PREVIEW: Friday at Green Man

REVIEW: Saturday at the Green Man


More squelsh and slip is added to the mud at the Green Man site after an unsympathetic Saturday morning downpour. Fortunately the sun makes an appearance as Dark Dark Dark take the Mountain Stage. Nona Marie Invie seats herself behind an electric piano, and shyly hides behind the instrument as well as pair of huge sunglasses for the majority of their set. These barriers are at odds with the sad sting of her confessing vocals that possess all the heartbreak of a 19th Century “fallen woman”. The Eastern-European and Americana influenced arrangements are weighed down by this forlorn delivery. The chilling sweep of ooh-ooh’s in Daydreaming drag the sun-bitten audience into the heart of the turbulence.

Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny in the Far Out Tent, bring a turbulence of another kind. Sweet Tooth Bird canters along loaded with a chaotic medley of pipe-y vocals, brass and drums. Houghton shows that folk isn’t all earthy colours and Rapunzel hair, with her rock star bouffant, beetle-juice blazer and Playboy hot pants. Her spoken interludes are as bold as her outfit – she demands that her band lose their inhibitions by making silly sounds one-by-one, she then calls on the audience to collectively do the same. In another break, she sings a clamorous Happy Birthday to a member of The Hooves then playfully chides the audience for not joining in. Her boisterous banter soon becomes exhausting as do her jangly, crammed songs.

After the hyper-chatter of Miss Houghton, the occasional “thank you” and the five second silence in-between songs Steve Smyth provides, is very much welcome. His neurosis is confined to the songs. He leaps around the stage in The Walled Garden with his acoustic guitar, exercising perfect control over his grizzly voice. He looks every inch the grief-stricken drunk with his wild movements and woeful snarls (the thick pirate facial hair helps too). He commands the stare of the entire garden with his easy charisma and Australian rock-blues. At one point, he demonstrates the power of his voice by abandoning the mic and continuing to howl tunefully at great volume.

Willy Mason’s set at the Walled Garden is much more subdued. He takes the stage after darkness falls; and kindly plays the audience a collection of his most popular songs – Save Myself, Oxygen and We Can Be Strong. His good nature continues to show through when an irritating latecomer pipes up and demands “Oxygggen! Oxyggggen!”. Mason simply chuckles: “Sorry dude, you missed that one”. He provides a romantic ending to the night with his empowering lyrics, and warm, sleepy vocals.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.