Swn Festival 2013 – Day 1 & 2 Highlights
Day 1 – Thursday 17th
The Opening band of the weekend for me was His Naked Torso, a discordant, angular duo from Cardiff dealing in noise-rock of the ear shredding variety. The Moon was pretty full of curious onlookers but the duo still managed to make enough noise that I got out my earplugs immediately. They used drums and guitar along with some caustic screams to get their point across and melded in some nice head-bobbing beats to keep us all hooked.
The Bronx @ Clwb Ifor Bach, 10th January 2013
A last minute venue change from Cardiff Uni to the smaller Clwb Ifor Bach meant this gig ended up being the first sold out show on the tour and the more intimate venue made for some great crowd/band interaction.
Frontman Matt Caughthran takes the stage draped in a Wales scarf and talking about the rugby the day before – he always knows which buttons to push and it worked a treat, the crowd already eating out of his hand before they’d even played a note, but even so, the first couple of crowd pleasing tunes saw a surge for the stage and a pit open up in the floor straight away. Early on Matt began descending into the crowd – with no barriers or security to be seen he made frequent trips into the pit – soon literally the whole place was moving and bodies were flying off the stage every couple of minutes – top stuff.
The set was a mix of old; False Alarm, Six Days A Week, Shitty Future, History’s Stranglers, Knife Man, and new, with tracks like Under The Rabbit and The Unholy Hand from recently released The Bronx IV – I could go on but I wouldn’t want to bore you with a huge list, needless to say it was full of hits played with energy and professionalism and they kept us all moving until the last track. Caughthran had a ‘moment’ part way through the set and couldn’t stop grinning, he explained that they just love to play and who can blame them if every set gets such a great reaction from the audience. It felt over far too quickly but after braving a huge queue at the merch stall everyone left happy and satisfied, (if very sweaty), a top performance once again from The Bronx. I never get tired of watching them.
Another installment of my gig tickets photo blog where I take a trip down memory lane. This time we start in June 2005 with…
Reggie and the Full Effect at the Barfly in Cardiff, it says on the ticket that My Awesome Compilation supported but honestly I have to admit I don’t remember them at all. July 2005 and Rammstein at the CIA. This was a memorable gig, oddly they didn’t have any support but this may be due to the set up of the stage show which involved a huge cauldron and lots of pyrotechnics which you could feel from half way back in the venue, other props included a bloody butchers apron and a meat cleaver. Also notable as I stood on James Dean Bradfield’s foot in the crowd – he looked really pissed at me actually!
Funeral For a Friend, we went as Gratitude supported but now I don’t remember this gig AT ALL, obviously a bit of a non-event. Compass Point was at Coopers Field in the castle grounds in Cardiff. We went because Million Dead were playing and sat about in a field drinking beer. I remember chatting to Julia Ruzica by the fence to the backstage area for a while and Million Dead were really, really good. There were a few decent bands on that day including Biffy Clyro and Queen Adreena.
Day three and an early start – 2pm at The Moon and a batch of what turned out to be rather excellent hardcore bands placed well together by the festival organisers.
Up first are MINE, excellent swirly guitar sound and screamy vocals, apparently this was their second show…not sure if they meant second show ever, if so they did a pretty good job of winning me over. I liked them so much I bought a tape from their very nice frontman afterwards. Gnarwolves suffer some technical issues but in the end get down to business with some pretty decent skate-punk tunes. Goodtime Boys really impress – Alex Pennie’s new band – emo-H/C , he really goes for it on vocals and they have a nice line in quirky, dreamy riffage which counteracts the screaming nicely. Last up at The Moon are Pariso, again, they impress, this time we have downtuned, dirty guitars and screaming with grooveable rhythms you can move to, great stuff.
Over to Clwb Ifor Bach after a quick coffee break to perk me up and Black Moth who are excellent – their front woman works the crowd well with her sexy rock and roll vocals and their metal riffage sound brilliantly heavy and dark live. They pull in a big crowd and everyone leaves on a high.
Last up for me tonight is Holy Mountain, the heavy duty stoner rock meanderings of these Glasgow boys goes down really well – the crowd does thin out towards the end but there are plenty more gigs going on so it’s not a reflection on their set although the scant vocals do tend to get lost in the mix somewhere which is a shame.
Swn started in earnest last night. After picking up my wristband in the afternoon I took some time out to draw up my final plan of action using the programme – it did take a while for me to decide whether or not to go and see Gallows and stay in Roath or head into town but in the end I chose the town option and headed over to Clwb Ifor Bach to see Effluence at 7.15pm downstairs. They were excellent – the programme calls them “funk-rock noise a la The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster”, but the only part of that I agree with was they certainly were noisy. Manic but controlled, some brilliant interplay between the bass and guitar (very playful stuff going on there), great mix of screaming and singing, many, many changes of tempo and rhythm but also melodic and very entertaining. Not a great deal of stage presence at the moment but it’s early days and the front man had a nice line in spazzy dancing going on.
Also worth a mention were Pulled Apart By Horses who played upstairs at Clwb at 9.00pm. They are obviously well practised and they make it all look very easy – tight as a drum, crowd interaction was relaxed and chatty and they really got everyone going. There was a manic pit going most of the way through resulting in some poor guy getting a bloody face but by the end the whole place was moving. PABH are a proper party band – entertaining and with some proper rock out tunes. A solid set.
Round two of the gig tickets photo blog, satisfying my need for a trip down memory lane.
December 2003 to February 2004 – McLusky at Clwb supported by Sammo Hung, I remember Sammo being pretty decent. I do miss McLusky even though they never seemed that please to see us! We went to see Modey Lemon as Distophia were supporting, I have no memory of the the headliners but Distophia were as I recall, rather good. I think this was the second time we’d see Death Cab but we made it to Bristol this time and it was worth the trip and this was the first time I saw Coheed headline in the now closed down TJs, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people singing along to a band.
March and April 2004 – I still have a soft spot for Thrice, they are always solid live (but it might also have something to do with Teppei Teranishi…), this was another TJs gig. Hundred Reasons at The Great Hall was another really good night, Sparta supported and were excellent (my main reason for being there) but HR were also on form and the place was packed. At this Futureheads gig Bloc Party were first on, we’d never heard of them and when we went to talk to them after they were like rabbits caught in the headlights! Yet another Biffy gig, I’m not sure how many times we saw them but we kept going back because you were guaranteed to have a good time.
Yes, this is a very self indulgent blog post but what’s the point in having a personal blog if you can’t please yourself. So here we go, the first of what I imagine will be an ongoing series of photo blogs showing tickets of gigs past. Ah, nostalgia.
October and November 2002 – Supergrass, Hundred Reasons, Nada Surf anf Foo Fighters.
December 2002, January 2003 – Doves (as a favour), Hell Is For Heroes, Soledad Brothers (out of curiosity as we’d heard about them being good live), Jesse Malin (with my sister)..
February 2003 – Idlewild (supported by Mclusky) , Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Burning Brides, Longwave, Kinesis (we went to see Reuben who were supporting that night, hence the signed ticket from Jamie).
February & March 2003 – Har Mar Superstar (again, curiosity), Blood Brothers (band were great but gig full of fashionista which made for a flat atmosphere which was a real shame), Anti War Gig (With McLusky and Panel et al), Mad Capsule Markets (amazing performance from the band and electric atmosphere).
A selection of photographs from this year’s Swn Festival:
Day 1 – empty stage set up ready at Undertone
Day 1 – Bedford Falls at Undertone
Day 1 – Caves at Undertone
Day2 – The Good Wife at Buffalo
Day 3 – DZ Deathrays at Buffalo
Day 3 – Mowbird at Buffalo
Day 4 – Shoes and Socks Off at Clwb Ifor Bach