The final times and line-up for Cardiff’s inaugural Swn festival have been announced, and the fare on show is a great representation of the city’s year round indie obsession. All the Cardiff venues, from the University Great Hall down to the small Bar Europa café that sits opposite the castle, are involved in the event, organised by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. The city should be buzzing with activity for the whole weekend.
Friday’s headline shows will see The Cribs, Those Dancing Days and Shrag play the festival’s largest venue, The University Great Hall in Cathays, while Zach Condon’s beatific orchestral folk retinue Beirut headline the old church of The Point with support from Welsh folksters Richard James and Cate Le Bon. Meanwhile all types of shenanigans will be going on downstairs at Clwb Ifor Bach under the eye of Plan B’s Everett True, who’s musical act The Legend! leads a line-up that also features Larry Pickleman (self-proclaimed as “the dog’s dick of anti-folk”), fantastic all-girl French Pop band Le B, and the “faux lo-fi”, Jonathan Richman-inspired Winstone Echo.
On the same night at Clwb The Duke Spirit headline an upstairs line-up that also has Truckers of Husk, Heck, and Black Cesar, while just across the street at Barfly Domino Records take over for a night of indie flavours with Franz Ferdinand side-project Correcto, indiepop troubadour Eugene Mcguinness and Glasgow’s gritty indie-folk amalgam Sons and Daughters. London label Heavenly invade the Chapter Arts Centre in nearby Canton with Beggars, The Monks Kitchen, Pete Greenwood and The Burning Leaves, and the Sleater Kinney-esque Pony Up head an exciting-looking night at Roath’s Tommy’s Bar that also features local heroes The Spencer McGarry Season.
The Victorian English Gentlemans Club play an Uberalles night at the University (CF10) with Space in the 50s and Steve Lamacq DJing, the spectacular Norwegian Church back at the bay features Julia Harris, 9 Bach and Christopher Rees, and the Bar Europa caf has the surreal indiepop of Mr Huw and the gentle acoustics of Gareth Bonollo’s The Gentle Good.
Saturday and Sunday are equally jam-packed. For Saturday Annie Mac takes over the University Great Hall for a night of crazed Cool House with Cassius, Simon Baker and Geddes, Drowned in Sound invade The Point with I Was a Cub Scout, Youthmovies and newcomer George Pringle while Cardiff staples Loose Club and Twisted by Design have planned a great day and night in Tommy’s Bar, starting at 2.30pm and featuring indiepop darlings The School, The Loves, Their Hearts Were Full of Spring, The Clientele and the mad, bad and fantastically foul-mouthed The Bobby McGees, rounded off by a DJ set from Twisted.
Peppermintpatti have The Hot Puppies, Llan Clan, Das Wanderlust and Looker upstairs at Chapter Arts, while Heavenly fill the Chapter Studio with resurgent Orange Juice legend Edwyn Collins, and earlier in the afternoon merited Welsh label Peski preside at Buffalo Bar with Radio Luxembourg, Sam Isaac, Gideon Conn, Nic Dawson Kelly and Jakokoyak.
On Sunday afternoon Sky Larkin and cosmic melodicists Soft Hearted Scientists play Chapter Arts, Buffalo Bar presents a “Green Man” event featuring London’s amazing indie-folk retinue Hush the Many, it’ll be worth popping out to catch Pagan Wanderer Lu with his wondrous loop-machine-aided one-man act at the Glo-Bar on Churchill Way, while in the night Clwb Ifor Bach is taken over by Kruger Magazine with the outlandish Bobby Conn supported by Slow Club, before Huw Stephens presents a DJ set downstairs.
The slightly crazier among us will be finishing off the weekend over at Callaghans on Castle Street where The Secret Garden Soundsystem take over till the early hours with a crazed concoction of cabaret and fancy dress, which includes fantastic Cardiff country band Silver Spurs along with “The Soggy Bottom Boys Barn Dance” and “The Farmers Daughters”. It should be really something, and, with everything within reasonable walking distance in what is an intricate city, you should be free to wander in various states of inebriation from venue to venue. Wristbands are being sold at the price of 34, for which you’ll get priority entry to all the venues, otherwise door prices range from 4 to 12 per gig.
11 Local Acts to Watch at Swn:
1. Mr Huw Intergalactic, outr indiepop sounds and space suits (Bar Europa, 8pm, Friday)
2. Heck Angular, dramatic post-rock and sugary hysteria (Clwb Ifor Bach, top floor, 8.15pm, Friday)
3. Spencer McGarry Season Wondrous guitar flavours and hypnotic indie shapes (Tommy’s Bar, 9.25, Friday)
4. The Gentle Good Humble acoustic guitar romance from Gareth Bonollo (Bar Europa, 9.40pm, Friday)
5. The Victorian English Gentlemans Club Dark, sultry, blasphemic indie (University CF10, 11pm, Friday)
6. The School Camera Obscura living in a permanent summertime listening to little but the Beach Boys (3.35pm, Tommy’s Bar, Saturday)
7. Radio Luxembourg Cartoon melodies and a huge keyboard sound (Buffalo Bar, 4pm, Saturday)
8. The Loves Grand and beatific retro pop (Tommy’s Bar, 5.15pm, Saturday)
9. Soft Hearted Scientists Starry-eyed indiepop poetry and melodies (Chapter Arts Centre, 3.15pm, Sunday)
10. Pagan Wanderer Lu Innovative DiY one-man-band magic (Glo-Bar, 4.15.pm, Sunday)
11. Silver Spurs A special combination of banjo magic and three part vocal trickery (Callaghans, 12am, Sunday)