Despite the fact it’s Saturday, Swn kicks off it’s all ages show just after lunch, and as most take the chance to recover we take the chance to watch some of our favourite locals in action at this early hour.
Swn have taken the liberty to include an all ages even this year… which means at precisely 12:30pm, we were waiting the one and only GAVIN BUTLER to appear on stage. Late starting, yet there’s only two rows of young girls with cameras as close to the stage as they can get, or as close to Gavin we should say. Musically, he’s got the soothing gifted voice that fits in with the acoustic style, but what pulls him down is his guitar abilities, and as he mentions “the previous night”, it’s definitely is slowing him down. But then again it’s different to see Gavin take on a more gentle approach than The Blackout, which these girls are obvious fans of.
It’s only just begun and already bands have cancelled, or in this instance, we’re waiting for a drum kit, and a member of EXIT INTERNATIONAL to show up… Main vocalist Scott, who appears to be using his hour lunch break to play at Y Fuwch Goch this afternoon. Not the usual norm of barrage of noise from this trio, during last song ‘Disciple’, Jen Long takes the reigns of Scott’s bass, whilst he’s obviously formulated a plan to get in the faces of any bugger, climb any object he can, and lastly, but obviously most importantly, take a final leap from the bar and run back to work before a firing takes place. Most left bewildered from his disappearance, but utterly impressed by the band itself.
Those men who dress in all the same white clothing are back at Clwb. A welcome return to THE COMPUTERS, and they’re a hell of a lot louder than before, more despite the lack of attendance from the ‘under 18’s’. Charismatic front man Alex keeps the band on their toes, and the slighter older fan base entertained with smerky comments, and a sly drop in that next week they commence a tour with Alexisonfire. Shows that there’s some hope for these boys and their tighty whitey pants.
Ironically, of all the bands that have played so far, it’s been a mix of music I wouldn’t personally recommend to under 18’s, especially THE GUNS, who if you haven’t of heard by now, sing about girls shaking their asses, drinking all night long and generally everything you wouldn’t want your 14 year old (or under) son or daughter to be singing about. Which is why we’re thrown when the front row are that, and probably why the odd times are left looking blank after singer Alex starts spouting his usual banter to the crowd. Interaction? Well, there was some. A fail in the crowds department though, sees all the girls shying away from singing “that ass, and those eyes, they go together like treacle and pie”. But when final hit ‘Gordans and Lemonade’ hits the floor, everyone plays along, and sees The Guns erupt into the crowd.
Probably the same kids that were lurking around early for Gavin, are back for again lurking outside Spillers for KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES. This place is even smaller than the last, which only makes this very, very short set as intimate as can be. Even ‘unprofessional’ bugger ups are made when three girls at the front sit on the floor and pull out a blanket to wrap themselves up in, only to start singer Aled of into giggles mid song. Some near falling over incidents, some inappropriate jokes, and you completely forget that this local band are signed to the big guns of Road Runner, and doing pretty damn well for themselves. For them to play this Swn acoustic set show they haven’t quite forgotten their roots, that and Spillers happen to be selling a new vinyl by the boys.
EGYPTIAN HIP HOP to me are just a name that pops around the ‘indie’ scene every now again, and it doesn’t take long to figure out they’re just a bunch of inexperienced young lads. Somewhere along their set up, someone’s buggered up, and we’re left waiting for nearly an hour after they were supposed to hit the stage because of some technical fault. It doesn’t help when their attitude is unprofessional, in the sense they look and act like miserable teenagers. Then when testing one of the mics, the lead singer in his ‘anger’ tests the words “You shouldn’t put on a festival if you don’t know how to run it”, only to be quickly taken over by the festival promoter himself, Huw Stevens, who apologises for the band’s late presence. And in all honesty, after that wait, in anticipation of something exciting – they’re nothing special. Granted, the music does help with cooling the mood of the room down, but I personally would of rather of caught Cate Le Bon over at Buffalo Bar.
Now, this is where the night gets broken down, and not wanting to dwell on too much of a negative side on what is a glorious festival for Cardiff, but someone has to.
On what’s left of a crumpled up piece of paper with bands highlighted to watch, Race Horses and Islet were amongst the last two bands listed to catch at Swn Festival. Unfortunately, unless you were anyone important you weren’t getting in to either Clwb or The Model Inn. The weekend had gone without a hitch (despite this mornings schedule), but it only brings back memories of last year, where each venue seemed to have a mass queue to get in, even before headliners. It’s such a shame to hear conversations from people queuing up, who had only popped out for a cigarette and were now stuck back in a queue with no hope in sight at getting back in. Whether this was the venues fault for over selling tickets on the door, or this just happened to be a really popular band Swn could have placed in a larger venue, either way, only a few people had hope to get in (we also think people with wristbands should get priority). And after speaking to people at Swn stuck in these frozen lines, cold and wet, they only brought up disappointment. Even fellow fans of Swn who went last year decided because of such instances like this, they choose not to come this year.
We left town for a warm home, as many others did.