Green Man Festival – Saturday Day 2 Bands Watched = The Leisure Society, Blue Roses, The Aliens, Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Vetiver, Bon Iver Highlight = Bella Union’s Showcase Down Point = Having to choose between Bon Iver and Andrew Bird
For Friday's review, look here
I awoke on Saturday morning feeling how I imagine a born again Christian to feel after his honeymoon, groggy, uncomfortable but excited for what was to come. After a (rude) meeting with Andrew Bird and what seemed like the best bacon roll I’d ever eaten (hunger always seems to justify rip-off prices) i was enticed by the wispy sounds of acoustic folk band The Leisure Society. Their set, much of which came from their acclaimed debut album, contained a diverse array of beautifully crafted pop songs- yet I couldn’t help but think the genre ‘dad rock’ was applicable (ironic considering my dad likes Jazz.) Nonetheless, their performance was certainly enjoyable- lush instrumental soundscapes, witty onstage banter and a cover of Gary Numan’s Cars certainly sustained interest (I’ve never understood why more bands don’t do covers.) Leisure Society
I was rewarded in my decision to explore the site when I stumbled across the delicate, haunting Folk sounds of Blue Roses. I’ve always found that the most enjoyable festival experiences are those that bring with them the discovery of new exciting bands; Blue Roses turned out to be this discovery. As I stood there in the queue besides the pub stage, waiting in a stupor for the conceited bar-boy to bring my Biddenden Cider, I was mesmerized by the beautiful melodies and harmonies that radiated from the small intimate pub stage. Even despite her lackluster and anti-climactic performance, Laura Groves proved that she is one of the few exciting acts in the sea of current mundane English female folk singers. Blue
On my return to camp, I was confronted by the loud upbeat psychedelic pop of The Aliens. Now I’ve personally never seen a real Alien, but I’m guessing the spectacle would struggle to compete with the tenacity and unpredictability of lead singer Gordon Anderson’s performance. What’s more exciting than seeing a crazed man swinging his microphone and throwing bottles at photographers? He apparently even suffered from acute psychosis during the recording of the latest album - yet even their enthusiastic performance could not mask their derivative and dull music. Batman
For good or bad, Beach House are a band with a unique distinctive sound; a sumptuous, mesmerizing sound that turned out to be the perfect answer to any restless feelings that come from festival living. I have always imagined Beach House’s music to be played just before you reach Heaven – beautiful, yet haunting. Their imposing on stage personas which set against the backdrop of a commanding live sound - helped through a live drummer, created a mesmerizing set; even the risky move of playing new material at a festival seemed refreshing and effortless. Beach House
I’ve always liked when band’s lives and cultures feed into their music and performance (note Fleet Foxes) so, when Vetiver strolled out on to the Far Out Stage, beards and Amish-looking clothing in tow, I was instantly intrigued. I can safely say that after hearing their gentle Americana, I’ve never wanted to be a bearded American so much. This said, the novelty soon ran out and my interest began to wane; the soft wearisome set seemed unbefitting for an evening filled with such excitement. Vetiver
Grizzly Bear must be one of the few bands that are more exciting to watch than their animal counterparts. Their trademark spacious harmonies, perfectly befitting for the Welsh scenery, were enhanced by a festival performance- not even the oppressive clouds looming above diverted the band. Like true rockstars they retained an impressive air of confidence and received a notably bigger applause than previous bands. The highlight of the set was undoubtedly Beach House’s Victoria Legrand’s appearance on ‘Two Weeks’, which provided an interesting change in the dynamics of the all-male band. Grizzly Bear
Emma may have been a total bitch, but she without doubt brought Bon Iver most of his fame and adoration of many at Green Man. Indeed, it would seem Bon Iver had been the main reason many had come to the festival; prior to his set, there was a notable air of excitement and anticipation to see the definitive buzz artist of 2008. Despite finding all the ‘mystery’ and ‘romance’ behind his album a bit ridiculous, I can safely say that as soon as Mr Bon (or should it be Vernon?) complete with disheveled appearance began to sing in his distinctive falsetto, I was entirely enthralled. It is an impressive thing for a prominent band to give such a genuinely poignant and captivating performance (Animal Collective take note), which, when aided by two drum kits (which can never be bad), 4 part harmony and entire audience participation on the outro of The Wolves was definitely made possible. My only quibble was that any elusiveness was destroyed by seeing Bon sound check his own instruments; but then again, when you’re confronted by a large, bearded man singing songs with such an intensity and passion that Jason Vernon did, it doesn’t matter. I just felt bad for Andrew bird having to clash with him. 3859631840_93112febce_o