Ones to Watch at Green Man 2019

[caption id="attachment_40427" align="alignleft" width="240"] Green Man 2019[/caption]

The last we saw of the Green Man, he was being ceremonially burned atop a huge bonfire on the Sunday night of the eponymous event last year. Against the odds, he survived the ordeal, and is offering up another round of the UK’s most grown-up festival (for those who don't read enough books for Hay Literary).

Green Man started out as a folk festival in the early years of this century. There’s still some faint echoes of this in 2019’s roster (Bridget St John), but it’s certainly a more diverse set-up these days. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit heavy on the indie, but at least promoters know their audience of 30 to 40-year old parents with property in east London.

This year attendees are able to catch leading lights of the now world-famous south London jazz scene Sons of Kemet, along with saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings’ other vehicle, The Comet is Coming; pysch-doom rockers and owners of the world’s best band name Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs; and John Talabot’s brand of sophisticated European house – with which you can ill-advisedly see the festival out.

There’s a creditable line in big names towards the upper end of the lineup too: Sharon Van Etten, Yo La Tengo, Big Thief, Car Seat Headrest, Nilüfer Yanya and in the inevitable dad rock Sunday night slot, Father John Misty. But you don’t need us to tell you about them…

So, here’s five other acts we’re hoping to catch at Green Man 2019.

Julia Jacklin

A mixture of dreamy indie pop and alt-country is how Julia Jacklin’s music has been described – and there’s little reason to dispute this appellation. Fans of Angel Olsen will be able to get behind Jacklin’s full-throated, melodic vocal style, mixture of darkness and light, and laconic but elegant guitar work. Like Olsen, the Australian also understands the importance of changing gear in service of those melodies. A perfect act to see in the early evening.

Squirrel Flower

Ella Williams is 22-years-old, but as the latst in a long-line of musicians in her family, and having been recording music since she was 14, she’s something of a veteran. 2018’s Contact Sports is a reflection of this maturity – languorous, large-scale confessional pieces, which never quite cross the line to melodrama by virtue of Williams’ restraint. She makes much of her midwestern heritage and there’s certainly small-town dreaminess in Squirrel Flower’s oeuvre.

Stella Donnelly

Is Antipodean music having a moment? It is on this list at least. Stella Donnelly of Western Australia is a “self-proclaimed shit stirrer”. Seems fair, judging by numbers like: “Old Man”, “Boys Will Be Boys” and “Die”, which hold up a mirror to toxic masculinity in service of expediating its long overdue death from shame. Donnelly is bad ass, cheeky, and often quite sweet by turn (in the aforementioned “Mosquito”, the line “I use my vibrator, wishing it was you” comes across as the most romantic thing you’ve ever heard). We’d like to be her friend. We would definitely not like to be her enemy.

Marika Hackman

Marika Hackman’s angular pop-rock is the work of a refreshingly weird and singular talent (albeit one who enjoys Britpop). She’s pretty hard to categorise to be honest, which is usually good evidence that we have an important songwriter on our hands. Nominally, she was called alt-folk earlier in her career, but it didn't really stick. Her latest album We Slept at Last will be coming out sometime between us writing this piece and Green Man 2019. On the strength of her recent output (“the one” is a banger of the highest order), it’s going to be the shit.

The Beths

For those looking for nothing more than chunky melodies and sugary vocals, The Beths' brand of vintage pop-punk-veined indie will be just the ticket. When it’s pulled off with this level of joyfulness, what more could you really want? With numbers titled  “Future Me Hates Me”, “You Wouldn’t Like Me”, and “Happy Unhappy”, there’s no ambiguity around the kind of thing being served up by the Kiwi three-piece. So, dust off your floral prints, and dance like you’re alone in your bedroom.


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