Friday, 22 October 2010

SWN 2010 - DAY 1

It's that time of year again when the best new music acts descend upon Cardiff to give us a weekend of great gigs.

Day one of the festival didn't fail to disappoint with personal highlights coming from Among Brothers, Arabrot and White Ring.

Brighton band Among Brothers played a storming set on the Barely Regal stage in Dempseys. The group mixed energetic drum playing with delicate vocals topped off with some melancholic violin playing to create a sound which sets them well apart from your average band. The group's experimental edge was intensified with their use of laptop produced melodies which threw up some similarities to bands like Radiohead. However, they most certainly had their own distinct sound which stood out from other new and upcoming bands. Great gig from a band who deserve more recognition.

Moving on now to a group who were totally different, (showing the diverse range of music showcased during swn) my next highlight was Norwegian noise-rockers Arabrot who rocked The Model Inn last night.

Mixing together eerie backing tracks with harsh vocals to create a sound which was both unique and unsettling the group had the audience gripped during their performance. The dark elements to the groups music were embellished further through the band's insistence that the lights were turned off during their set.

The group played an impressive set, playing alongside backing tracks which featured disembodied voices and other strange noises. Metal fans will definitely see similarities between Arabrot and other metal favourites such as Anthrax and Megadeth but with something new and fresh to their sound. It was clear from their gig why this band have been nominated for a Grammy Award in their home country.

Finally, creating the most surreal atmosphere of any gig that night were slo-mo synth duo White Ring who transformed Undertone into a creepy and claustrophobic place through their excessive use of a smoke machine.

The band were barely visible through the smoky mist that descended, adding to the fittingly dubbed 'witch house' sound the duo produced. Their use of echoed vocals and droning synth created a haunting sound that felt like they had been inspired by drugged induced hallucinations or scenes from a Wes Craven film.

Obvious comparisons would be to Crystal Castles, but White Ring were much less energetic and noisy, focusing instead on slow and ethereal melodies. A great, if not very strange, gig!

Swn festival continues today and tomorrow for anyone interested in buying a day ticket. Personal recommendations include TEETH who will be playing Buffolo Bar tonight at 8.15pm and Cate Le Bon who will be playing Buffolo Bar on Saturday at 8.00pm!

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