St. Vincent, Father John Misty, Public Service Broadcasting, The Antlers, Matthew E. White, Landshapes, The Staves
The incessant rain from the night before proves to be relentless as daylight breaks and I emerge from the damp confines of my tent to find that the site is beginning to break down into a sludgy mire. Deciding to use the morning to pack up my tent proves particularly difficult in these conditions, but it will enable me to head home to the comfort of my own bed at the end of the night, which seems especially appealing at the moment. As I head towards the car park, I encounter quite a few families who seem to be calling it a day, beaten into submission by the British summer.
Seeking anywhere dry, I head for the cover of the session tent in the press area and I am incredibly fortunate to witness The Staves perform a short set of exquisite songs that demonstrate their graceful talents to the full. Experiencing the sisters’ finely crafted tunes at such close proximity certainly allows one to appreciate the craft to it’s fullest extent.
The Walled Garden stage has established itself as my favourite haunt of the entire site and I arrive to find that Landshapes have just launched into an incredibly satisfying set full of infectious rhythms and soundscapes that swell into exuberant jams that both band and audience are clearly enjoying. Sunday really springs to life shortly after with the arrival of Matthew E. White on the Mountain Stage. Inexplicably, it is at this moment that the clouds begin to dissipate bathing Matthew and his band in glorious sunshine. They all look resplendent in coordinated blue suits and the music is to die for, full of soul, jocundity and movement that is later enhanced by the Deep Throat Choir girls who subtly add gorgeous harmonies over the gospel-esque stylings presented by the Virginian native and founder of Spacebomb records. Those early leavers would be kicking themselves if they knew what they were missing!
I am intrigued to see how The Antlers atmospherics translate on the Mountain Stage. Although the band lack the dynamism of the artists who will be gracing the same stage later in the evening, their material is particularly well-suited to the surroundings and their vast, Sigur Ros style soundscapes prove a hit, even provoking genuine tears in one particular fan.
The Far Out tent is full to bursting by the time Public Service Broadcasting grace the stage, which is testimony to how far the band have come in the last couple of years. Musically thrilling, with the added bonus of being able to create waves of nostalgic emotion through the use of vocal samples and videos from old public service films, the band delight the partisan crowd with their material from a range of releases. The Other Side in particular provides an absolute gem of a Green Man memory as the cinematic composition builds and the apprehension inherent within the story it tells becomes palpable. This is truly a goose-bump moment!
We are heading into the festival’s home stretch now and the anticipation at the Mountain Stage is building for two of the most exciting artists in the business today. Father John Misty certainly lives up to the hype and his set thrills and amuses in equal measures. The reverence the man receives is certainly justified based on this performance, which appears to intensify as it progresses until The Ideal Husband causes it to erupt magnificently with a version of the song that manages to improve on the album track through the sheer exuberance of it’s execution.This set is certainly worthy of a headline slot, so the question is, has The Green Man peaked too soon?
With St. Vincent waiting in the wings, the answer is no, of course. Indeed, the festival has been saving the best until last and Annie Clark delivers a blistering performance full of drama, faultless choreography, scintillating musicianship, and some incredible renditions of songs that prove incredibly hypnotic in the late evening chill. Asked to describe her show the following day, I thought long and hard. Imagine the spectacle of Madonna and the elegant shredding that Prince is capable of and mix that with the dark cocktail of themes prevalent on her records and you have an idea what the show was like. I’m not sure if I have done it justice, but I am still in the mesmerising grip of this headline performance and it may take a while to really process how good it actually was. Thank you Annie and thank you Green Man!
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Review and Photos by Iain Fox | @IainFoxPhoto