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Film, Album, Single and Event Reviews

Live Review: Ought blow us away whilst War On Drugs, Panda Bear and more come to Green Man

  • By Art. Author Avatar
  • 17 Aug 2014
  • Event Date 16 Aug 2014
Ought blow us away whilst War On Drugs, Panda Bear and more come to Green Man

Hippy trousers

After a second consecutive day of spotting people with fluorescent, baggy, hemp (or whatever the fuck it is) trousers, I’m done.  There is one of these shops at every festival, and they’re ruining the landscape. These fucking ‘hippy for the weekend’ but without the socioeconomic belief types are so depressing; they’re worse than weekend motorcyclists, and that’s saying a lot.

Ought

Following the success of their 8.4 Pitchfork-rated debut record, More Then Any Other Day, Canadian eclectics Ought have been touring for the past seven weeks. Despite performing twice in London last night in the wake of Jabberwocky, they’re greeted at the Far Out by one of the youngest audiences of the weekend. The Montreal-based quartet construct their songs in such interesting ways; drums seem the only constant, whilstguitars and keys flamboyantly intertwine, and the bass guitar sits in a symphonic front seat. With his Dickensian facial structure and theatrical gesticulating, vocalist Tim is abundantly striking. Swinging his head and intermittently weakening his knees as if fighting falling under his own weight, he sings: “I’m no longer afraid to die, because that’s all I have left”.

Sharon Von Etten

With a jovial disposition and unmistakable warmth, Sharon Van Etten typifies the atmosphere of the Mountain Stage wonderfully. Despite exceptional, jagged lead guitar and charming vocal harmonies, Van Etten’s set is eclipsed by her set finisher, ‘Every Time The Sun Goes Down I’m In Trouble’. She is joined by an inanimate Walkmen singer Hamilton Leithauser for the sing-a-long of said recent single, which holds a fatalistic mantra at its core.

The War On Drugs

Pennsylvania rockers The War On Drugs bring a kind of synergetic atmosphere to the Mountain Stage at this year at Green Man. Singer Adam Granduciel informs us that they played the festival six years ago, pointing out exactly on the bank where they were sat watching Spiritualized’s set. This arch almost replicates that of the past eighteen months for the group, whose leap in success with ‘Lost in the Dream’ seems to have caught our just about everybody in the music industry, themselves included. There’s no ‘secret ingredient’ for this - it’s actually rather simple - the quality and depth of the songs on offer on the record is remarkable. Reliant on melody and gradual progression, Granducial and co are bizarrely placid; creating an atmosphere that you’ll seldom find on the main stage at night. Their unadulterated belief and interaction is a constant.

Panda Bear

I saw Panda Bear at ATP over a year ago, and he was raw. Following the release of hyper-melodic and saccharine record, Tomboy, he has been ambling in a kind of wilderness, flirting with new material. Obviously development is an ambition as he didn’t reprise any songs from his previous effort that night, and he continues in the trend tonight. However, there has been such a progression in this time, and this is a complete show. With melodies incessantly budding from one another and rhythmical motifs competing for the spotlight, Noah Bennex creates a bed of textures that offer a perfect platform for his voice to excel (and what a voice). Visually, there’s a kaleidoscopic projection of fluorescent images that react to the music drastically; two shaved, tattooed naked women intertwine, painted face vomit at the crowd. We are ready for the new album.

East India Youth

Surprisingly delicate, East India Youth distort tranquillity in the immediate settings on the Walled Garden. William Doyle spends sustained periods hunched, twiddling, before appearing to become frustrated with himself and launching into something wholly different. He nods abstractly; it’s almost as if he has fifteen different tempos operating in independently. The evening ends with Doyle shocking the crowd with a stomach-resonating techno motif; it makes everybody want to take a lot of drugs.

Slint

Slint is the most unusual band of the weekend, and one of the most interesting. Their set pits sustained periods of whispered vocals, atonal guitar and ominous stuttered ideas against teeth-shattering noise. I’ve never seen anything like it.


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