August 29, 2022
Words by: Arthur
Nestled in the Welsh valleys of the Brecon Beacons the site of Green Man was a wonder to behold. Throughout the festival cascades of fog and mist crept over the hills that framed the aptly named Mountain Stage which is where I saw the first act of the festival; The Umlauts. Signed to Prah Recordings (side label of Moshi Moshi) this felt like a huge deal for the fairly new project. They took the large stage and crowd in their stride filled with courage. A mixture of warped electronics, krautrock influences, multi-linguistic vocals and soaring violin welcomed the crowds to Green Man 2022 and set the tone of excitement.
The next highlight for me was Yves Tumor and It’s Band. A project I had been looking forward to seeing for a very long time. Probably the only artist who could make rock and roll feel remotely interesting again. They definitely had one of the most engaged audiences of the festival, it did still feel however that people were yet to catch up and understand what they were seeing. Yves deserves maximum respect. Following this Metronomy took to the stage and offered up a performance of hits and although there was a lull in the middle of the set, ending track ‘Love Letters’ brought people back to life. By this point however I was lying under a tree having a nice relax.
Friday’s highlights started bright and early with a set from Young’s Ethan P Flynn who offered up a deft lesson in musicianship. Crackling vocals, stripped back folkesque tracks and a cellist wearing Crocs. What more could you want? I can’t recommend listening to his new EP Universal Deluge enough, worth lending it your ears even for a little while. I expect great things to come for him and his group.
Throughout the rest of the day 3-D goggles were gradually distributed emblazoned with Kraftwerks iconography hinting at something exciting later. It all slotted into place when they took to the Mountain Stage and the screen behind them had 3-D visuals mechanically twisting and turning to this groups iconic electronic experimentations. It did give me flashbacks of seeing Avatar in 2009 but aside from that it felt like the fad delivered. Hits such as Computer Love meshed beautifully with the visuals and set in general felt euphorically contemplative with themes of human and technological interactions being even more topical.
Later on echoes of Kraftwerks influence could be seen in a blistering set by Bristol’s Scalping playing in the Walled Garden stage. An audio-visual project through and through the viewer was taken into swarming high definition technicolor. Imagine 1998 Blade in the cinematic universe of Enter The Void and you are about halfway there. A perfect finish to the night.
Saturday beckoned in a multitude of talent with a triumphant main stage show from Katy J Pearson, towering performance from post-rock outfit Deathcrash and later Alex G all being personal highlights. Arab Strap also offered up a beautiful set, a huge gem in their discography New Birds really stuck a cord here. Often delving into electronic aspects alongside their more Radiohead-esque instrumentation and Sprechgesang tracks it felt like a very special set from the Glaswegian alternative rock group.
The Sunday and final day of Green Man saw some absolutely searing sets, saving some of the best in new music until last. Keg for example gave a masterclass in tight post-punk re-energizing an oversaturated genre. Additions of a very sweaty trombone and conch shell elevated this group from any sort of traditional outfit and they were all the better for it. Bristol’s own LICE also stormed in and gave one of the most extravagant sets of the day. Lead singer Alaister Shuttleworth nimbly flying around the stage with a dracula cape spluttering dystopian stories.
The kings of the Sunday really came in the unexpected form of the Deptford Northern Soul Club who successfully saw off any Sunday evening blues bringing everyone together for one final dance until late. A beautifully hopeful finish to a festival brimming with talent and joy. You can definitely expect me back here in 2023.
Photo: Parri Thomas