I’m going to go to Green Man again next year. The mud and the rain were drags and I don’t regret nipping off on the Sunday morning. I’m frustrated that it wasn’t sunny and dry because it would have been lovely to stretch out on the grass and read and chill and eat and drink. An extra day’s music and vibe would have been splendid but it was not to be. It’s a grand event with three great venues to catch acts as well as the Rumpus Room where hipster DJs spun some fabulous sounds. The chief music writer on The Times, Pete Paphides, produced a cracking set on Friday night, opening with Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm, followed by Summer Babe by Pavement and Teenage Riot by Sonic Youth. An inspired trio of belters! He finished his set with the glorious Come All Ye by Fairport Convention; I respect this man and his taste.
I caught two heroes on the Friday. On the main stage, a nervous Stephen Duffy and The Lilac Time were playing together for the first time in years. They were superb. All the old classics were belted out with gusto and sublime musicianship and I admired Duffy’s wit, wisdom and self-deprecating humour. I stood at the front among a gaggle of Lilac Time aficionados all a-swaying and a-tapping feet and all wearing huge grins. Having read an old Word Magazine feature praising Duffy to the rafters last week, it was engaging to find myself next to the item’s author Caitlin Moran (Pete Paphides’s wife, trivia lovers) who was absolutely lapping up the set with her kids. Despite my clumsy opening sortie – ‘Are you Caitlin?’ – we had a briefish chat and both agreed that Duffy was ‘da man’. I am heartened to learn that a new Lilac Time album will be hitting the shelves this autumn and I hope they tour.
Later that evening, we saw Martin Stephenson produce a fabulous set at the Green Man Café. As ever, the engaging Geordieman combined marvellous tunes, fantastic playing and engaging banter to keep a slightly damp crowd in raptures. After a beer or three, I felt sufficiently brave to shout out for Crocodile Cryer which, to my delight, Stephenson played with great verve and power. This is a special performer.
Earlier in the day I dug the exquisite folk tenderness of Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (I bought her debut album on the strength of the performance) and admired the cheery and cheering pop classiness of
In an episodic format that none other than Mr Charles Dickens would acknowledge and salute (if, readers, he were still alive) I shall write about the Saturday on the morrow.Here are some photographs. The captions read:
1. The Green Man Cafe arena. Nice.
2. The author ponders the weather with the main arena in the background. Spot the bubble.
3. The Lilac Time perform.