I approached this year’s Green Man with a heavy heart.
The line-up was good, we’d decided to ‘glamp’ but the weather forecast was best described as ‘Biblical’. Still, with wellies and waterproofs packed we got on the coach to Crickhowell. We arrived with our lovely tent fully erect (!) and actually got to the festival entrance before it had actually opened. First time ever I do believe. After a pre-festival snifter back at the tent we got in for a mooch and watched the documentary ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’, I’d forgotten what a difficult watch it was. The first band we saw were Bodega who were wonderful in a shouty, sexy, drummy way. Two or more drummer seemed to be de rigueur for bands this year as was me comparing every band to Pavement. We wandered off when they got a bit noodley and came back after to meet Steve Ford with These New Puritans in the background. It was a gorgeous day and to add to that The Wedding Present were announced as the late headliners for the day. Brilliant! We went for a few more beers then came back for the Weddos who did a blistering set, I even liked the new number! We bailed early cause we were knackered. The Weddos are a heavy gigging band so I should imagine we’ll get to see them again in the next six months, I’d sure that Mr Gedge would take that as a ringing endorsement.
Friday started promising. The weather wasn’t too bad, a bit overcast but manageable. We went to see Whitney on Huw Stephens recommendation, I thought they were okay but nothing special so we wandered off off to eat some Mexican. It started raining and then never stopped. I had really been looking forward to see The Beths in the Far Out tent but because of the rain it was way over subscribed and I think that intimidated the band. So much so that I didn’t really think they took off until five songs in. The circumstances seemed to swallow them, I hope I get the chance to see them in a club sometime soon.
We tried to get in to see Catlin Moran at the literature tent but everyone and their greenman had the same idea and while I stood in the rain holding Sian’s pint I heard the compare say “Please move in to make some space….this is a Health and Safety nightmare!”. Added to this people suddenly had very sharp elbows, so when Sian returned from powdering her nose I suggested going back to the tent if only to get out of the rain. By some miracle we managed to get back out and when for some drinks in the – covered – Courtyard Bar. We got pleasantly drunk and went to see the quite frankly brilliant Squid, and by God it stopped raining! Squid were a bit like Pavement and very spiky, the highlight of their set was the gonzo ‘HOUSEPLANTS!’ during which they were joined by a dancer with two strategically placed sunflowers. We hung around for ‘Stealing Sheep’ who did a slightly pared down version of the set we saw them do in Cardiff a few months ago and excellent they were too. With ‘The Sheep’ – as no one calls them – set we’d managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I wanted to stay up to watch Yo Le Tango (!) but as per I was knackered.
After a jolly set from Cardiff’s own ‘Oh Peas!’ on the thankfully dry Saturday I went to see Jessica Hoop do an in-store in the Green man Records tent (I did miss the Rough Trade tent this year as did many I suspect) The highlight of the day for me was Richard Thompson, first he was in the literature tent being interviewed by Mojo. He seemed to be a fairly reticent interviewee but he still provided some insight and was pretty funny. His set later was a festival pleasing run through of the ‘hits’ including the wonderful ‘Vincent Black Lightining’, ‘Beeswing’ ‘I Want to see the Bright Lights Tonight’ and ‘Persuasion’. Thanks to the reviving effects of a vegetarian hot dog (!) I was able to stay up for Jessica Hoops full set, but alas Four Tet was beyond me.
Sunday started with aching sides, not through laughing but drinking. Our Sunday at Green man started at the crack of noon with ‘Self Esteem’, Rebecca Taylor out of ‘Slow Club’s new venture and what a great, feisty prospect they are too, I wasn’t expecting the synchronised dancing. They should have been higher up on the bill. The big highlight of the day was Eels, I’ve always liked the band and didn’t expect a set full of bangers and their cover of ‘Raspberry Beret’ was as welcome as it was unexpected, for such a wonderfully miserable band they did a a very uplifting performance, a reworked version of ‘Novocaine for the Soul’ was another highlight. I was looking forward to Sharon Van Etten’s (aka the next Mrs Floyd) set and she has come on leaps and bounds as a performer but the set left me a little cold. I don’t think she’s really scaled the heights of the ‘Serpents’ album but that’s just me.
I was determined to stay up and watch the Greenman burn after going to the festival for over ten years and not seeing it once, but I was cold and tired. After a fortifying curry and chips Sian and I retired to tent and that was Green man 2019 for me, or so I thought. I woke up just past midnight needing a slash. I got dressed and when I was out I thought ‘Well I’m up now…’ so went for a walk up the hill to see the burning embers of the Greenman and then I went for a last wander to take in the burning embers of Green man 2019.