Set to be the most exciting day of Green Man 2013 yet, I got up early to take in the site. I honestly cannot stress enough how incredibly beautiful the Green Man setting is. There’s a shallow lake encircled by trees whose branches drape around you as you wander, green fields surrounded by foggy mountains and miss-matched emerald hills. It’s a wonderland.
So what better a place than this to spend talking to a man in a sparkly hat and Hawaiian shirt about the positive side of LSD?
Andy Roberts is the author of ‘Albion Dreaming – A cultural history of LSD in Britain.’ Boasting its position as the first book to ever look into the subject, Andy proves a very good public speaker. Though, after half an hour of being told that the experiments produced by the worlds interest in LSD in the 60’s and 70’s were all necessary, I’d had enough.
Though, my next choice in band proved a little like an LSD trip itself, I quickly came to the conclusion that I’d made probably the best decision of the weekend. Flamingods are a five piece, multi-instrumental, alternative band from London. The boys entered the stage dressed in tie-dye robes with red and purple face-paint smeared over their bodies. Kitchen utensils and pots and pans were scattered around the impressively colourful stage, while a cloaked table covered in a concoction of surreal instruments hid the bottom half of the lead singer, whose hat had too many beads to count.
Started in late 2009, the band met in Bahrain and brought Flamingods back to the UK. Their music is predominantly tribal, with hints of reggae, Bollywood and Asian influence – with chanting a-plenty and an intoxicating plethora of strange sounds and costumes.
Their debut album ‘Sun’ is, in the best sense of the word, magical. Songs like Kinich Ahau and title track Sun had the audience stomping their feet to the irregular beat of the bongo and eyes glued to what the boys were going to do next. It was the biggest garden party I’d been to in a while – with happy faces surrounding me and glitter flying from around as if out of thin air. Half way through the set, two very lovely female dancers arrived on stage wearing matching Indian-style costumes to accompany the band in a subtle rave. Well, I say dancers, they seemed more like excited fans who’d made up some moves to go with a song they liked the sound to – but nonetheless, they added a little extra oomph to the set at a point where the songs were beginning to sound slightly samey.
After indulging in a small cider-tasting session at the Talking Tent with Beer writer Pete Brown, I wandered through the glistening trees, caked by sunshine and condensation, back to the Far Out tent where Melody’s Echo Chamber were about to open.
Based in Paris, the band give off a Parisian persona with effortless elegance, as lead singer/songwriter Melody Prochet proves with her shoulder length hairstyle and accented voice.
The gig began under a sky of eyes (an instillation piece that brought a little mystery to the event), and developed quickly into a romantic 45 minute set of swaying and arm waving. Their past recording sessions with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker give their gentle melodies a rough-around-the-edge feeling that helps highlight the bass drops and bring out the best in some of their darker songs.
The band seem free-spirited, with Melody herself swaying to the sounds behind her like it’s the soundtrack to her life. The crowd reflected this feeling, with songs like Some Time Alone, Alone sending icy goose-bumps up the arms and neck of those in listening distance. The effect to her voice seemed enforced at points, however, with the distortion proving less spacy after a few songs and more self-indulgent.
Emerging into the late afternoon, crisp air of the Green Man arena I felt sad that I would soon be leaving for reality – but not until one last band had hit me hard.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra are another new discovery of mine thanks to GM’13, and this discovery definitely didn’t disappoint.
Travelling all the way from Portland, Oregon UMO are a band that like to mix it up. They offer soulful, funk-based, alternative, psychedelic music – with a bunch of other genres thrown in for good measure. The show was bound to be a success.
Single From the Sun evoked a whole range of emotions – with multi-instrumentalist Ruban Neilson diving heart-first into the depths of the effect his lifelong demons have had on his sanity. The track is both catchy and soul-warming, and proved a hit with the speechless Green Man crowd.
It truly was a beautiful and moving ending to what I will describe for years to come as the most alternative Green Man I’ve been to yet. I may have heard one too many distorted, sweet voices and there’s a possibility that I couldn’t tell the difference between a few singers who all seemed to share the inspiration of the many high pitched solo artists of today – but despite any minor down points, I will always have a soft spot for this music festival – Purely for its exploration, belief and advertisement of new and upcoming bands who may not have had a chance to play Glastonbury just yet, but sure-enough wowed and dazed the glorious, green mountains of Wales.