Swn Festival


A last minute invite, from the gracious Jayne Rowlands, to attend the BBC Horizons/ Swn pageant press launch at Clwb Ifor Bach on weekday meant that I had to urgently cram on all those artists on the brink of descend on capital over the weekend so as to plan a certain route map for crisscrossing the capital and catching as several of the leading acts as I probably might. I marked the list right down to twenty eight should see artists and, armed with a downloadable itinerary for every of the festival’s 9 venues, set concerning making a strategic campaign that might leave Churchill’s careful invasion plans for the Normandie landings look half-baked by comparison.

First stop was the press bash, that was smart fun; there was an opportunity to mingle with rising stars like Dan Bettridge and Aled Rheon, to grab a complimentary cake and even to shine off a glass or 2 of Prosecco into the cut price. Bethan Elfyn, noticing i used to be propped au courant my crutches, kindly offered to fetch ME another glass of wine, before she broken on to the stage to introduce the primary of the day’s formidable Horizon/Gorwelion actsA. New York regular readers of kevonhissoapbox can apprehend that Dan Bettridge is mentioned ofttimes in dispatches, therefore his set was nearly certain to be a pageant highlight. Dan commenced with the unbearably poignant “Letters Home”, a song that shares footing with Willy Vlautin’s spoken piece “Postcard Written with a Broken Hand”, even right down to its use of AN unreliable teller. it is a song, like such a lot of in his repertoire, that ne’er fails to send a shiver down the spine. different highlights during a fine performance enclosed his important single “Third Eye Blind”, reproduced as if by magic here by his tight knit band, and a handful of tracks from the 2014 “Darker Days” E.P, “Drive” and “Rosie Darling”. the sole disappointment, in AN otherwise top-notch set, was the omission of “Darker Days” itself. There may possibly be a a hundred and twenty acts lined up for this year’s pageant, however this is often the guy all of them need to beat!

*A strange footnote to Dan’s performance – midway through his set he claimed to possess simply consumed a cake along with his face thereon. Rock ‘n ‘Roll stars square measure famed for his or her excesses, of course, however i do not keep in mind reading this specific report in Keith Richard’s infamous biography Life. Either BBC Wales is admittedly pushing the boat out or Dan’s showing the primary signs of slightly best-known criticism, unreal narcissism!

It’s a powerful raise to follow within the footsteps of Dan Bettridge currently, however Hannah Grace verified herself to be up to the task. Grace could be a singer’s singer, able to switch from modest opera star one moment to a jazzed-up singer ensuing. This was a punchy, no holds barred, performance with “Black and White” and “Walk Away”, (its stoned-out vocalizing finale nearly took the roof off the place), providing a number of the day’s most unforgettable moments. The pageant was off to a sensational begin.

Bilingual singer-songwriter Aled Rheon is another act World Health Organization kevonhissoapbox has firmly championed this year. His charming ballad “September” has, quite merely, been one in every of THE tracks of 2015 to date, and it’s no surprise, therefore, that he opens his set with it these days. what’s stunning, though, is that the look of 5 people on stage to perform it with him! Aled Rheon and also the beautiful Charge, creating their live debut, enclosed the mounting Trees combine – Matthew Frederick (keyboards) and James Bennetts (drums) furthermore as Tender Prey musician Mark Foley. there is a poignant moment, too, towards the top of a fine set, once Aled dedicates his wistful ballad “Wrap up Warm” to his new born son.

A brief chat with Matthew Frederick, as he was finishing his guest spot, gleaned the unwelcome news that the mounting Trees’ gig at ten Feet Tall had been brought forward to six.30, resulting in a right away clash with the abundant lauded Hooton racket club. ‘See you later’, I nonchalantly remarked, although, even then I perceived the seed of betrayal commencing to bloom in my heart, in any case HTC had been tipped up by the NME, no less, joined of the four should see bands of the pageant. And, anyway, I had already bought my price tag for the Trees’ forthcoming town Christmas gig, so, what might it hurt, I reasoned, if simply this once I stood the Trees up? My conscience was clear, sort of!

So it absolutely was that because the St John the Baptists bells stricken half dozen.30 i used to be to be found within the front row of a packed out Jack Rocks stage in Clwb Ifor Bach able to watch the Parousia of comedy Indie-Rock (HTC square measure nothing if not a clowlike cross between blabber and area with a sprinkling of Neil Hannon, or so fellow Swn creative person Simon Love (more of whom later), thrown certain smart live. sort of a flash, though, the enormity of my actions stricken home; certain the a lot of exciting HTC looked and measured engaging, but, by the top of the band’s third song i used to be getting down to want some type of squalid fornicator, on the brink of consummate the last word act of betrayal. it absolutely was Fatal Attraction everywhere again! Visions of the chirpily bearded Frederick dutifully soundchecking, still blissfully unaware of my illicit rendezvous, began to bounce before my eyes, pangs of guilt embark of obscurity and did a dozen fast laps around my breaking heart. Suddenly i used to be forcing my manner tearfully through the gang and out into the night air during a desperate plan to salvage my long relationship with mounting Trees.

I found out ten Feet Tall breathless and panic stricken and managed to bump straight into, of all individuals, Matthew Frederick himself, busily operating his manner back to the stage through a tightly packed crowd, ‘How abundant have I missed?’ I managed to innocently croak ‘Nothing, it’s running late’. give thanks goodness, because the Trees turned during a terrific set, mix classics from their outstanding debut Hebron (“Aloisi” and “Under the Lindens”) with 3 mesmeric new tracks that augurs well for the band’s approaching sophomore record.

The set opened with the primary of these new songs “Caesar”, a raging hearth and sulphur instrumental, spectacular enough to beat the unresolved sound issues that had delayed the gig within the initial place, and also the forthcoming single “Graves”. Before introducing the band’s ‘token’ pop song ” Lost”, variety that very sees the band pump up the quantity, Frederick genially joked that a recent review within the Carmarthen Journal had delineated the band as ‘successfully mounting the pop ladder’. The Journal is, if something, underplaying the band’s charm. For me, the Trees square measure a very wizard cluster of musicians, alert nine-tenths of the thanks to the highest of pop’s metaphoric stalk and on the verge of constructing a fairytale dream of world domination come back true (well, I even have been drinking all day on AN empty abdomen, complimentary cup-cake aside!)

Between these wonderful sets I managed to catch Canadian garage rocker archangel Rault at the Undertone basement. all told honesty, this was AN under-whelming gig that solely very came to life with the musket wig-out that closed the set; that actually was one thing to see, though, therefore maybe i am doing him one thing of a ill turn and he looked as if it would go down tolerably with the little congregation of punters present.

Next up, within the same un-atmospheric venue, was sixteen time period recent wunderkind Declan McKenna, winner of this year’s Glastonbury’s rising Talent Award. His net smash “Brazil” is AN electro-poppy critique of worldwide soccer corruption and was actually the stand-out song in an attractive set. he is a very likeable and un-pretentious performer; kitted call at a Winnie-the-Pooh sort jersey, he makes no plan to disguise his tender age, cheerfully admitting, in fact, that his mother is within the crowd tonight observance his use of dangerous language.

I was back within the Undertone basement, following my gambol with HTC, at 7.30, to check London’s Honey Moon deliver a superlative batch of songs that recalled the terribly period of The Servants (think “She’s perpetually Hiding”) and famed U.S janglers property. Before coming out their set, the band’s front-man Jack Slater-Chandler created a hand on heart declaration that they were ‘gonna play some love songs for the individuals of Cardiff’. Amen, to that!

They verified to be nearly as good as their word, easing their manner through a half-dozen sun-dappled songs, the most effective of that were the dreamy “Tripping (On the Thought of You) and “Waiting” – each of that were taken from their eponymously titled debut E.P that i’ll actually be searching for a.s.a.p.

That was day one over, delivered to a bright lucent conclusion by {the kind|the type|the thereforert} of band Swn is so smart at unearthing; my plans to hoof across to Abacus to catch the much-hyped Protomartyr abandoned, at the second, as a result of a dietary imbalance – lots of drink, no food!

I had recovered my equilibrium by Sunday afternoon, however, simply in time to catch a top quality set by Simon Love at the Buffalo Bar. Love’s acerbic approach might not charm to everybody, however he undoubtedly has the pop chops to require a number of the sting out of his ill-natured perspective. His latest single “The New Adam and Eve” could be a prime example, a jocular, cacophonic pop song laced with cutthroat intent. it is a fascinating gig that culminates during a outre duet, between Simon and his pop, of the Traveling Wilburys’ classic “Handle with Care”.

From there it absolutely was straight past a packed out Peaness gig downstairs at the Clwb Ifor Bach and upstairs to the Jack Rocks Stage for Beach Fatigue (formerly significant arousal Zoo) and another likelihood encounter with Dan Bettridge who’d hot-footed it straight from the Tender Prey gig within the Buffalo Bar. Another massive gathering was like kings amused by Amy Zachariah and co’s blistering psych-surf set, that truly vulnerable to loosen my teeth on a handful of their higher hydrocarbon numbers. gap song “Isabelle” was a agitated block of garage rock, which, majestically, looked as if it would prolong forever. I, for one, would are happy if the cluster had vie that track over and another time during a type of garage rock version of February 2. Of course, i’d have then are denying myself the pleasure of hearing new single “Drunken Grrrls” and also the equally wonderful “Cut Throat”. In singer Zachariah Beach Fatigue undoubtedly have a front-person with real stage presence, whether or not she’s alteration the mike lead round her neck, stealing her guitarist’s glasses, or jumping off the stage to boogie-woogie with the crowd!

Across the road, at the Moon Club, native boys The Cradles were enjoying their clever, Kinksian pop, to a small crowd. I managed to catch the last half of the gig, that means that i might ignored on hearing the excellent “Denmark Street”. “Stamp Man”, another of their kitchen-sink character studies, is well crafted enough, though, to recommend that this is often a young band set to create their mark in 2016.

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