Wistful, soulful, snake-hipped and sultry - day three at Green Man 2019
Amongst the morning mists and latent Welsh breeze, a courting couple wakes aside peach coloured leaves, beneath an old Glanusk Oak, recovering from a night of Four Tet party-hard. They lightly graze past us as we search for that morning cup of coffee, to plan the day ahead. Festival fragility was palpable this morning, the last day at Green Man 2019. One must commend the programmers and planners this year, their anticipation of the crowd's needs far surpasses those of many larger festivals. Sunday morning delivering a mix of pumped up, non-apologetic big gospel from the likes of Self Esteem on the Mountain Stage; with a more laidback, classical meets electronica by James Heather on the Far Out Stage. The choices were genuine, fair and hosted almost opposing options to suit any Sunday morning dweller. The real fun didn't start, however, until we were met with the legendary American rock band Eels; their comic take on heartbreak made for an incredible performance on the main stage, drawing what appeared to be the largest crowd of the festival so far. It's not difficult to see why - demonstrating how renditions need not be such direct and lifeless repeats of the original, the band perform 'My Beloved Monster' with an almost remastered feel. Many in the crowd could be seen turning to one another, trying to work out if they recognised this song from the soundtrack of Shrek. Natural presence and innocent American charm provide an interesting mix of Mark Oliver Everett's stage handle. He addresses the Sunday evening crowd with such confidence and informality - slick and professional hardly cuts it for these veteran rockers. "We love to rock, but we also love to soft rock," jests Everett in the final quarter of their Green Man 2019 set. We were thoroughly impressed by just how smooth their performance came across; a must-see for those who are lucky enough.
From old-school American rock to new-age, modern London Jazz in the form of Ezra Collective. This five-piece are striding forward with such a fierce pace, that they seem an almost unstoppable tour de force. Especially since receiving the 2018 Jazz FM Awards for 'Best UK Jazz Act' and 'Live Experience of the Year'. Their combination of afrobeat, hip hop and London jazz blends seamlessly to form a heavy influence in new-wave UK jazz. Their high-energy, positive-vibe filled set lit the inside of this Far Out tent, marking the end of their festival season for 2019. If you ever get the chance to witness this incredible band live, you're in for a real treat; blending brisling horns and outrageous afrobeat into a shape all unto itself.
As we fell through the golden hour, ruby-lipped and blue-jacketed, Sharon Van Etten enters the Mountain Stage limelight to deliver an awe-inspiring set featuring her new album Remind Me Tomorrow. Moving away from the darker side of love, this acclaimed American singer-songwriter draws inspiration, creating new tracks exploring rock anthemic, sultry synths, mental health and motherhood. The crowd welcomed Van Etten's Green Man 2019 entrance with open arms, embracing all elements of her fifth album release, with nods to 'Are We There Yet' which was released some 4 years prior. A more sombre affair than the previous band Eels, but no less enjoyable; let's hope album number six will be with us in less than four more years!
Never shy and certainly far from sombre-toned, one Mr Father John Misty takes pride of place as the closing headline act for Green Man 2019. His snake-hipped, fashion-focused and languid use of the Mountain Stage brought an almost symbiotic reality to the Sunday evening ceremony; his performance was notably professional, fulfilling each and every criterion of a headline acts' to-do list. Flamboyant and arguably arrogant at times, singer-songwriter Josh Tillman (aka John Misty) was a true performer; he worked the stage with almost early Jagger-vibe. His songs far from the Rolling Stones proved perfect for the rolling Welsh hills.
Green Man 2019 was a truly remarkable demonstration of just how far this festival has come, one might say it has really hit its stride; we're already looking out for those early bird tickets for 2020.
Photo credit: Daniel Nixon