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.
After a nice leisurely day of getting ready at home I head in to see Survivalists at O’Neills, for some reason they stamp my hand with annoying black ink on the way in even though I have a four day wrist band…very odd. It immediately smudges everywhere, *sigh*. The crowd for Survivalists is sparse and mainly made up of family and friends. They try their best but don’t hold the attention of the punters at the back and most slink off after about 10 minutes. They suffer a touch from muddy sound with the vocals lost somewhere under the guitars and there isn’t a great deal of variety to be had from tune to tune.
Over to The Moon Club next for The Bent Moustache. Crowd interaction is kept to a cool zero and they seem like they’d just like to get the job done – apart from the brusque too cool for school attitude they have some decent tunes on offer; My Bloody Valentine-ish soundscapes with male/female vocals. The former are an off-key (sometimes slightly too off-key) Mark. E. Smith drawl and the latter a sweet (if nervy) addition.
Up next at The Moon are Rangda, this is why I came out tonight and judging by the way the place fills up it’s the same story for many others. Rangda again are not the chatty type but it feels natural and their tunes don’t really need any introductions anyway – swirling oriental edged waves of loveliness punctuated with heavier blasts. They really capture and hold the attention of almost everyone there – the exception being the two blokes behind me who don’t stop talking all the way through, of course their never ending chatter is totally inane and slightly takes the shine off the set for me unfortunately. There’s always someone.