Last weekend saw the good people behind Green Man festival put on a unique live music event to help promote what is now Wales’ best music festival. A boat party, appropriately named Green Man Ahoy!, offered those that picked up a ticket (a bargain at £25) the opportunity to see three of the bands from the main festival’s line-up for this year whilst drifting down the Thames. Starting out from Tower Pier and making the way under the iconic Tower Bridge and out towards Greenwich, the afternoon was a brilliant celebration of the festival’s best element, the spirit of the people that attend, as well as the shrewd taste in music that has been demonstrated by the festival’s organisers over the years.
Those aboard were treated to a trio of performances comprising of Palace Winter, the Aussie-Danish powerhouse of a group who really deserve more recognition for the quality of their music, Gengahr, who are fast becoming one of the best bands to have come from Britain in recent times, and Slow Club, the longtime duo from Sheffield who are mainstays at any reliable indie music event. With those three acts providing the music and the boat, the Dutch Master, packed to the brim with eager faces, it set off in the early afternoon sunshine and made its way east along London’s lifeblood.
Opening the musical proceedings were musicians that have been covered by Candid Magazine previously, the ever-impressive Palace Winter. Originally the creative collaboration of two lads with time and ideas on their hands, the pair started things off with a performance that – in spite of a couple of minor technical difficulties for one of their guitarists – set the bar at a level that took most people by surprise. To go about describing the music of Palace Winter is something that ultimately does them a disservice; they might be described as being as indie as they come, but their live performance shows that there is no vanity with these guys as can be the case in the genre. Everything – from their opening song to their epic closing – made it clear that this group, who are admittedly still trying to make waves, have a passion and energy for what they do that comes out of pure enjoyment, and once again they underlined themselves as performers that people need to know about.
Following on from them were the band that, I think it’s fair to say, most people had come to see, and Gengahr did not disappoint, playing their way through a mix of their singles, album tracks like Heroine and a few of their new songs. Having spoken with frontman Felix Bushe and bassist Hugh Schulte after their set, it was clear that they had some trepidation with these opportunities to trial their new material, a reaction that can’t be faulted on account of the fact that people will always come to see musicians play based on what they know they like. That said, based on the few new pieces that were trialled by the boys from Hackney, they have nothing to be worried about. Yes, there will be occasions where people turn up to a show and shout for one of the original records to be played, but as they showed during their set they’re more than capable of setting themselves into their own on-stage bubble where they play off each other more than anyone else.
Last onto the stage were the duo known to many as Slow Club, and they proceeded to play out the final musical set of the afternoon while many people – myself included – lounged about topside, speaking to randomers about the magic of Green Man itself and taking in the sights of the city. If this event and the atmosphere of the attendees (bands included) was anything to go by, then things bode very well for Green Man 2016 – the lineup for this year is another incredible mix of all kinds of acts, combining the well known with the hardly known, and to be an audience member to such an emphatic display of music in the setting of the Brecon Beacons… Well, I may have just talked myself into getting a ticket.
Words by Sion Ford