Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Green Man (Saturday)

Saturday was when the skies opened and from the moment I woke up, it rained continously all day. After the heavy night before, this was not what was needed and so the tent was unoccupied til about 11. After a hearty, free breakfast we went in search of some shelter and some music. The Folkey Dokey tent was the perfect solution to both those needs.

The first band we saw were The Yellow Moon Band and they didn't help the hangover. Their messy blend of intricate, over-long guitar solos and post-rock, epic freak-outs was meandering at best and at worst sounded like a rehersal on a bad day. There were no tunes, or point, to the songs and the soloist kept hitting wrong notes and playing out of time, he stole so much of the time that the rest of the band left feeling a bit redundant. Their saving grace was the last track which sounded like that famous Bhangra song but played on mandolin and with big, crunchy chords injected into it. Not too impressed. (J says "A load of wank", B says "Noise with too many guitar solos")

With the rain having grown stronger and wetter, we decided to stay inside the tent and the next band offered something completely different. North Sea Radio Orchestra were in fact a orchestra, but on a smaller scale. Comprising of guitar, violin, cello, bassoon, clarinet and vocals, the band created etheral, folky waves that were so pleasant you almost wanted to close your eyes and drift off with them. It was lovely for a few tracks but by the end of a couple of songs, I wanted something a bit grittier, something to get my teeth into and this had nothing. (J says "Nice but neither here nor there", B says "Good musicians but no build up")

The rain seemed to have got stronger, I had a great position at the front and I really wanted to see Emmy The Great so it seemed like the FD tent was going to be my home all afternoon. I hadn't seen Emmy live for over two years and so was very interested to see how all the newer tracks, and older ones had mutated and morphed in that time. Initial signs weren't that promising. MIA was playing in a slow, delicate way which rob the song of the buoyancy that keeps it from being depressing and a bit dull but after that opening misfire, the set was spot on. City Song, Gabriel and We Almost Had A Baby were all performed with a wonderful urgency and sense of wit, which was then showcased with each member of the band reading the day's footie scores from Emmy phone. Tracks from Emmy's forthcoming album, First Love were also displayed with the title track being the highlight. Its leading drum beat and beautifully crafted lyrics, based around the word hallejuah, made it poignant and Emmy's voice and delivery just cut right through to the core emotions. The set ended on Absentee, one of my favs, and as the violin, guitar and vocals build towards the climax, it made me realise why I fell for Emmy in the first place, she just writes good tunes. (J says "Enchanting", B says "Bloody, fantastic, perfect")

After venturing into the downpour and quagmire to get some food and watch an edited version of 2001 with an amazing live prog-rock soundtrack, we could decide who to go and see so we ended up watching Lightspeed Champion, who was headlining the Folkey Dokey stage. I struggle with Dev and his band because I like the music but I find Dev to be an annoying individual. It may have to be with him whining and whinging on his website after I wrote a negative review on him last year, so now I just want to find something bad to write about him. Luckily for me, there was a plethora of niggles I had with what I saw. He is a good frontman, i'll give him that, and a great guitarist but all the songs seemed to be incredibly slow, dragging them to being and letting them fall flat on the audience. Even Galaxy Of The Lost, which I really like, lacked the edge and vitality that it usually has. It wasn't good at all, but I was happy to see Dev had got a new drummer, a girl who sang backing vocals, which are the two main things I said last time so it nice to see when my advice being listened to, shame it didn't help. (J says "Jangly", B says "Reckons he's too cool for skool")

We wander over to see Super Furry Animals on the Main Stage, it had stopped raining by this point I'll add, but were too late to get anywhere near the front so stood on the slope for a better view. The techno intro was great but as the band started playing, we realised we weren;t in the best place to be caught up in the atmosphere, it was a bit subdued on the hill. We watched a few songs. Rings Around The World was great and the crowd were probably louder than Gruff Rhys and Golden Retriever was bouncey and fun, it just a shame we weren't in the thick of things bouncing along with everyone else. Instead we went for a dance in the Rumpus Room but as we walked off, I could hear the robotic voice of Juxtaposed With You and wished I'd stayed. Ah well. (J says "Unfamiliar, semi-skimmed", B says "Boring")
We had a nice early(ish) night and hoped for less (meaning no) on Sunday.

North Sea Radio Orchestra - Joy For My Heart
Emmy The Great - First Love (live) *awful quality
Emmy The Great - Short Country Song
Lightspeed Champion - Back To Black
Super Furry Animals - (Drawing) Rings Around The World

See more photos of the weekend on my flickr


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