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Sŵn Festival: Sunday's Best

24 October 2012, 15:55 | Written by The Line of Best Fit

Joanna Gruesome. Photograph by Simon Ayre.

Our hangovers nursed and thoughts gathered we bring you the best of Sŵn’s final day.

Joanna Gruesome

Art is Hard Records‘ own Joanna Gruesome tear up our stage – ripping through a high-octane, lo-fi scuzz infused set that includes previous single and personal favourite ‘Sweater.’ The five-piece’s show is brilliantly shambolic but you can’t fault this band for energy and you get the impression that these songs sound exactly how they’re supposed to. Despite entire tracks being forgotten by certain band members, belts being swapped because trousers are falling down, pedals failing and guitars being played even when the lead has fallen out, their invigorating 90s inspired sound is just the thing we need to kick us out of our mid afternoon slump and into the day ahead.


The whisper is there’s a growing amount of industry interest in prolific Wrexham-based surf-punks Mowbird, and no wonder given both their packing out of Dempsey’s after their well received Swn debut last year and the buoyant assurance of their set. There may not exactly be a lack of fuzzy lo-fi at the moment but there’s an excitable energy about the melodic unruliness, creating anthemic moments before cutting them apart leaving jagged edges. Ben Sawin’s guitar tone variously recalls touchstones from J Mascis’ distorted solo-ing to Urusei Yatsura’s evil heart, while an organ as second lead instrument adds a Nuggets garage rock flavour. Their ragged glory is worth keeping a close eye on.

Luke Sital-Singh. Photograph by Daniel Mackie.

Luke Sital-Singh

With the rumbling fire of Springsteen, the wry wit of ex Fleet Foxes man Joshua Tillman and the deft, delicate musical inclinations of Jeff Buckley, Luke Sital-Singh’s early evening set is abosolutely stunning. It is probably the only time during the entire festival we experience a quiet crowd and it is clear Sital-Singh and his stunning efforts thrive in the hushed reverence. Songs like ‘You Love, You Love’ and new number ‘Honest Man’ wrap themselves around you like a warm blanket in the chilling air – comforting and familiar whilst stirring an uncanny bittersweet nostalgia.


A band with the confidence to place as early as third in a 45 minute set a track like ‘Left Myself Behind’ – a song which slips its moorings completely halfway through, floats up to the very edge of the atmosphere and then just keeps going until messily bursting – must fancy their chances of creating an impression. And so it is with TOY, treating one of the biggest audiences of the final day to a floorboard shaking overdriven wall of psychedelically inclined guitar pedal abuse and underpinning synth that at times rivals everything else for cutting through volume. Just when you think it can’t go any further, nine minutes of set closer ‘Kopter’ sees the motorik groove become gradually subsumed in synth and feedback of ever growing intensity, before the band reach a virtually white noise peak and nonchalantly leave the stage through the middle of the crowd as if nothing had happened.

Cold Pumas. Photograph by Daniel Mackie

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