Music

Sŵn Festival – Sunday

Aled Rheon – The Hayes 

Aled Rheon represents what Sŵn Fest is all about. Performing his carefully written songs in both Welsh and English, the musician broadly appeals to all while standing up for his heritage. Peaceful and soothing melodies filled The Hayes during his performance on the circular stage. Reminiscent of Dallas Green’s side-project, City and Colour; the artist demonstrated how minimal production can, in some cases, make a maximum impact. Rheon’s heart-warming songs and Welsh lyrics aided him in standing out from the highly talented line-up. The singer is proof that Welsh-speaking acts still have something to offer the music industry today. IT

rheon
 

Maddie Jones – The Hayes 

Performing a mix of crowd pleasing covers and original material, Ellie James took to The Outdoor Stage on the Sunday of Sŵn Fest. Hordes had gathered in The Hayes to witness the 19 year old’s sweet, acoustic songs. Delivering her whimsical musings with a stronger voice than most performers on the circuit; Ellie’s folk-tinged sound was far from passively appreciated. A cross between Nina Nesbitt in her early YouTube covers, and Gabrielle Aplin; the audience lapped up each and every one of her songs. Having made her debut live performance at Sŵn Fest back in 2009, it’s clear that the event aids up-and-coming talent rise to the top. Expect more good things from Ellie Makes Music in the near future. IT

 

Ellie Makes Music – The Hayes 

Performing a mix of crowd pleasing covers and original material, Ellie James took to The Outdoor Stage on the Sunday of Sŵn Fest. Hordes had gathered in The Hayes to witness the 19 year old’s sweet, acoustic songs. Delivering her whimsical musings with a stronger voice than most performers on the circuit; Ellie’s folk-tinged sound was far from passively appreciated. A cross between Nina Nesbitt in her early YouTube covers, and Gabrielle Aplin; the audience lapped up each and every one of her songs. Having made her debut live performance at Sŵn Fest back in 2009, it’s clear that the event aids up-and-coming talent rise to the top. Expect more good things from Ellie Makes Music in the near future. IT

 

Temples – Clwb Ifor Bach 

The pleasure of closing the festival, at Clwb in any case, fell to the capable hands of Kettering 4-piece Temples. Being able to produce a distinguishable sound in a market immersed with young British guitar bands is something that many have found difficult, but Temples’ psych-heavy, colourful pop sound provides gives them a much-needed edge.

You shouldn’t allow the bright sparkly tops, the permed hair or the glittered eyes to fool you; Temples are a band up for a lawless show. “This one’s called Prisms, now let’s have it” adjures front man James Bagshaw before the band enter in to the kaleidoscopic b-side from the band’s debut single.

That debut was released just one year ago, and such has been Temples’ significant rise, Bagshaw seems to forget where the band have played, declaring the Sŵn show their first in Wales despite performing to an impressive crowd on the banks of an estuary at Portmeirion’s Festival No.6 just a couple of months earlier.

Part way through the set it becomes clear that the crowd isn’t quite as up for a lively one as the band are. “If you can’t dance, dance… and if you can dance, show off” encourages Bagshaw before the rumbling bass of ‘Ankh’ kicks. It’s not that the audience isn’t digging it, but perhaps the effects of four days festival-ing have set in.

The set moves through a drop in tempo as Temples draw the crowd in with the hazy ‘Move With The Seasons’ before bringing proceedings to a close with ‘Colours To Life’ and finally, their debut single ‘Shelter Song’. It’s the debut that may serve as a benchmark, but on the evidence of this performance it’s one that Temples are more than capable of reaching for years to come. LM

 

Childhood

Days before Sŵn, Childhood were paraded by NME as part of ‘Young Britannia’, cast in the drawn out tirade to convince people that a bunch of guitar bands are the most exciting thing to happen to British music in decades. Possibly more a hindrance than help, but one thing was for certain, Childhood needed to bring something exciting in a live setting.

It’s immediately clear that they’re incredibly tight, with front man Ben Romans Hopcraft delivering every line with considered enthusiasm against a backdrop of dreamy guitar hooks and infectious bass lines. Releases have been notable for echoed vocals and use of effect units, but everything translates clearly in a live environment.

Closing with a rapturous rendition of ‘Solemn Skies’ followed by their debut ‘Blue Velvet’, the band leave the stage having made a real impact, suggesting that Childhood might have what it takes to make it to the top of the aforementioned bunch. LM 

 

waxacheesy
Photo: Kait Mordey

Waxahatchee

Katie Crutchfield is an unassuming presence. Among the lavish arches of Westgate Street’s Angel Hotel, the brain and heart behind Waxahatchee takes to the the stage alone, and can seemingly barely bring herself to make eye contact with the room-filling crowd she has drawn. Solo, Crutchfield is an endearingly slight figure. Strumming forlornly at her guitar, the audience is granted an insight into the girl who crafted such an unashamedly raw and open debut album tucked away in the bedroom of her parental home.

However, it is undoubtedly this year’s sophomore ‘Cerulean Salt’ that will define Waxahatchee. A runaway critical success, the album expanded on the stripped back ambiance of debut ‘American Weekend’, adding more complex instrumentation without losing the personality of Crutchfield’s solo bedroom recordings. Such a change is echoed tonight as Waxahatchee transitions from solo performance to full-band bombast.  Exploding into life with a one-two of ‘Coast To Coast’ and ‘Misery Over Dispute’, the grungier, sludgier aspects of Crutchfield’s output take hold.

The alternation between quiet, soulful introspection and brash, ferocious snarl perfectly personifies the Swn weekend’s diversity. Something for everyone is offered throughout the four-day extravaganza, and as Crutchfield closes the weekend, she herself reflects this wonderfully vibrant bout of escapism. We’ll see you next year. TC

62 Comments

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php