Another weekend, another festival: usually “So what?”, but in the case of this weekend, “Hooray, it’s time for Green Man”.
The Green Man Festival (tickets) is among the most revered three-dayers of the season, and continues to attract the sort of bill so brilliant that would-be peer events can only look on, jealousy all over their faces. This year the festival – partnered by DiS for the first time (look out for DiS DJs on site) – hosts Pentangle, Spiritualized, Badly Drawn Boy, Fuck Buttons, Bowerbirds, Howlin’ Rain, Junior Boys, Wild Beasts, Black Mountain, The Cave Singers, Paul Marshall, Cats In Paris, Laura Marling, Damien Jurado and many more. Get a full list of live acts in a nice timetable format here.
Here, DiS editor Mike Diver – hello – selects five must-see acts playing live for your pleasure over the weekend, August 15-17, at Glanusk Park in the Welsh Brecon Beacons.
The War On Drugs
DiS’s love for Philadelphia-based foursome (strangely presented as a trio in their promo photos) The War On Drugs continues to grow – the band’s Wagonwheel Blues album of earlier this year (review) improves with each listen, and their arrival in the UK has got as giddy with excitement. It’s a feeling we’ve not had for some time, this senses-tingling expectation, but that’s because a band that mixes such instant-fix melodies with leftfield indie tendencies as brilliantly as this lot do is a very rare band indeed. Critics have compared the group to Animal Collective if the Baltimore group possessed a vocalist who echoed The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, and such a parallel is easy to hear in songs like ‘A Needle In Your Eye’ and ‘Taking The Farm’ – get a free download of the latter track at our DiScover feature here.
Friday, 5.00pm, Folkey Dokey Stage / MySpace
Archie Bronson Outfit
Guaranteed to pop a few stuffed-with-mud lug-holes with their acerbic blues-rock live set, Archie Bronson Outfit are expected to showcase a number of new songs from their forthcoming third album at Green Man. Not that we’d mind hearing nothing but already released material – the trio’s past form is imperious, and in tracks like ‘Dead Funny’ and ‘Cherry Lips’ they’ve Domino-issued singles that stand the test of any amount of time. Newcomers be warned: peaceful passages often give way to dramatic gear changes, as the band ploughs through the sound barrier with blustering boisterousness, leaving attendee carnage in their wake. All sounding a bit OTT to you? Clearly you are one of those who’ve not seen the band live. You’re in for a treat.
Saturday, 9.30pm, Folkey Dokey Stage / MySpace
Video: Archie Bronson Outfit, ‘Cherry Lips’
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Super Furry Animals
The Welsh wonders have been on the Green Man wish list for some time, and made their own feelings on the festival clear last year when they spoke to DiS in Spain: “We'd love to do Green Man, love to. Green Man's the best. It's the most fun I've had at a festival.” Wish list ticked, band’s request fulfilled. They will headline the festival’s Saturday line-up with a set of out-there indie-pop, harmonies from another dimension and a visual element that, undoubtedly, will be summarised subsequently as ‘peculiar’ – last we saw them, frontman Gruff Rhys was rolling about in a Power Rangers helmet. Expect nothing but the unexpected is the message, the only certainty being that onlookers will be tickled pink by a slew of hits from across the last decade and more of the band’s celebrated career.
Saturday, Main Stage, 11.30pm / MySpace
Video: The National, ‘Mistaken For Strangers’
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Since the release of their fourth album Boxer last year – the record, reviewed here, was ranked as the twelfth best album of the year by DiS critics and the fifth best by DiS regulars – this Brooklyn outfit’s star has been in permanent ascendancy. The National, it seems, can do no wrong in the eyes and ears of DiS readers and reviewers alike, as recent live reviews in London and Belfast are testament to. At Green Man, expect the Matt Berninger-fronted quintet to deliver epic sing-along favourites, as well as punchier numbers designed for getting bodies moving, albeit slowly. There’ll be no King of the Pit action, here: less menacing motions and shoulder-to-shoulder rumbles, more melancholic swaying in sounds simply sublime.
Sunday, Main Stage, 7.45pm / MySpace
New York-based Nina Nastasia has been charming audiences since she first began writing material in 1993. Since then she’s released five albums, via Touch & Go and FatCat, the latest a collaboration with drummer Jim White (You Follow Me, reviewed here). A favourite artist of the late John Peel, Nastasia performed six sessions for the DJ, and continues to work with acclaimed industry figures – all of her records were produced by Steve Albini, for example. Although she’s previously confessed to DiS a fear of getting stage fright – “I feel like I’ve taken off all my clothes and I feel humiliated, and nervous the whole time” – Nastasia’s set at the Summer Sundae Weekender proved she’s the mettle to sing strongly through a set of heartstring-plucking acoustic numbers, with the whole stage to herself and herself alone. She’s a stirring, stunningly emotive performer who deserves all the accolades that come her way.
Sunday, Folkey Dokey Stage, 8.00pm / MySpace
DiScuss: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Green Man?