Being the venue closest to my home, for the third consecutive day, I kicked off Swn Festival at the Cardiff Arts Institute. After two nights of sparse electro, which provoked much beard stroking and head nodding, Cardiff Arts was having a change of pace tonight and putting on some good old fashioned indie.
When I arrived, Local boys OK were already entertaining the crowd with their particular brand of chirpy English pop. Like a CBBC version of The Libertines or a Supergrass tribute band, OK veered too much towards caricature and there was little space for their own character to shine through. Top marks for enthusiasm, but none for originality.
Next up I made my way to Dempsys, for what was proving to be the buzz band of the night. The NME recently named Egyptian Hip Hop as one of the ten bands you must see live, and word had certainly got around! There was a half hour queue to get in to the venue and then a further thirty minute delay once inside.
Egyptian Hip Hop are incredibly young and seem to be pushing charity shop chic to new levels of extremity. Their drummer seemed to have come dressed as the Genie from Aladin, whilst the others were all unruly hair and oversized plaid shirts.
With an on stage demeanour worthy of the greatest of early 90’s shoe gazers, Egyptian Hip Hop were certainly not here to beg the audience to fall in love with them. But, with an incredibly mature sound for their 17 years, Egyptian Hip Hop had the audience transfixed from start to finish. Although, the band seemed a little bamboozled by the hype, they proved their certainly an outfit worth keeping a beady eye on.
Magic Kids proved to be the perfect antidote to Egyptian Hip Hop’s brooding nonchalance, with a set of hyper melodic Beach Boys inspired numbers at Clwb Ifor Bach. Recalling Super Furry Animal’s at their most melodic and Belle and Sebastian at their most twee, Magic Kids could verge on being slightly sickly. But, the sheer sense of joy they muster with their irresistible hooks and delicious melodies can’t help but bring a collective smile to the whole audience at Clwb.
Next up, its back to Dempsys to catch the final act of the evening, Veronica Falls. The first thing you notice about Veronica Falls is that they look great! Coordinated black dresses on the girls, and not a dodgy barnet between the four of them, Veronica Falls are the best looking band I’ve come across all weekend. Immaculately pedalling their classic garage pop shtick, Veronica Falls prove themselves to be the finished article. As if Phil Spector had produced the Velvet Underground, its a sound that’s been done a thousand times before, but hey, they do it very, very well.
With most of the live music over for another year, its back to Clwb where The Vinyl Vendetta’s and Steve Lamaq are providing a soundtrack of indie classics to end the night. Until next year, see you Swn!
Image credit to Journal of Plastik.