SWN Festival Day 1: Cardiff – live review

SWN Festival Day 1
17th October 2013

SWN Festival time and the intrepid Keith Goldhanger is our man in Cardiff with the beer and music.

OK…no messing about. I have a room with a view (well a view of a car park), a pink wristband and I can go anywhere….well, anywhere apart from maybe the Dutch Uncles/Everything Everything gig that is already full before it’s even got dark. There’ll be lots of other things to do.

Trampolene have already been spotted waiting for the clock to tick by before their show in that pub on the corner (we’ll get some names for these after a couple of days) and one of us has mastered that art of hanging upside down outside the window in order to prevent the smoke alarms going off. Which could have meant trouble for any “Steampunk” guitarists that may have been walking past at the time (Not easy to spot from upside down but it was wasn’t it?).

Bands then…loads of the fuckers and it is with a deep breath that we enter the fray and stand in front of a couple of chaps called His Naked Torso who play 500 songs in 25 minutes or maybe just one song with 500 parts in 25 minutes. They’d be too young to remember The Happy Flowers or Big Flame and because the singer doesn’t growl we can strike off any comparisons with Napalm Death for the moment. They sell me a CD for 50p it’s a good CD and it’s a very good start.

Two thirds of Trampolene make up 100% of the people currently in Cardiff I’ve has actually met before today so to report that 50% of the people known before walking into this city buckled over at one point today isn’t as bad a statistic as it sounds at first. Trampolene sound like a better version of Oasis than Oasis do at times.

SWN Festival Day 1: Cardiff – live review

Its all going swimmingly until guitarist/main vocalist Jack Jones (really!) keels over mid song and luckily manages to fall into a very soft box!! – Oh! how it can be laughed about now (although “bouncing back” jokes have been banned) but this was scarey. I’m sure lots of people have seen others faint before but Jack was at that moment the center of attention and as the room stood silent and watched the man wobble back to his feet after a few minutes and play one more song you could feel the entire room thinking “please stop now and go and just get some fresh air mate….” It was still only 8pm and well….sometimes we think we’ve seen it all – happily, all is well for the frontman. (In case you’re interested I was at a Gary Glitter gig at the Lyceum the night Tommy Cooper never got back up back in 1984….)

Time next for a band we know nothing about and blimey o’reilly Gulp were fuckin’ fab. Dancey, electronic Hot Chip “Goldfrapp” grooves that had a few of us swaying and wishing it was a few hours later than half nine. A bloke from the Super Furry Animals, a Folk singer, a couple of others and some tunes worth hunting out ….. here you go ….. have this one on me …..


SWN Festival Day 1: Cardiff – live review

This is great and this is why we’re here. This is proof that our intuition a few weeks ago when we noticed this festival was happening was correct. Back of the net as they say.
Then it gets better. Rad Stewart sound like Art Brut’s Eddie Argos fronting the 1981 version of The Fall and every other band (e.g Pavement) that have done wonders out of being compared to our Mancunian heroes.

A quick stroll down the end of the street to have a look to see what else is going on and we witness two blokes standing on a stage that look like they maybe son and father in law arguing over the TV remote control whilst all hell is breaking out with the electrics in the room. One of those “experimental” acts then that someone warned us about earlier. Early Hominids were the name.

SWN Festival Day 1: Cardiff – live review

Cut Ribbons bring the evening back to life and these are so indie that they sing a song about a dead cat. As in…the singer’s dead cat.
Recently deceased.

AWwwwww !….I was feeling all comfortable, happy and without a care in the world until she announced that. However they were also worth the £3.04 pint it took to gulp down whilst watching and maybe worth another peep at once their new EP comes out next month.

A newly discovered short cut through a Wetherspoons pub (that’s lunch sorted tomorrow then!) via a song or two by Peggy Sue brings us to yet another venue, this time being entertained by the glitchy, throbbing, silhouetted softly spoken Ghostpoet to keep us feet tappers happy .

Sky Larkin end our first evening doing an almost unrecognisable version of The Day The World Turned Dayglo and saying lots of nice things about Wichita Records who not only have released three albums now by this trio but are celebrating thirteen years of existence (there was no cake tho’).

So ..Thursday night begins this years swn festival and midnight brings out the drunks and local entrepeneurs who attempt to lead us into the temptation of even more ale by (you’ll like this) convincing us that “There are A list celebrities” in their bar waiting for “people like us” to go and “hang out” with them at this late hour. So who do you think these “A list celebrities” are then….. ? Well the last thing I remember was being asked if I’d “ever heard of a band called The Cult, mate?”……

“Three drinks for a fiver but be quick ‘cos the other three were in here but they’ve sloped off to another one of my bars…….”

C’mon Cardiff, you were doing so well up until that bit…………


Bands mentioned in this review can be found by following the following links – Dutch UnclesEverything EverythingTrampoleneHis Naked TorsoGulpRad Stewart, Cut RibbonsPeggy SueGhostpoetSky Larkin

All words by Keith Goldhanger. More work 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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