SWN Festival Review: Saturday

Written By:

Aidan Williamson

03rd November 2009
At 13:34 GMT

1 comment(s)

While still decidedly on the up-and-coming list for festivals, SWN has managed to secure some big guns for the last day of the festivities.

Wales' premier indie collective Los Campesinos wrap up the evening. Sure, there could have been a last minute dash to go see Slow Club after the septet finished, but as front-man Gareth Campesinos pointed out "forget about it, you're not getting in to see Slow Club." If this were 1999 we could be making Fight Club references now. But alas, it is not.

Wales has a reputation for two things back in England. Lots of rain, and a fair amount of man-sheep sexual relationships. It's fair to say that we saw a lot of one of them today. Which was a shame, because it was such a lovely sunny day.

Taxi Taxi

Swedish twins Miriam and Johanna Eriksson-Berhan uphold their country's reputation for haunting indie rock. It's precisely the kind of music you'd place beside Sweden's other artistic export, the rather fantastic film "Let The Right One In". Both conjure an atmosphere of surreal melancholy, tempered with downbeat isolation but never lacking in love.

Cate Le Bon

Reverting to homegrown talent, Ms. Cate Le Bon occupies the stage left vacant by the ethereal twins. Clad in an unassuming black dress, with only patterned tights providing the flair for the evening, she ably continues many of the thematic elements instigated by the band who came before.

Staying resolutely lo-fi despite her four-member band tonight, while unlikely to breach the national consciousness with her hypnotic rhythms and slowly pulsing percussion decorated with fuzzed-out synth squeals, Le Bon is certainly the kind of performer who can make a 30-minute set seem like less than 10.

The Pipettes

Keeping band members is becoming something of a struggle for The Pipettes of late. As such, only two of the ladies took to the stage this evening yet still backed by their contingent of male band members, The Cassettes.

The Pipettes will be winning our award for the happiest band in Wales though. Punctuating every song with genuinely charming on-stage banter which usually slid into the realm of self-deprecation. A few minutes were spared to state the Pipettes manifesto, recounting the time they were flirting with major label dealings. A refusal was made when the girls realised that they would no longer be involved in their own music or image.

Bad choice on the part of the labels, since Pipettes have a rather striking image, sublime pop songs which revel in their simplicity and a streak of talent which runs through everything which they do. Sure, they do slightly remind us of the Sheila's Wheels advert, but what doesn't these days.

Los Campesinos

Certainly the most popular band of the weekend. Taking place in the same 400-capacity theatre which Draw Me Stories so sparsely filled yesterday afternoon it is a completely different picture tonight.

The floor is densely populated with writhing throngs of eager fans while the pews are quickly filled by Meh-list fans, or perhaps those without the stamina to endure the madness sure to take place here in a few moments.

There's a track-list in the photo-gallery, so we won't waste your time explaining who played what when. Brief shout-outs were given to the parents of Gareth, Ellen and Kim who were present in the auditorium somewhere. That sounds like a lot of parents, at least until Gareth reveals that it's the same parents, the three of them being siblings. We should state that newcomer Kim Campesinos, despite still showing a small remnant of nervousness in her performance won our support immediately due to her donning a Bikini Kill T-shirt. Instant credibility gained.

As if seven people on the stage wasn't enough already, everybody who had played here tonight at some point joined Los Camp on the floor. Alexei from Johnny Foreigner being the special guest afforded his very own microphone. This made us equally happy and sad. Happy for the love-in, sad for the notion that J.F must have played here earlier and we missed it.

The last few songs are swiftly given over to spectacle as twenty-odd people (rough estimate) crowd around the various microphones belting out the choruses. Some crowd surfing from Gareth and Alexei and it's done. Leaving us with the sound of nobody, not even the rain.

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