Green Man Festival – Saturday: Band of Horses, John Cale, The Horrors

August 18, 2013

A flurry of spits to the shell of our tent, absent-minded conversations through a dry mouth; Saturday Morning felt like the antithesis to the 24 degree heat of Friday.


Though damp and dank, we ventured out across the licks of the Glanusk Estate and arrived in the echoed ‘Walled Garden’. We were greeted by Denai Moore, and all of her charm. It’s funny how your mood changes; a main course of pedaling up your phone charge with a side of anti-folk will set the majority right.


One of Saturday’s most unique and attractive features was Jude Rogers’ Q & A with ex-Velvet Underground member and Welsh native, John Cale, which was fantastic.


From detailing his difficult relationship with his matriarchal Grandmother to becoming an integral figure in New York’s 60s Factory scene; it was an amazingly honest showcase.Feeling decipher ably off-kilter, we decided to enjoy an hour of short films Czech Surrealist, Jan Svankmajer in the cinema tent. After basking in such an unusual atmosphere conjured by a string of psychadelia, it allowed me to appreciate just how boorish Green Man’s organisers have been this year – I don’t know how often I’d be considering artistic oppression whilst stood with a can of Carling at Reading Festival.

With their new record ‘The Invisible Way’ encouraging a slew of new support for Sub-pop veteran’s Low, there was an onslaught of onlookers at Mountain’s Foot. Alan Sparhawk and co. slithered through a show which mainly consisted of new material. Lackadaisical deliveries and a nonplussed attitude were eclipsed by the emotive, subtle nature of their set. Sparhawk pushed a finger to his lips ceremoniously to hush and entertain this “pretty little island”. The set ended pertinently on their 2003 single ‘Murderer’.

Rooted at Mountain’s Foot, we readied ourselves for a run which consisted of John Cale, The Horrors and Band Of Horses, respectively. First of all, John Cale took to the stage dressed in a Pink dinner jacket and a flamboyant tie. He danced playfully around material from his seminal 70s record, ‘Fear’ whilst maintaining a flow of ‘Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood’. He commented satirically on his own material, singing the usual lyric “Fear is a man’s best friend” but coupling it with “Bored, this is the sound of bored” – most aspects of his set are charming, but decorated by a haphazardly lead guitarist. His new single, ‘Summer’ was the pinnacle of a superb evening.


The Horrors are ordinary tonight, and it’s a shame. Every minute that pulls by seems to stretch their material, opening holes – that new record needs to arrive, fast, to help them from out of the middle of the road.


Band Of Horses are impressive and feel part of Green Man’s fabric almost instantaneously. Their ability to ensnare and encapsulate seems to come at little price – allowing them to entertain, yet seldom nullifies their ambitions. Nuances such as a family a Capella gathering around the piano, and the energetic nature of ‘The First Song’ – it feels like a breath of fresh air, especially when juxtaposed by the Horrors.


Photography by Peter Butler

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