Cardiff’s and Wales’s premier new music festival Sŵn (Which is Welsh was sound), was announced as being scaled back this year, and even toyed with the prospect of no Sŵn at all. Interestingly Dim means no in Welsh, so translated it reads No Sŵn. Against the odds like a gigantic stack of pancakes, upon them, it went ahead from its normal 4 day stint to 1 day bursting at the seams full of the best new and exciting sounds from Wales, UK and beyond. It’s origins for those unfamiliar are from the minds of Huw Stephens, a true champion for New Music and columnist for NME and Radio 1 New music guru, and John Rostron who have developed, promoted and positively changed the face of the UK music scene.
My day mainly revolved around the Young Promoters Network stage at The Full Moon club, who started off with the raw talent of Bryony Sier’s unique vocals, whose singer-songwriter style precariously balances the tightrope between Country and Pop, similar to Taylor Swift in her earlier years. A wonderful and easy listening to the start of the day. Next up was a hop, skip and a jump (yes it was that close) across the road to the legendary Clwb Ifor Bach for Baby Queens, an all-female band who fuse together RnB, Soul, Hip-Hop, Reggae and Rock styles to create a wonderful Alternative Pop sound. They’re music is full of soul, character and atmosphere; it’s a full on attack of your musical senses that will leave you breathless, with is slinkly guitar lines intertwining, dual vocals that are heavenly and rhythm that you can’t help but sway too. These girls are the hopes of every credible mainstream loving music fan wants and deserves.
Then it was back over to Moon club to catch Hana, whose bubblegum pop sound is as sweet candyfloss and full of emotion. Uplifting and swept you away like autumn leaves in the wind, gracefully, elegant and full of enriching colour. Her voice is fragile like glass, like Ellie Goulding it comes across like a whisper yet packs a Rocky Ballboa sized punch. Already been played on Radio 1, Radio 2 and highlighted on BBC introducing, she has a huge future in front of he and she’s only 16years old!!
Next up was the wonderful Delyth Mclean who has voice that could warm any heart and fill any room it’s just so huge and inviting. Joined by a band for the first ever time, the result? A massive wall of sound that adds depth and richness to her voice and songs. Finishing off on Lost in Sound, which started off almost eerily silent and then exploded into a massive wall of sound exploding right in your face! Could almost say you were Lost in the sound (boom boom tish- Awful pun sorry).
Gabrielle Murphy who did her 2/3 set of the day came to our stage, it’s clear to see why there is such a buzz coming from her right now. The excellent Lockdown EP garnished great critical response and live her voice comes alive even more. It has a beautiful richness to it going from low to high in seconds and so effortlessly. Her stage presence grows from every gig she does and looks at home on the couch up there twisting and twirling her hands throughout the songs.
Then Glass Giants too much excitement and buzz came to the stage, or should I say floor as lead singer Ross took into the crowd with exhilaration and appetite to prove these young pop-rock tykes. With a fan-base built up and their latest EP offering ‘Cocktails & Bikini’s’ EP being their most accessible yet, their repertoire of big sounding chorus’s, layered with chunky danceable riffs and beats come across live perfectly. It’s irresistible not to sing-a-long, so don’t fight the urge.
Clear The Auditorium are an electronic-core outfit that just like their major influencers and peers Enter Shikari do not give a flying f**k about what genres they take and mix it up into something brilliant. Their under-appreciated EP ‘The Final Broadcast’ was aired and taking for a bit of a remix as they added viral sensation Tish Simmonds Broom Broom sample to drop into a heavy brutal breakdown and ‘We Are The Danger’ a song about cooking Meth in an R.V. which included that famous Walter White line sample in to.
Similarly to the next-up Breathe in The Silence who take Post-Hardcore to a different level, driving in immense amount of passion and love for what they do into each and every live performance and today was no different. Bucketing off Sweat, dynamism and prowess these guys prowled the room like a pack of alpha male lions and ended up with their guitarist Campo playing on the bar.
Time for the final two bands that I managed to catch, firstly Mixalydia. A fine live spectacle indeed whose power pop is certainly the former. Powerful and as tough as a well-done $2 Steak, and Jesse’s BBQ smokey voiced seasoned the groovy, jagged riffs and a snare drum which took the equivalent of a twelve round beating from a professional cage fighter who was their drummer Lydia in this instance. Their catchy, meat-like guitar hooks and warm presence got people flooding into their set as demonstrated on single ‘Biggest Mistake’. Finally finishing off my Swn adventure were Wasters, generating their own hype amongst a shroud of mysteriousness was this delightful indie as Morrissey wearing a tweed jacket sound. The hometown boys gained the largest crowd of the day so far in the venue. Frontman Ryan controlled the crowd with demanding ease, their single ‘Change Your Mind’ is jam-packed with jangley-pop riffs that you can’t resist to put a smile on your face and move, it’s your indie-disco next big anthem in waiting.
So concludes my day at Swn festival, before I headed across the city of Cardiff to catch the Indie Guitar Godlike Genius that is Johnny Marr… If you fancy getting some free tracks of some of the artists mentioned; the Young Promoters Network have got a Takeaway here for you.
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