Swn Day 3: Revenge of the Swn

I kicked off my day 3 with Hail! the Planes, who were thoroughly understated as a band. There are often times in their folk songs where some members of the band don’t play anything, but it’s striking how they reign input in to let their creativity roam. They make soundscapes, which seeps in to lovely interludes with the coronet, violin and brushes on the snare drum while the rest of the band tune up. They maintained the atmosphere throughout the set, with subtle vocals and the picking of notes on the guitar as opposed to a big strumming of chords. This continued until the last song, where everything reached its crescendo with frantically played guitars and violin and a military drum beat.

I headed over to the Chapter Theatre, which was the perfect venue for Scriber. I’d previously seen the singer at Gwdihw a while back, where his delicate and stripped back one-man approach had gone down a treat. He played with a band yesterday though, who all played softly throughout, which created a very tense atmosphere. The drummer showed admirable restraint by playing so quietly. The space of the Theatre was a lovely room for the sound, and the respectful and attentive crowd were the perfect audience for it. The acapella number went down a treat, in a way in which it might not in a loud, riotous venue.

I quickly managed to check out Bloodflower, who in stark contrast had a massive sound and were very direct. The big synth seemed to convey a New Romantic influence, and the singer’s Morrissey-esque voice also harked back to the 80s a bit. But the massive sounding guitars and funky basslines meant they sounded a bit different and had their own character to convey.

Fist of the First Man were intense. There was an interesting light show throughout, which never resorted to the standard smoke and strobes. Their experimental efforts were a spectacle for both ears and eyes, and the bass was crazily loud as it coursed through the floorboards, and it felt like it was tickling my internal organs.

Well Wisher‘s show was really intimate because Fuel is such a small venue. There was a punk rock influence in the sense that they distilled all their songs to melody, leaving out any extra bits that aren’t essential to the songs. Despite being billed as emo, they write major key music, which means it all sounds incredibly positive. They played Weezer covers for the second 1/2 of their set, which was really enjoyable as they played a fans’ collection of songs. I’ve seen Weezer twice, but I’ve never seen them play El Scorcho or Tired of Sex, both of which Well Wisher take on tonight. Their versions are both lo-fi and scuzzy, and all the more enjoyable for it.

Theo displayed an amazing understanding of how drums relate to melody in his set, where he played loads of different rhythms and loops to completely change the nature of his songs. It was a great live show, and Theo seemed aware of the importance of this aspect as he raised his left arm uber-highto hit the snare. Very entertaining.

I queued for a while to get into Shhh… Apes!, but only managed to catch their last 3 songs as everyone else seemed to have the same idea. O’Neills was jam-packed, partly because it was the last gig of the night, but no doubt partly because the band contained members of Fist of the First Man, Right Hand Left Hand and Among Brothers. I couldn’t see a thing until the last song, so I can’t tell you much about them as a spectacle, but I can say that from what I did hear that they held long, singular notes dramatically and manage to layer each instrument nicely upon each other, so I’ll definitely be checking them out properly.

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About Dyfrig Williams

Music Bendigedig is a blog about the gigs I (Dyfrig Williams) get to go and see. I’m based in Cardiff, so most of the gigs I go to are here, with a few further afield. I don’t aim to be a critic – this is a music fan’s blog, written from that perspective.
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