Monday, August 28, 2017

Green Man :: 2017 :: Dyn Gwrydd - Part 3 - vox pop

Some people choose festivals based in large measure on the main stage headliners. I have to say that I have never been one of them and on several occasions I have been to multi-day festivals and not seen a single one of said acts. This was not true last weekend and I saw much of Ryan Adams' set and all of PJ Harvey's magnificent closing act on Sunday.
There are no picture of these because I don't want to spend hours, and in the process miss artists on other stages, to be near the front. I'm happy just to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a grandstand view from the back --- something that the topography of the Mountain stage at Green Man means that it is surprisingly easy to do.
While that set was indeed a true highlight of the weekend it was also the culmination of the work of many others. One artist I was delighted to see on the list - the one that prompted me to buy a ticket, some six months back and just before the release of the latest album, was Hurray For The Riff Raff.

When I first saw Alynda Lee Segarra and her band live at End Of The Road 2012 they were almost unknown, almost totally so in the UK. It occurred to me then that were there any fairness in the world then that should not remain true.  
2017 LP 'The Navigator' saw a change of direction, more reflecting her Puerto Rican heritage, and with a largely new band. Following on from 2014 album 'Small Town Heroes' not everyone saw this as a positive development. 
Almost five years on and this was an artist that I was willing to take time and effort to see live at close quarters. Time and circumstance have conspired to make Hurray For The Riff Raff one of the live acts of 2017 --- and one cause of that is a growing sense of injustice about fundamental issues of human rights; in particular the selective application of them.
crowd was already rather larger than I might have suspected. The moment she walked onto the stage on Friday afternoon I knew that I had made the right decision.

She had the audience round her little finger from the get go and both parties knew it. Stood by the barrier between audience and stage while trying to take pictures that made any sense of the circumstances was doubly interesting. Long story short, this was a humanist rally, combined with a concert, spontaneously happening in South Wales.

The greatest achievement is that although done with serious intent it was never preachy or indeed overtly political. It simply didn't need to be.  

We got to hear pretty much all of the album 'The Navigator' and the band does it proud live.

This was for people to enjoy - these folks had paid for tickets after all - and now the vox pop was singing Pa'lante back to her, swearing and all. This was amongst the most remarkable live sets that I have ever had the fortune to see close up.

The undisputed star of the show.

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