A few people have known it was coming but that moment beside the fire bought it into the area of common recognition. My hair still smelt of bonfire smoke untill i washed it on Tuesday morning but the liberating glow of that fire remains, along with the beard, for a while longer anyway.

A few late night cider induced giggles between me n Si outside the tent bought the night to an end around 1 am.

Friday morning

A raging sore throat and the certainty of a virus announced itself first thing. Sausage sandwiches outside the tent in the silky drizzle probably didn't help and by the time we walked into crickhowel for late morning clean up all i could face was water in the Brittania pub as we watched Australia finally learning how to abstain from playing an unnecessary shot.
Back at the fest my condition rendered me  unconcerned id missed the ace Alasdair Roberts in the walled garden and only untill Natalia Prass  on the main stage late afternoon could i muster any attentive energy. Her soulful voice lamenting relationship and break ups  sweetened by seemingly new found strength and happiness found its way into me. She hasn't had a shower for two days she cood, the dirty cow. Hell i even mustered a cider or two before setting up seats at the far our tent for back to back phsycho grunge.

Viet Cong have put out a fine album this year. Their set of hard hitting power grunge was just the tonic. Incredibly energetic drumming, tight band dynamics and raucous vocals defied some fine tunes at the back if it all.

Hookworms next so we remained in our position. Big crowd gathered and in the tent itself it was clear this band are hugely liked. Thundering rhythm, euphoric tempos and vocals more akin to a prog rock band give this band a unique sound. I think i can hear fellow loiners The Music in there somewhere but they are pretty much their own band. Went down a storm anyway and the large mainly youthful crowd dispersed charged and buoyed  including myself .

A quick scoot back down to the main stage and the immense Calexico were just starting up. I was planning to get my way to the front but just couldn't face the toil, I'd left it too late. Nevertheless, their wall of horn infused Americana tinged with Latin gusto engulfed the whole valley. I've got three albums by them including the latest and i wouldn't say they're amongst my favourites. Certain songs are but the latest album despite its critical acclaim is still underneath me. Butts told me on Wednesday that live they come into their own and by Jove he's right, again. Wonderfully orchestrated, dynamically as one and the joy they put into the performance elevates the songs into a comfort coat for my tired and cold body. Marvelous, even heralded off the rain and cold that were beginning to get ominous.

I had a choice, it was half nine. The funk of Atomic Bomb followed by Hot Chip, neither of which particularly grabbed me, a traipse back up to the far out tent for Temples and Mew, neither known to me or an early night in the snug of the north west corner of the tent. I chose the latter through a mixture of sense and auto pilot and half staggered through the drizzle and a camp full of tents and paths all seemingly identical to me. I found a familiar mark, a canoe on the grass followed by the site of our Huddersfield Giants flag in the distance and headed towards it by now quite weary. The rain battered the tent around me and drummed me to sleep till i awoke, still dark swamped in sweat. Back to sleep to the freakish dreams of the ill and more sweat untill the final wake up and the exhausted relief of fever passing. The tent smelt like a week old discarded blanket left in the rain saturated in dog piss, but at least i was well again.

Saturday Morning

Tea, water, lots of water, two sausage sarnies and we were on the way to Crickhowel again this time a half hour detour along the beautiful  river Usk. The mighty whites were on telly and i fancied a beer. You know your on the mend when that kicks in. I made a bridgehead in front of the telly as the other two went for coffee to join me later. Managed a good wash up in the pub bogs as well since i was the only person in at that time.
By the time the match finished the other two had joined me along with dozens more. For the first time in my life i watched a Leeds match on telly outside when there wasn't a single other one nearby.

Outside the  sun shon and the beer garden of the Bridge beckoned. Finally it felt good in the heat of the riverside. Laughs, beer a leisurely stroll back and Sturgill Simpson in the main stage. A terrific set all of it id seen only two days ago at the Brudenell kicked some country life into me at last. Hell i even took a cider or two, the final stage of recovery. Everything i put about his brilliance on Wednesday applied again. This time in the expanse of this sun soaked green valley. Loved it.

More sun soaked international music followed up at the far out tent. The incredibly buoyant and rhythmic Song Hoy Blues absolutely stormed the place with their Africana blues. Ridiculously good, i had no idea what the hell they were  singing but this kind of music transcends language. Rhythms that primordially talk and guitar lines that tickle the inner being. Sensational music for a festival or anywhere for that matter.

Sadly that made us miss most of the  wonderful Richard Dawson's set in the walled garden. Judging by the response to my thread on him he's wasted on you pillocks anyway but we loved his anarchic stream of Northumberland consciousness. Totally bonkers in the best possible  way maybe all the way into genius territory. Anybody who trips out to cranked up amplified junior sized acoustic guitar with feed back like he does must be. Ask me nicely and ill try to educate you further.

Charles Bradley next on the main stage. Butts had recommended this legend of soul who's played with james brown and the mc never stopped telling us about that and what a legend Charles is. To be honest i found the blown up hype, faux sentiment about loving people and the total focus of the music on one one man's exaggerated worth of himself utterly boorish. Soz Butts, disliked every minute if it. That's mighty unusual for me. I love music and i love beer, there is no such thing as bad of either simply by nature of what it is but that was the Stones bitter of music.

Another choice next, the Fall or Television. Got to be Television performing maybe one of the most iconic ground breaking indie guitar albums of all time, Marquee Moon in its entirety.

We had Goen fish curry, as fresh, lively and totally satisfying as ever, more cider and i set up camp nearer to the stage on my own, umbrella, seat, cider and a contented peace in the rain.

The band are knocking on, old Tom struggled with the top end vocals but the musicianship especially amongst the interacting guitars was mainly there. Took me right back to when i first heard that extraordinary album. Maybe pure nostalgia now at green man but I've never heard any of it live so a real treat for me and ten thousand others young and old all appreciating its impact.

Back up top now to join the other two for final act (for us anyway) the fabulous Super Furry Animals. Si didn't fancy it for reasons only he knows and left me with the big fella. All three of us are solid  life long best mates but its good to have the unique craic between two of us. So we sat there in the driving rain under the umbrellas drinking cider letting this bands cosmic Celtic splendour lift the entire night. Massive love for the band as you'd expect in south Wales and my head is still full of Northern Lites -Rocks of slow life, rings around the world and tolerating a super comically juxtaposed ironic rain soddened hello sunshine. Mountain people is my favourite Furry song, it felt kind of kindred hearing it here and a fucking rousing the man don't give a fuck completed a stunning set, and the day. Well not quite the day, me n Shaun drank tea in the tent, almost through the night as the rain utterly battered the tent outside.

Sunday, and the site was turning into a quagmire in a lot of places. With more rain forecast we walked to the Bridge pub early to get an inside table for their terrific Sunday lunch. It was not a chore in to be almost attached to the bar in the snug of that immaculate traditional British pub.
We tarried there longer than planned, the place was simply too good to leave and the perfect Sunday lunch needed time to settle.
We had the dilemma of a three way choice for first band. Ryley Walker, Waxahatchee and Steve Gunn all on at the same time. It was just too much, it was still raining so we had another beer.

And finally the rain stopped, we supped up and almost scampered back, well as much scampering as three middle aged men full of ale and roast beef dinner can muster.

By the time we pitched up seats on the bank of the main stage area Mathew E  White was ready to appear. The clouds split and the Sun shone through, hallelujah. DJ Tom Ravenscroft introduced Mathew and the band announcing they had made one of the albums of the year and on they came to play most of it. Enjoyed them at the the Brudenell in April but the expanse of the green man outdoors actually lifted and intensified the sound bringing out the textures giving it space to simmer.

Mathew seemed to be the only person at the festival bemoaning the lack of rain. He of course doesn't have to sit in it.

I've already detected a velvetesque rhythm to some of their music and a rousing version of white light white heat only confirmed that. Big Love got bigger and the finale rock n role has no soul was celebratory. In between his delicate soulful touches created embers of warmth that heralded in a surprising but very welcome final day's sunshine.

So much so we stayed putt waiting for the Antlers to come on. A three piece from Brooklyn unknown to any of us. They made quite a nice trippy psychedelic sound making the most of the lads wide vocal range. A bit shoegazy but also atmospheric, might look into them further.

Back up to the Far out tent to pitch up our seats outside in the by now glorious late afternoon sunshine with the shadows getting longer. Kids, lots and lots of kids ran around us like wasps. Too many of them. Nice kids with nice watchful protective  parents. Green mans new found marketing strategy promoting the green man brand as "only two hours from London" has attracted them in swarms. North London types and village dwellers from the shires filled the place. So we sat amongst them on our 4th day of dishevelment drinking cider. They didn't mind us and we didn't mind them.

Sylvan Esso was just starting her set. Never heard of her but the high pitch acclaim she was getting from the throng of adoring youth inside the tent suggests we aren't her target audience.

Attired in a tight one piece she moved with a slinky grace and sang in that semi urban yoof half rap way making snake like gestures with her arms. beguilingly well i might add. Accompanied by one lad on keyboard synth together they made  quirky but charming pop music all girl power and defiance. The keyboard player managed to bollocks up twice their big hit and i rather feared fir his job afterwards even though the crowd laughed it off. The minute the set ended the whole tent turned and headed toward us like a tidal wave of pubescent estrogens. Then they parted either side of us in the way the M62 does around the farm outside Huddersfield. We remained stoic in our steadfastness and cider.

Public broadcasting system underwhelmed two year ago in the walked garden. Here two years on they have gathered quite a fan base. Personally i find their novelty act of mixing old public information broadcasts with admittedly quite exciting mix up beats a tad cloying. The yoof liked it though. They kicked up a reasonable energetic tempo but twenty minutes inside the tent was all i could muster before i retired to the bridge head the other two had set up just outside.

Another dilemma came up. Father John Misty down at the main stage or we could catch the entire Courtney Barnett set and the last bit of FJM. All of us love the Courtney album and the EP before it. It was easy to stay so we moved nearer the stage. Glad we did because minutes later the tent was rammed. We clearly aren't her only admirers. On she and the band came to massive appreciation, a cute hi and bang... they were into it. Fantastic, one hour of pure rock n roll bliss, she is the women if the moment. Every song perfect, the set measured perfect and the sound perfect. So much to love about her but her lyrics epitomise her.

More people die on the road than they do in the ocean
Maybe we should mull over culling cars instead of sharks
Or just lick them up in parks where we can go and view them.

But boy can she go with that guitar. Its all there, classic guitar laced rock   taken by her and moulded around her uniqueness. Rounded off by a more fluent version of pedestrian than the version out on here by fc. The crowd went nuts, brilliant.

Jeez, another choice. Goat were next on this tent headlining but St Vincent was going to round things off on the main stage. We rushed down there to catch Father John Misty but timings had gone to pot. He'd already finished.

Last years St Vincent album has grown on me like favourite trainers. Its subtle hooks, intense lyrics and casual flamboyance have come together to render the whole album a modern classic with now instantly recognisable songs.

Her stage presence is more than a match for it. Very theatrical, her movements synchronise with the music both of which come completely from within her own inner world. " she's like a female Bowie " Si said.

Only 50 minutes but 50 minutes of pure art visual and aural.Tremendous, complete with her own favourite Richard Burton quote she gave us. I was born to raise pure hell.

That was that, Si and i made the last wander in the dark back to the tent as the youth made their way into the arena for the late night stuff. Shaun was already fast on snoring like a drain and i dropped off about midnight as the fireworks cracked in the distance. Good night Green Man, this man still gives a fuck.
smiling badger

Great to hear that you had a good un even if the weather wasnt as nice as in recent years.
Pissing down with rain at a Festival can make or break.
Let alone feeling like shit added to it!
Funny how they can change from one year to the next just by re- branding also. All those north London types turning up with their nippers. Sounds like its turning into Latitude.

Great write up although I was expecting you writing a report about the pub with the same name near Wembley.

Which may I add I will be frequenting on Saturday before I go and watch the mighty Leeds RL.
Plastic Man

That is a mammoth write-up. Thank you for that.

Re: With all the free time that will come with your impending retirement, "My hair still smelt of bonfire smoke... along with the beard..." and "...smelt like a week old discarded blanket left in the rain saturated in dog piss..."

With the recent passing of "The Monk",  are you intending to become a Kirklees-stylised replacement for him?

Heyho wrote:
Great write up although I was expecting you writing a report about the pub with the same name near Wembley.

Which may I add I will be frequenting on Saturday before I go and watch the mighty Leeds RL.

One of the last times I went in that pub was before the League Cup Final with Villa back in 1996.

It was all quite civilised to begin with, but the barstaff made the mistake of giving out bottles and it all ended up a little bit like Agincourt, but with glass instead of arrows.

And we got the proverbial Vs flicked at us on the pitch too.

Stunning line up this year. Wish I could have been there.

Thanks as ever for the write up LD. Pleased to hear that St Vincent lived up to expectations.

p.s. St Vincent is the name of the hospital in New York that Dylan Thomas died in.

He also played in the Leeds midfield in the late eighties.

Embarrassed to say it, but I've never been to one of these festival-type thingies, although I do occasionally go to "regular" venues to see bands. *

Probably missing out on something other than just very, very nasty portapotties?

* Next up, Garbage in Boston. Hopefully they won't be.
Plastic Man

Doing family things - yes.

Music - yes.

Camping - yes.

A festival now actively marketed to attract North/ West London-type people who meet the above criteria, in preference to their original target audience, possibly not.

Remember - hell is other people's children!

Brill write up LD. Richard Dawson sounds interesting, must have missed your earlier thread on him. What would you recommend by him bud? Think I'll check out Song Hoy Blues as well. Glad you all had a good time, but fucking hell mate, the pop consumption sounds Viking-like. Bloody hedonists! Thin end of the wedge.

Great stuff, however I have no recollection of recommending the 'legend of soul' as I've never seen or heard anything by him Heard great things about SFA form others, not least 'Hello Sunshine' when it poured down.

Butts wrote:
Great stuff, however I have no recollection of recommending the 'legend of soul' as I've never seen or heard anything by him Heard great things about SFA form others, not least 'Hello Sunshine' when it poured down.

SFA are always a classy proposition. Bloody great band!
Late Doors

I'm really glad about that Butts, i can get back to wholeheartedly following your recommendations. . I'm sure you recommended someone else live other than Calexico when we were at the Brude. Was it Atomic Bomb with William Onyeabor ?

Richard Dawson has a Mini album out " nothing Important" on a new label which I think is going to get him long overdue recognition. Sounds like they are going to re release an album from a couple of year back "The Last Trunk" that features the song I put on here.

His old albums have sold out now though. Give Him a pre listen first, he's an acquired taste.

So much to love about the green man. Too much to waste getting hammered Dock. It was just steady away, all day like but with plenty of time and food an enhancement rather than a detachment.

Having said that there were certain little signs that the green man is becoming less green and more, well, like the man. Little things like heavier security, prices and other things. Probably go next year but with a keen eye on developments. Forum Index -> Pump up the filter
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