Live Review
Greenman Festival, Glanusk National Park
Greenman Festival
Glanusk National Park
South Wales
20-22/08/10

And so we find ourselves in the hills of the Brecon Beacons, flanked by the River Usk, and our festival entrance corridored by some of Wales’ most breath-taking natural scenery. Yes, I am Welsh. But without taking you on a Rhod Gilbert style slant, Green Man, on location alone, is easily host to three of the loveliest days of the year.

An eclectic mix of folk-tinged pleasantness and acoustic agreeableness – typically capped with a 24-hour party spirit once the stars begin to hide – quality over quantity is very much the Green Man mantra. Well, that and recycling. And being nice to people. So, with those draconian ideals in place, and in the trippy, hippy ethos that permeates the site like the heavy herbal haze, Matthew & The Atlas begin proceedings at the Far Out Tent, capturing the congregation with brooding acoustic stomps and Matthew Hegarty’s grizzled vocal.
With the rain threatening to write a new parable, Sleepy Sun’s slightly troubled performance overcomes a quickly deteriorating mic as they lumber, lurch and mesmerise with syrupy guitar indulgence, Bret Constantino and Rachel Williams settling us into a stupor of indulgent, progressive rock.

It’s rather special to have Steve Mason gracing stages again, and after the despondent mire of Black Affair, he seems to have come out the other side happy, shin…well, at least back to his melodic best. He even treats us to sentimental, Beta Band-come-High Fidelity favourite, ‘Dry In the Rain’, which makes at least one boy cry.

So after a few swift Aspall’s, Fuck Buttons’ waspish maelstrom of noise swells the volume, Andy and Ben crouched and poised, enacting a rasping, agitated call and response that’s the ‘Buttons epic hallmark only to be blown out the water by the inimitable DJ Yoda who splices, stamps and chops his way through a regressive DeLorean back to a childhood spent watching Inspector Gadget, rapping to the Fresh Prince and laughing and dancing like a giddy idiot. Bed time.
With most festival goers questioning their decision to bring a tent over an ark, Racehorses merrily rollick through a perky set of quirky, elasticated pop early Saturday, while Avi Buffalo continue to belie their tender age with an excruciatingly likeable performance and the heavy hitting These New Puritans face off against the thunder brewing in the clouds. And win.
Wild Beasts continue to prove why they’re main stage material in the making with a flawless demonstration of the dramatic passion that made ‘Limbo, Panto’ such a fine album but the night always belonged to Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips. Huge confetti canons, orange dancers and a mad man cavorting around in a giant space ball, it’s an unrivalled display of showmanship that few grandstand headliners can match.
On Sunday, in blazing sunshine, Darwin Deez captures the sun-kissed spirit of the festival to perfection with his wonderfully dumb, choreographed dance breakdowns while Silver Columns put in one of the shows of the weekend at the intimate Green Man Pub. Undeterred by a system crash, the duo whoop, holler and bound as their “camp disco” staves off the rain and keeps the party spirit alive. Not that they really needed to, because as soon as we step into Gold Panda’s dark cave of smoke, blinking LED’s and annihilating, introspective electronica, well, we kind of lost our minds.

See you at the Far Out Stage.

By Reef Younis

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Originally published in issue 21 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2010