It’s the curl in his hair and his falcon-eyed stare…

End of the Road next week… better get on with these…

Welsh Revival?

Still got a bunch more recordings from Green Man to share with you, and for this post I’ll make them all artists from the Principality itself.

If you were to count Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci as the first wave of new Welsh bands (probably a bit spurious I know…), then there’s definitely a second wave of great, new music coming out of Wales these days. And with not a single Super Furry Animal, and scarcely a Zygotic Mynci on the GM bill this year, you could say it was definitely time for the young pups to step up.

(To be honest, I’d’ve got this post up a couple days earlier, if hadn’t been labouring with some tired old analogy about passing the baton on to the next generation – damn those Olympics!)

H Hawkline was the first act of the whole festival; four o’clock on the Thursday is probably not the best slot of all. But he was fine, warbling and thrumming away, backed ably by Cate le Bon on guitar and Sweet Baboo on bass. He was pretty good and I enjoyed his set, sprinkled with new material as it was.

Broken Fingers – H Hawkline

Ghouls – H Hawkline

Cate le Bon’s set was last thing on the Saturday night in the WalledGarden, a good spot, although it was dampened a little by the rain. Hawkline played guitar and keyboards, Sweet Baboo bass again. (Sweet Baboo actually had his own spot on the Sunday, which unfortunately I missed, but I’d imagine there might’ve been a couple of familiar faces on stage with him. Thank God the drummer didn’t have his own band…)

Cate le Bon’s got increasingly gothic in the last couple of years, with more and more of the Nico in her, and her set was really quite dark in places. Again there was a lot of new material from her excellent Cyrk record.

Fold the Cloth – Cate le Bon

Falcon Eyed – Cate le Bon

Another early set I saw was by a youthful Sen Segur, who were really good value, mining a quirky, psychedelic vein that seems to have a pretty rich seam in these parts. They were great, I really liked them, and whereas Hawkline and Cate le Bon did pretty much what I expected, Sen Segur were a genuine revelation and I shall enjoy looking out for their records

Cyfroeth Gwlyb – Sen Segur

The last recording is from the only member of the Gorky/SFA axis to appear at Green Man this year. Richard James’ new project, Pen Pastwn, played to a back drop of indie films last year, but seem now to be moving into the direction of literature and poetry, getting involved in the In Chapters project in Cardiff. I’ve seen Richard James four or five times now, and it’s usually been pretty folky, but this year he played a largely instrumental, again psychy sort of a set which I really enjoyed. At one point, the large uncompromising figure of poet David Oprava, reminiscent of David Thomas, came on stage and read a poem backed by Pen Pastwch. It was pretty powerful, if sounding a little like David Byrne in parts…

Pen Pastwyn with David Oprava

Enjoy these. I do still have a few more things to post, but whether I’ll actually get there before EotR is doubtful…

Come on, Eileen! These things are real!

OK, so a day and a bit back from Green Man, work’s started again and already the weekend’s revelry is beginning to recede somewhat.

An evening’s fiddling around with these recordings, however…


I’ll confess that the sheer scale of Kevin Rowlands’ majesty has only recently been revealed to me, having been give a copy of Don’t Stand Me Down by a friend. In the past months, however, I’ve given it a fair old play, and bought the new one. I admire his honest song writing; am more than a little nervous of his mad-eyed intensity and love the spoken conversational elements of his songs. Where have I been, eh?

Wasn’t entirely sure how he’d approach Green Man or how he’d go down, but I needn’t have worried. I loved the Field Music set I posted yesterday, but for sheer fun and exuberance, Dexys was certainly the best hour of the weekend.

Introduced by the careful and understated keyboards of Mick Talbot, and ably supported by long time crony Pete Williams, Rowlands came on immaculately dressed and ripped through an hour of intense, brassy passion, striking “tongue in cheek” poses and embodying his fearsome songs with swagger and no little fun.

Half way through, singer Madeleine Hyland came on to play the toyed-with and, ultimately, spurned lover who falls foul of her man’s weaknesses. She was as full of attitude as Rowlands himself and played her part admirably.

Generally the set focused on material from “One Day I’m Going to Soar”, but there were some older numbers, including a ten-minute “Come On Eileen”, which he then topped with a 15-minute “This Is What She Is Like”. Wow!

Towards the end of the hour, some wag with a west country burr shouted out “Kevin, ya mad bugger!”, which pretty much summed up the occasion for me.

What great fun it was!


Come On Eileen

This is What She is Like

No need to worry, now the day is done

Well, I’m back from another fine weekend of music, good company and mud at the tenth GreenMan.

It really chucked it down on the Friday and the site quickly became a bit of a mud bath in places. We’ve had three pretty good years previously, so I guess a wet one was due… I don’t like the rain, but can generally cope OK, but this was the first time I’ve actually left a festival early, regrettably missing all the Sunday acts (particularly disappointed to miss Of Montreal…).

We did our normal trick of packing the tent up Sunday morning ready for a quick midnight flit once the revelry was all over, but when we got to the car park at ten or so, it became obvious it was a case of leaving there and then or sleeping in the car and being pulled out of the mud by a tractor on the Monday. Being gentlemen of a certain age, we chose the former, and escaped slithering and skidding from the car park by the skin of our teeth, aided by a group of energetic and noble stewards and assorted other mudlarks. It wasn’t pretty (and neither were we by the end), but I was glad to be away (as I write, I’m getting tweets from people still marooned in the mud…).

Still, getting there by midday Thursday, I felt we got an almost full complement of festival fun – drink was taken, pies were eaten and music was all over as ever. I got some pretty good recordings and I’ll try to get the best bits up in better fashion than last year…

Field Music

I love Field Music. I love Field Music more every time I see them. From their humble, good natured attitudes though their jumpy, complex rhythms to their well-fashioned, clever lyrics – I love them beyond reason.

They played a terrific set, covering a lot of Plumb but also touching on each of the other records and some School of Language stuff to an enthusiastic tent of punters.

I’m still impressed at the way the Brewis brothers switch drumming, guitar and vocal duties between songs, none of which seemed to interrupt the flow of an effervescent, and at times, funky set. It may have been the best performance of my weekend (although there’s another candidate for that, which I’ll come to soon). They seemed to enjoy the atmosphere in the Far Out tent too and made a point of thanking everyone via Twitter, claiming that it was their best festival experience ever. Good lads…

I’ve got some decent recordings, too:

Who’ll pay the bills?

(I’ve been thinking about) A New Thing

Them That Do Nothing

Rockist pt1

That’s Mike driving the Winnebago…

So I’m off to Green Man on Thursday. Rain is (of course) predicted but that’s been the case every year, and I’ve always had a great time.

I’ll be taking my recorder and my video camera and all of that malarkey, but somehow I don’t think any footage I get will be quite as charming as this…

And no one taught me how to cry…

A rather fine windfall came my way last week, in the shape of a spare ticket to go and see Anaïs Mitchell. Saw her in Bristol a couple of months ago with her brilliant Young Man band, but this was a solo gig, in the new-to-me surroundings of The Jericho in Oxford.

Anaïs Mitchell

I’m glad to report that The Jericho is another in a reassuringly long line of recently discovered cracking little venues, putting on great music. It’s an upstairs room in a pub, basically – tiny stage, tiny dance floor, stools, tables, beer, what else are you looking for?

As we walked in, we were met by the sight of Anaïs Mitchell sat on the floor amongst the audience, watching support act Jack Harris, which was all rather cool. I have to say I’m afraid I talked boorishly through most of Jack Harris’ set and can only remember the fact that he told a very funny story about Les Paul. (Must try harder…)

Anaïs Mitchell came on in due course and started her set with Cosmic American and went through a range of songs mainly from Young Man in America and Hadestown, but also took requests and played a good few older songs. She also finished with a version of Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.

If I was a little disappointed not to be seeing the Young Man Band, I needn’t have been, her songs are so muscular that they pretty much stand on their own, and some were even a little stronger. Both times I’ve seen her now, I’ve been struck by how tiny she is and wonder how she manages to command a stage, but she certainly does. I think it’s by the power and sheer intelligence of her songs and her beguilingly vulnerable voice. I don’t think I was the only one in the small audience to be mesmerised by her for most of the evening.

This video was shot by Twitter buddy Substandardnerd, (although he seems to go by a different name on YouTube) and it’s terrific…

Lovely evening, and pretty good recordings too…

Wilderland / Young Man in America

Wedding Song


Out of Pawn