Dananananaykroyd, Sweet Baboo, Klaus Kinski, Amazing Baby, Young Marble Giants - SWN in Review Part Two

Alex Skinner 29/11/2008


Opening night of Swn was in full swing Thursday night with Cate Le Bon causing crowds to swoon with her soothing guitar in the grand Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre. As it was the grand opening to the festival Jon Rostron and Huw Stevens were on hand to gratefully explain the Swn set up and the cultural logic behind it. Serving as a much needed cultural commodity, successfully injecting mediums of film, art and music together into an exciting Cardiff scene.

The mood changed as the introduction of 'Ffresh' (Student moving image festival of Wales) 2009 nominations. Showing all the nominations felt like a dodgy award ceremony and dragged its feet, although there were many exciting clips. Announced with Carmarthen MP/ Media and Sporting Committee Adam Price who was on hand to talk through 'Culture'* and generally annoyingly ramble about music and the moving image: “You see people with headphones now walking along as if on a soundtrack to their lives…” and “When MTV was started off it only showed 15 videos…” All too cringe worthy a note to finish on considering it was the beginning of Swn festival.

*Culture can't be analyzed or part explained in short on stage, it is far too vast. www.wikipedia.org/Culture


Hopping through the left over mess of the rugby overspill on Friday night, I managed to check out the much awaited hubbub of Young Marble Giants.

Forming all of 30 years ago, Young Marble Giants breached forth in front of a crowd at the wistfully assembled throng in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre. This cardiff based unit can be compared to the liked of The Velvet Underground/ Neil Young/ David Bowie to name a few. They threw down old-school dilly dalliance that astutely nods to the sounds of yesteryear. Reflections more of 'An Audience With…' seemed more historically important to gaze upon them with much respect and admiration. The band is more for the experienced generation, or people who are aware of the bands significance. Once uttered as one of his favorite acts by Kurt Cobain. Courtney Love's 'Hole' (band) also covered 'Credit In The Straight World'. Their music is an education from a band who have been around the block.

Pete and the Pirates performed an electric set in Tommy's bar on Friday night to loosen the young bucks and fawns. Guitars wailed, drums rocked the establishment as an electric atmosphere...Lets not get carried away, they were alright but nothing ground breaking. 'Mr Understanding' is a standout track.


Skipping along to Barfly to grace the presence of much awaited Cardiff locals The Muscle Club who didn't disappoint when blitzing through their set adding new tracks with grandeur: 'Feel Don't Theorize' and 'Hail Joe Hail' were electric. Part of a hefty line up that included The Last Republic who seemed mediocre and Broken Records who infused an array of jaunty tunes to get a thumbs up. This was before headliners Amazing Baby furiously pounced on the stage to deliver a bustling set. They were grand.

Jumping along to the downstairs department in Clwb, Klaus Kinski decorated the stage with a banner of a penis and smashed the hell out of their instruments, vigorously confusing some members of the crowd. Fully wailing, the showman (donning a brown paper bag mask) lunged/ crawled/ thrust his was along the floor whilst clenching the microphone close. The power of the penis prevailed as the crowd warmed to its mighty supremacy.

There was more madness upstairs whereby Derwyddon Dr Gonzo were knocking about onstage. People seemed to enjoy it, I did not so Voluntary Butler Scheme filled the void with such majesty and grace it made me weep. Upstairs in Clwb headliners Cats In Paris were the most disappointing act of the entire festival for me. This seems strange considering the album is darn fine splendid.

Tafod was a treasure trove of high energy with the likes of Cian: Acid Casuals and Legowelt in fine form delivering the goods for some electro-techno beats from the flats of Holland.

SWN: Sunday

I took my finger off the pulse in Glo Bar, getting my breath back by watching Sweet Baboo in all his glory. Assembling quite the crowd with many cameras featuring as part of BBC Introducing. I still have a plethora of his songs in my head even now. DAMN YOU BABOO!

Booted it down to Barfly to view the local talent of Picture Books in Winter who laid down some music sugar to my honeycombed ears with their Arcade Fire-esque-ness. Thereafter Tubelord were on the prowl, delivering energetic rock similar to the work of At The Drive In. Headliners Dananananaykroyd are making big waves here, there and everywhere with their jump-fuelled live shows, like musical salmons.

2008 saw a successful Swn festival that signifies cultural developments, putting Cardiff firmly on the map. It is great to see so much variety too a festival that has come along way in a short period of time. Overall I fully enjoyed my weekend days at Swn, I wish every weekend around these parts could be so action packed.

All hail Swn festival!