Even for a Saturday night the room downstairs at Clwb was pretty packed for Jetplane’s set and It was clear from the crowd chatter that fans haven’t lost any of their love for the band during their 6 year haitus; those present were certainly geared up to rock out. This was the last date on the tour before they returned to Ireland and the band could be seen chatting with the crowd as they always do, creating a relaxed atmosphere.
Once they they took to the floor and started pumping out those heady rock tunes it was clear that they were on form and playing hard and fast – set opener Acrimony sounded intense and almost epic in that space. Front man Andrew Ferris commented that the venue was perfect for them – no stage, just a row of monitors to separate them from us so we were eyeball to eyeball, they really looked like they were enjoying performing once again.
With Mr Ferris grinning inbetween lines of lyric they pumped out a volley of hits, including tracks from their superb new album Don’t Try. Single, Radio Heart, sounded even better played loud and the excellent Walls Of Derry went down a treat; the personal nature of the song really coming through in the live setting. Old favourites, I Opt Out, The Violence and Brave Gravity (from Once Like A Spark) sounded tight and melodic but with a gritty edge, the crowd were at this point singing back the lyrics at full volume and getting closer to the stage and more energetic with each passing track. Tunes from their previous album Backlash Cop including the title track and Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav on the Radio? added texture to the set and reminded us all of how diverse their back catalogue is; a solid mix of tracks overall.
It was a pleasure to have JPL back in Cardiff and playing on such great form; this was a set of winners played with style and heart and it made us all realise how much we’d missed seeing them play. If you’ve not caught them on tour make sure you go out of your way to catch them next time, you won’t regret it.
So, with another 50 bands announced yesterday for October’s Swn Festival in Cardiff how’s the line up looking?
I’ve attended and reviewed the last two years and have been keen to see the announcements for this year, but so far there aren’t a huge amount of bands on the lineup that are grabbing me, some that I’d be interested to see but none that I am desperate to check out which is a touch disappointing with the festival on my doorstep.
On the maybe list so far are:
Band of Wolves
His Naked Torso
I don’t think that’s really enough for a full weekend of fun though so far which is a shame, and so far I’ve held off buying a weekend ticket. The lineup seems to be indie and folk heavy at the moment but they do usually pull an evening or afternoon of decent punk or noise bands out of the bag at the last minute, so far not a snifter this year but hopefully there will be some developments soon.
Check out the full lineup and ticket info at swnfest.com
It was a pretty poor turnout at LePub surprisingly, with four bands playing for free people really missed out on a treat, more fool them.
First up was The Modern Farewell, a local band featuring Jon Greenwood (he of many other bands) and playing straight up melodic punk-rock tunes. I hadn’t seen them before but they were fun, coming over as relaxed on stage and making everyone feel at ease – they also had some pretty catchy little tunes, a great warm up.
Next on was Bristol mob Caves with a different line up than usual and playing mainly older tunes, great set actually, although the vocals were pretty high in the mix (I noticed a few people putting their fingers in their ears throughout) – their melodic punk-rock tunes are real crowd pleasers and got the tiny audience moving straight away.
MINE were up next, not headlining tonight but it can only be a matter of time. They have a huge sound, fantastic post-rock style epics backed by screamy punk vocals and some really memorable tunes. They played tunes from their last 4 track EP, Crossed Out and Hidden In Drawers in particular sounded superb – the riffs dark and chunky but shot through with more delicate and uplifting moments all sounding clear and tight and oh so impressive. They also gave us a new track from an upcoming record to be announced officially next week – excellent news. This band continue to impress, let’s hope they come back our way again soon.
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.
Day 4 of Swn was a bit of a disastrous one all round really and not the best way to end the festival. I decided to go in to town for 3.30pm to see Without Maps at Buffalo and realised once I was there that I’d forgotten my ear plugs so ended up stuffing tissue in my ears – not my finest hour really. I stuck around for some of Samoans but got paranoid about the plugs and slunk off home early for food and to pick up the offending articles.
I felt like I was getting back on track later on as I headed back into town for Hawk Eyes, however…I got to the venue about 20 minutes early and it suddenly filled to capacity and Islet started playing instead… I slunk off again for the second time that day to discover that Hawk Eyes had pulled out of the festival, so I wandered round for an hour or so catching bits and pieces of bands I wasn’t keen on and feeling disappointed until Exit International came on stage at The Moon. Luckily they were excellent and restored my faith in music at the last moment.
It was a poor way to end my Swn festival experience unfortunately. It was day three that saved the weekend for me and in the spirit of Swn I discovered a couple of really good bands as I did last year. I think to sum up my experience this year I would say that for my taste it was a less interesting line-up, apart from Saturday there were only two or three bands on most of the days out of the whole line up that interested me at all – and a few of those pulled out, it also felt more indie/folk than last year. At other times there were unfortunate clashes – on Friday for instance where Gallows and Pulled Apart By Horses were on at the same time in different parts of the city so I had to choose. It’s good that the organisers put genre related bands on the same days but it does also mean that some clashes were bound to happen which was a bit of a shame.
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.
The third installment of my gig tickets photo blog which is more about personal nostalgia I suppose than my readers. I’ve come to realise posting these tickets how often I’ve seen certain bands, the same names seem to appear over and over again!
July to November 2004. I’m pretty sure this was our first time seeing the Thermals, I remember this really well, they were selling copies of their first album from a box hidden in a backpack at the side of the stage and they played an awesome gig! Another outing to see Hell Is For Heroes and McLusky, one of several! I remember the Bled being pretty good, that was just between their first and second album releases. Thirteen Senses headlined the MTV2 Gonzo on tour that year, it was no where near as good as the previous year and my overriding memory of the night was boredom. Lostprophets at the CIA was actually pretty good, a big show and pretty impressive.
October 2004 to January 2005 – Bloc Party when they were starting to get bigger, I still maintain they were better the first time we saw them in a support slot. Hundred Reasons were always decent although I cant recall who supported them at this one… Dillinger Escape Plan were supported by Poison The Well at this Barfly gig, it was a loud one and I was in love with PTW at the time so I’d have gone just for them although I was really interested to see DEP – actually they were solid but not as crazy as I’d been led to expect! Two Milo gigs one after the other – we must have liked them. One was postponed from October according to my note, I always really enjoyed a live show from them and at the January gig they were supported by Fighting With Wire – what a bonus.
OK, so I won’t be winning any awards for these pictures but we had a really fun night at Undertone with Chalk Talk and Everyone Everywhere last night: