Green Man 2022, Brecon Beacons

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© Parri Thomas

green man festival
Brecon Beacons, Wales
August 18-22, 2022

Green Man celebrated its 20th anniversarye anniversary in style, with plenty of mesmerizing performances in the ever-striking Brecon Beacons mountain range. Reviews of Elliott Simpson.

It’s hard to believe how much Green Man has grown since its first edition in 2003, growing from a small festival of 500 people to one that attracts over 25,000 people every year. And although its 2022 edition has been punctuated by some of the festival’s biggest headliners to date – including terrific sets from Kraftwerk and Michael Kiwanuka – the spirit of the festival continues to be its driving force year after year. .

It might be something in the mountains, but there’s always been a certain sense of unity in Green Man that can be hard to find at other big festivals. Whether you’re discovering your new favorite band or simply soaking up the breathtaking views, this is a festival that invites you to take your time. Even if you come to the festival with a carefully planned schedule of who you want to see, you should still be prepared to throw those plans out the window at any time if necessary.

Green Man 2022, Brecon Beacons – festival review
Metronomy © Nici Eberl

For example, many of the most memorable sets this year came from bands I had never heard of before. Early Thursday, wonder horse made a name for themselves at the Far Out tent by blasting out scuzzy yet melodic songs. Frontman Jacob Slater had an undeniable magnetism for him; the crowd was in his hand the entire set. Equally memorable were the London-based trio Honey glaze. Vocalist Anouska Sokolow’s lyrics have a diary-like intimacy that, mixed with the band’s fierce rhythm section, led to a truly standout performance.

Metronomy closed the first day of the festival with a hit of their usual indie-pop sweetness. Tracks from their new album Small World – including the infectious Right On Time – fit right in with familiar old favorites like The Look and Reservoir. The band managed to kick off the festival with an explosion of bright colors.

Friday brought many more highlights, including an incredible daytime set of Cassandra Jenkins. His soulful sound was perfectly suited to the chilly afternoon weather, mixing a simple singer-songwriter sound with saxophone bursts and sonic collages. No less impressive were Mdou Moctar, albeit for different reasons. The West African band were one of the hottest bands of the last year and seeing them in concert, it’s not hard to see why. There’s a nice fuzzy explosion to their style of rock music that’s reminiscent of a runaway train. It feels like he could run off the tracks at any time, though frontman Mahamadou Souleymane remains calm and collected throughout the performance.

Green Man 2022, Brecon Beacons – festival review
Kraftwerk ©

Later in the night, Viagra Boys more than lived up to their name, delivering a set of bizarre rock songs, while frontman Sebastian Murray prowled around the stage with his top up. Kraftwerk, of course, also lived up to expectations, forcing everyone to don 3D glasses for a stereoscopic journey through their vast discography. It acted as a fitting centerpiece for Green Man 2022, given the influence they had on so many other bands performing over the weekend.

Saturday was also punctuated with a number of terrific sets of newer acts and established names. Lemonade and strawberry guy have established themselves as names to watch in the future – the former dealing with heavy shoegaze, the latter with piano ballads, while Alex G. and beach house showed why they continue to be such revered acts. Another highlight was the singer-songwriter TORRES, aka Mackenzie Scott, who lit up the Garden Stage late at night. Going through the huge songs that made up Thirstier last year – including the terrific Don’t Go Puttin’ Wishes In My Head – she may have brought more energy to her set than anyone on Saturday.

Green Man 2022, Brecon Beacons – festival review
Beach house © Nici Eberl

Equally spectacular was the Bristol-based singer-songwriter Katy J. Pearson. Fresh off the release of her new album Sound Of The Morning, she looked incredibly comfortable in front of the Green Man crowd. Going from an early afternoon slot on the Garden Stage in 2021 to an evening slot on the Mountain Stage this year, she more than rose to the challenge. Her new songs seemed perfectly suited to the festival scene and it was impossible to find anyone in the crowd who wasn’t dancing at the end of the show.

Usually for festivals, the last day is the most laid back. People are generally more likely to sit down when watching numbers and, perhaps, switch to soft drinks. It was definitely the vibe on Sunday in the best possible way, with sets from Jenny Hval and Ural Thomas and pain acting as the perfect balm for a heavy Saturday night.

Green Man 2022, Brecon Beacons – festival review
Ezra Furman© Parri Thomas

Still, there were plenty of fireworks moments. The one-two of Ezra Furman and Michael Kiwanuka which closed the festival more than tore up the mountain scene. On the heels of the release of his new album All Of Us Flames, Furman’s ensemble was non-stop energy. There was a perfect balance between rages like Calm Down and more intimate moments like I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend. Meanwhile, Michael Kiwanuka, originally slated to headline 2020, delivered a huge final cut for the 20th of the festival.e anniversary.

Green Man has never been a festival to disappoint, and its 2022 edition has further reinforced what a special event it is. While it’s hard to imagine how they’ll top this year’s installment next year, I’m confident the next 20 years of the festival will be just as magical as the first 20.

Green Man 2022, Brecon Beacons – festival review
Michael Kiwanuka © Parri Thomas

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All words by Elliott Simpson. Other writings by Elliott for Louder Than War can be found in his author’s archives and other works in his wallet.

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