SWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live review

SWN Festival Day
19th October 2013

As SWN moves into it’s third day our man is still on the front line, risking life and limb and staying fairly sober to bring you all news that prit to fint.

What’s been good about SWN so far is the close proximity of the venues. The area along Womanby Street hosts more than half a dozen, one of which has two rooms that seem to keep us entertained non stop as one stage starts as the other one finishes.

Therefore going to any venue more than twenty minutes walk away has been omitted from our plans today. One day I might actually get to see Golden Fable but alas, not today…

Today I start by finding the open air stage in the shopping precinct and arrive just as a band is finishing then stand on my own waiting for the next band whilst it pisses down with rain. I ignore everyone standing in the doorway of TKMaxx and just stand there thinking I’m at Glastonbury …. then I give up and go and have some breakfast whilst I’m still soaking wet, hungover, ruined and attempting to forget totally what it’s like to watch a band for half an hour.

SWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live review
SWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live reviewSWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live reviewSWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live reviewSWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live review

And then it all begins again as the Louder Than War delegates stand at the front of a Summer Ghost gig to analyse, make notes and stroke our chins. Summer Ghost is one man called Alex and he tells us he doesn’t do this very often but plans to form a band. He has a piano, drum machine and one of those things that loops sounds and a voice not too dissimilar to wassisname in Radiohead. What he does is great. Fans of James Blake and Deptford Goth might like this man. He doesn’t need a band, he just needs to be told by the odd person that what he’s doing works fine. Honestly fella … it all sounded good, keep posting up tunes and people like us will listen and enjoy.

Local band Hail The Planes come and go and make us think that maybe this is how Icelands’ Sigur Ros started out and Stars And Flights are a loud vicious hardcore band who look like they have one of the best fastest and competent bass players we’ve seen all weekend.

Brothers seem to have too many ideas that no one can agree on but a duet between the guitarist and a female guest is probably the highlight of the brief set.

This Is Wreckage are probably the hardest looking bunch of bastards we’ve seen all weekend. We’re considering having them escort us down the road at the end of the day but are too afraid to even say hello. This hard fast trio could be the bastard sons of Jesus Lizard, Killing Joke or Therapy? Having a pink My Little Pony sat upright at the front of the stage does not hide the fact that these boys would scare the bouncers on the door outside if things ever got nasty.

But it’s not like that at all around here…..everyone’s being really nice and it’s noted that the queues today are not so bad.

So where is everyone?

SWN Festival Day 3: Cardiff – live reviewWell, theres a lot of people crammed into the sweatbox that is called the Moon club to have a look at Nadine Shah (pic right). Her angelic, haunting ballards mesmerise those in attendance and she is certainly a highlight of the weekend.

Nadine seems to win fans with every moves she makes at the moment and tonight is no different. Marvellous stuff.

Story Books have some big tunes waiting to get inside our heads and stay there whilst Clipping (see pic below) from LA are loud, distorted, mean and as impressive as anything we’ve witnessed all weekend. They have a couple of electronic wizards that make a lot of break beat, glitch distorted noise but are complemented by a rapper that drives everything into one mighty chaotic mesh of songs that are hard, fast, violent but friendly and exciting pieces of work. We wonder how they manage all this at times which is always a good thing to bring to our attention. Mighty stuff and a trio we need back in the UK as soon as possible because waving our arms in the air and shouting things like “In yr face!!!” are always good things to get involved in.

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Swn FestivalClipping.

Glorious stuff.

The Whytches we’ve seen a few times before but not in front of as many people as this . This trio have pulled a big crowd this evening and their attraction…? well, it’s all made to sound so simple. Their grunge inspired 60’s garage psych rock goes down very well and it feels like they’ve somehow made one massive leap in a short amount of time.

And so it goes on …. and on …. and on …. and on …. we catch a glimpse of a couple more bands who we don’t know the names of and cannot look them up anymore due to everything being soaking wet. We wander into a small room where some acts we don’t recognise are playing and being interviewed for a local radio station and it’s raining. In fact it’s pouring and it’s time for the old man to get snoring…..DAY 4 looks like the best line up so far……beauty sleep required….stay tuned.


Bands mentioned in this review can be found by following the following links – Golden Fable, Summer Ghost, Hail The Planes, Stars And Flights, This Is Wreckage, Brothers, Nadine ShahStory Books, Clipping, The Wytches

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 90's as a frontman with London noisemerchants HEADBUTT - spent the 80's 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 - drinks real ale, takes photo's has made a few short films. 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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