Cardiff’s answer to Brighton’s Great Escape, or more accurately resolute yell of a “if you can do it, so can we” response, Sŵn’s sixth annual festival officially kicked off last night. Even though yesterday saw the smallest line-up of the entire four-day affair, locals and those lucky enough to slink off work early were still treated to some impressive outings from the likes of Faye, Wild Swim and Torches but our man on the ground’s attention’s were caught by the following acts.
In terms of Super Furry Animals side projects, bassist Guto Pryce’s Gulp are far more Hotel Shampoo than Dafydd Ieuan’s The Peth. While it’s initially far from outstanding – half of the six songs in their support set for Django Django seem to not actually go anywhere, the audience are half-full and easily distracted, the guitar sound is often mere rumour – when it works it’s a splendidly involving, textured approach, spaced out electronics paired with new wave-inflected jolts, topped by the honeyed, unprecious vocals of Lindsey Leven, who makes single and set highlight ‘Game Love’ sound like a chanson lost in space. [Simon Tyers]
Playing what, now their November UK tour has been cancelled, will presumably be the last date of the Tough Love era, Leeds’ least controllable are on their usual adrenaline fuelled form – pummelling riffs at an almost hardcore level at times. An early pause as a pit member cuts his head badly on the stage brings some relative calm to the moshpit, but levels steadily increase until a closing one-two punch of ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ and ‘High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive’ brings forth a torrent of circle pit members that seems to gradually drag half the room into its path, ending with guitarist James Brown literally hanging from the rafters. [Simon Tyers]
If we aren’t careful Louisa Rose Allen, trading as Foxes, might find herself pushed into the widening commercial gap between Bat For Lashes and Ellie Goulding. Not as bewitching as the former and not as electronic as the latter, Allen is at her best when she tones down the rote big voice histrionics. Two cohorts, one on synth and various pads, the other a part-electronic standing up drummer, pull the melodies in interesting directions, complementing Allen’s approach instead of overwhelming it in pursuit of hugeness. Switching between sultriness at the mic stand and jumping up and down in excitement, Allen exits through a crowd who surely know they won’t be able to see her in such a small room for much longer. [Simon Tyers]
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