Celebrating its 10th birthday, SWN took to the centre of Cardiff to bring about its annual new music takeover, encouraging anyone and everyone to delve and explore the realms of the most exciting upcoming new music acts around today.
The proceedings started off later on Friday evening, an expert move that’s slowly being taken on by more and more metropolitan festivals who realise that most of their clientele are at work. Unfortunately, new music, indie-rock royalty Spring King pulled out due to illness, but luckily for SWN goers everywhere, two Welsh bands, including Estrons – a band gaining attention at an unprecedented speed.
They delivered a high energy, enthralling set, resulting in them pouring water over each other. It’s suspected that would have done nothing to cool them down after their killer set, though. The high levels of atmospheric electricity were to be thrown off kilter completely, however when Meilyr Jones took to the stage.
Shouting and bustling to get to the front was thrown in for resounding, “SHH’s” as everyone quietened down to hear him perform his ‘quiet songs’. He switches between these and ones with a bit more gusto with ease, his team of musicians behind him switching between contemporary instruments and the incredibly powerful classical string alternatives.
An encapsulating set, where both act and audience are equally as passionate, summed up completely by numerous glares one drunk Welshman received, by shouting “your mum’s a squirrel” and inadvertently causing the encore to come to an abrupt halt.
Early Saturday saw O’Neills prepare for its day of music curated by Horizons, an organisation devoted to promoting and helping out upcoming Welsh music acts. Monico Blonde were first up on the bill and they did not shy away from the chance to start things off with a bang.
Elsewhere, all the way from Scotland, trio Bossy Love sailed through their set of powerful drums, infectious keys and captivating squeaky vocals, wowing everyone with rap infusions, these are definitely ones to keep an ear out for in the near future.
Superglu performed a highly controlled and humorous set, winning the crowd over with their cheeky, charming personalities both musically and otherwise, incorporating a mini live sample of ‘Mr Brightside’ to grab attention and cause some smiles.
Over at Underdog, April Towers armed with their thunderous synths smashed through their set, pausing to joke that they’re “out of date now, because they were on the Fifa 16 soundtrack, but now it’s Fifa 17’s time” before pouring back into their contagious pop riffs. Following them came a similarly energetic set from Strong Asian Mothers.
Kicking off their set with an incredibly amped up sample of Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, before calming slightly (but really, not that much) to perform their hits such as, ‘Out of Love’ and their recently released En Vogue cover of ‘Don’t Let Go (Love)’, a track which they took great pleasure in announcing that it had been originally released 20 years ago to that day. They don’t keep still for any one moment and for such a small room, it’s quite intense, they burst out of it; the whole set is proof that they’re worthy of bigger capacities.
Saturday night fell and Womanby Street in Cardiff came alive with a plethora of late night entertainment. From DJ sets by Girl Gang and Dirty Pop to a silent disco in a car park all the way to a power ballad night – there was something for everyone… which quickly became apparent at the start of Sunday’s proceedings.
Despite the resounding lack of life on the streets, Girl Ray packed out The Moon Club, so much so, that it had people overflowing out of the room and up the steps to listen to their indie-licious, monotonous tracks reminiscent of the early 90’s.
Wolf Girl follow them, with equally as sweet, infectious lyrical content, but unfortunately, fail to bring the vocal talents to match. The Moon Club remains packed, however, peaking before Let’s Eat Grandma are set to take to the stage.
They’re introspective, performance art style of music and live performances have been steadily evoking more and more attention and curiosity over the past few months… and judging by the crowd for this one, the talk has fully reached Cardiff. The room is split equally between looks of bewilderment and cheers of encouragement, their intentionally cold and reclusive performance was definitely interesting, but with a few sketchy technical moments, it begs the question – where is this going?
Also reasonably introspective, but in a hazy psychedelic way, The Vryll Society wow the ever-growing crowd at Clwb Ifor Bach. Where the lead singer has a sweet and slightly innocent charm to him, he throws himself into his performance, lost in the music, making the whole thing all the more captivating.
Over at Underdog, with joyous cries ringing around whenever she spoke and someone recognised the welsh accent, Betsy performs an emotive and powerful performance. Her Mum dances away in the middle of the packed room and that just adds to the atmosphere. Betsy’s massive, note perfect, unique vocals, not to mention the team of instruments including a cello and violin behind here proving that she has found the perfect formula to make emotive, engaging, dance-ready infectious pop songs.
Dream Wife’s set is high octane, illusions of a sweet and innocence obliterated by the performance of ‘FU’, which sees them scream obscenities around the room. But it’s nothing short of great; armed with party hats, claiming that earlier they had accidentally crashed someone’s birthday party – but that they enjoyed the cake – Dream Wife are the chaos that everyone wants to be a part of.
Our festival ended with All Tvvins, full of massive guitar riffs, synth lines… all of which are as infectious as can be. There’s so much potential here and it’s clear they’re nowhere near reaching their peak, keep an eye out.