Cardiff Sŵn Festival – PreviewThe 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th of October will see the seventh edition of Sŵn Festival take over the fine city of Cardiff – or it’s venues at least. Louder Than War’ll be there in force for the whole shebang & boy are we looking forward to it. If you want to know why, read on…

Four days in a city unfamiliar to some of us gig hungry people who are based in England’s capital (I believe the locals are invited too) but with such a mouth-watering line up and a lesson learnt from previous events of this nature around the UK over the past few years, we feel we are able to trust that those in charge of collating a bunch of new up and coming bands (200 at the last count curated by BBC DJ Huw Stephens and Cardiff promoter John Rostron) know how to get it right and understand what the paying hoards are expecting.

The secret in attending these events is to have a Plan B to back up any Plan A you may or may not hatch up about five minutes before you start walking the pavements, dodging other festival folk also determined to catch as many bands as humanly possible without falling over.

Some attendees may already have a mental or physical list of artists they wish to watch and some attendees may not have a clue at the moment about the nature of half the acts – quite possibly us too! There may be some of you who, having completed a few festivals in fields, rather like the idea of a long weekend away in Cardiff who have time to go through what we’re about to throw your way below.

A few ideas here then to get you started…..


This guy knows a tune or five, and when recently spotted here in the smoke with a cello player to the left and a violin player on the right it was enough to make you feel as though a little lost puppy was being returned to its owner. Grown men smiled wild smiles and swayed to and fro whilst this charming man swept us away with sweet tunes sung faultlessly and memorably that you’ll see and wonder how this chap has escaped your ears if you haven’t heard this act before.



If you haven’t heard Nadine Shah’s music yet then you should. Here’s Nadine’s new single. A single that’s even better than her previous ones and now with an album that as soon as you hear it you’ll love. One of the future “big artists” appearing in Cardiff over the weekend.



“The Way We Live Today”, featuring HOT CHIPS Alexis Taylor, has been filling our late night ears a lot this year. Some say it’s the tune of the year. It might be just that ..



Shouty, screamy, roll around the floor, aint got a clue what they’re doin’ with their faces screwed up, bent double over guitars making ferocious noises, Japanese dudes with very long hair and very mental tunes that’ll make you smile and remain happy for the remainder of your lives (probably) … and that likely as not makes as much sense as their manic music.


Our review of their recent Joiners show is here.


Noisy psych three piece who, if someone was to delete all the music on “Pulp Fiction” and replace it with today’s contemporary tunes (now there’s an idea!) … would shine.



English duo making an American sounding blues racket that they promise will make you “… run to the hills and piss your pants.” I reckon they may make our ears explode, but wet our pants ???? Not Since Simply Red … I won’t go on.



Jerky, happy, put on your dancing shoes and dance to the chaos recently described by someone who should know better as “the magnificent sound of an ice-cream van crashing head first into a doorbell factory” – And who am I to argue (with myself).



Getting better and better the longer they go on. One of the more established artists of the weekend.



Now these were once part of “Tim and Sam’s Tim and Sam band featuring Tim and Bloody Sam” – I added the swearing myself, take out that bit and that’s what they were really called. And they were ace. But Golden Fable, we are reliably informed, are even better. The male member of this pop duo (and they are a pop duo) is called Tim. The other person, you’ve guessed it. Is called Rebecca:



Up and coming youths with 60s hair, a big moustache, the “look”, the sound, the freak out psychedelic rock guitars, pointy shoes, chain smokers and well pressed trousers … Horrors, Charlie Boyer, Toy fans … start queuing here for your next instalment. Their debut single has just come out and it’s ace.



Big hair pointy shoes, chain smo….. you know the score. Psychedelic band from the Midlands with some ace tunes that are already familiar to those who can’t escape the places that cherish this sound and whose album we await with baited breath.


Our review of their recent Lexington show is here.


Huge sounding trio with a bass that sounds like a tractor ploughing through your living rooms and some tunes you’ll be punching the air in delight to (screaming something like “YOU DO NOTHING FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee) whilst skilfully attempting to keep the beer in your glass which, if you’re clever, will be in the other hand. If you’re craving for the big tunes made yesteryear by the likes of Kasabian and Oasis then see these and bring ye mates and some earplugs because this is one of the loudest bands some of us have heard this year. Officially the hardest band to find on the internet … but hey ! … We found them …



Ideal, soothing guitar, twangy stuff to ease you away from your afternoon hangovers – ideal for those who like to stand and sway and just simply relax for a bit before all those shouty loud bands force you to the bars again.


And that’s all I can be arsed to tell you all about for the moment because if I go on any further I’ll just end up disappointing myself when I miss at least one, even if it means seeing someone else that’ll soundtrack the next few years of our lives.

Technology permitting I’ll attempt to let you all know what’s going on – Stay tuned…..

PS… WOLF ALICE ARE are good, LANTERNS ON THE LAKE…they’re good too.

GHOST POET ..good… See an interview with him here.

CLIPPING. ..good … check out our interview / EP review here.

LLWYBR LLAETHOG …Blimey …haven’t heard these for years.

RAD STEWART …never heard of ’em but like them already … And loads and loads and loads and loads and all over four days and within walking distance……’ll know where to find me next weekend…… xx

All together now…


Sŵn Festival’s website is here. They’re also on FacebookTwitter & Soundcloud.

All words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found here. He’s also on SoundCloud here, Facebook here and tweets as @HideousWheeelInv.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the '90s as a frontman with London noise merchants HEADBUTT - spent the '80s in 'Peel favourites' BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


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