Monday, 25 October 2010

SWN 2010 - DAY 2

After an impressive start to the festival day two continued the trend with even more great performances. Highlights from the second day include uber cool band TEETH and folk group Young Rebel Set providing just a snippet of the amazing gigs going on the Friday.

After playing a great set at last years festival TEETH returned in fine form to play an impressive set at Buffalo Bar.

Proving just why they left such a big impression last year the trio put on an energetic performance, melding synth heavy electro with lively vocals from singer Vero
nica So.

So held the attention of the audience throughout, dancing madly and at one stage wrestling with an audience member. The singer even managed to include some audience participation to the set in the form of demanding a member to pop a balloon tied to her wrist.

The band played some of their most well known songs, including See Spaces and Time Changes. Both are available for a list
en on their myspace page. Another great performance on the Swn Festival stage from a band who's live shows never disappoint. Take a look at them play in this video I recorded.

Moving on now to Young Rebel Set who brought their brand of melodic folk to Dempseys, proving popular a hit with the audience there.

The seven strong band created a sound which was both rustic (one member even playing a ukulele) and distinctly urban. The urban feel of their music came from a lead vocalist who sings with a gravelly voice that likens him to a Yorkshire version of Shane MacGowan.

The influences of bands like The Pogues is very apparent in Young Rebel Set's music but with a more contemporary feel. Their songs are rousing and melodic, capturing the full attention of the audience throughout their set. These uplifting melodies likening them to bands such as Mumford and Sons. Despite this their songs also contain a melancholic edge, something which sets them apart from their contemporaries.

This band easily upstaged the next act who played. Their unassuming and modest performance contrasted heavily with that of Peter Lawrie who's massive ego completely overshadowed his music.

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!