SWN Festival 2013 preview: SWN dive

Helping you dive straight in to SWN's best acts

SWN Festival 2013 preview: SWN dive

Photographer:Tim Cheesman

Matt Miles, Dora Pitch Soden - 01 October 2013

As ever, the Cardiff festival will be a four day event taking place in various venues across the city, taking in some of the best music from both Wales and around the world, along with DJs, film and art.The festival, which was started by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens in 2007, will take place from Thursday 17 October - Sunday 20 October, with over 200 bands set to perform.

Venue to check out: Clwb Ifor Bach

If you've 'done' Cardiff then you'll know it. If you've not then let us introduce you. Clwb Ifor Bach, apart from being a tricky one to pronounce for non-Welsh speakers, is at the heart of the city on Womanby Street and remains a sweaty hot box of indie rock hedonism and alternative culture. Cheatahs, Peggy Sue, Wolf Alice, Bo Ningen, Temples and Childhood are just a handful of highlights from the four nights at Clwb Ifor Bach, split over two of the three floors of the iconic venue.

Food to check out: Cafe Citta

A relatively new addition to the Cardiff restaurant scene, Cafe Citta on Church Street has quickly built a reputation for authentic, rustic wood-fired pizzas, made using their own fresh dough. Prizes are very reasonable and booking is recommended!


If you like your music to tell a story, if you’re looking for the act that will twist words into sentences so perfectly poignant they draw a physical reaction from the crowd, look no further. Ghostpoet has proven time and time again that his brand of wordsmithery can enrapture and enthral any festival crowd. Be sure to head down to catch this amazing act at the peak of his game as he takes you through mentally stimulating tales of life, love and all that other stuff. Sophomore album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ has been met with extremely positive reviews and rightly so with releases like ‘Cold Win’ and ‘Meltdown’ giving a nice taster of just what you can expect from the album on whole.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

A recent signing to Communion Records, also behind the likes of Daughter, this four-piece from Llandundo bring a bouncy rock sound and anthemic choruses.


Bo Ningen

Whilst all members do originate from various parts of Japan it was in London where the genesis of the band took place. Recently Bo Ningen have been picking up praise from music press all across the spectrum, and for good reason. Their punk psychedelia live shows are a spectacle, and the music that accompanies them is equally hypnotic. The band themselves have described their sound as “standing quietly on one side of a mirror, whilst on the other side you are loudly screaming, their music is the ability to stare into both sides at once.” One not to miss if you happen to like watching Japanese men in dresses scream their way through a ballsy, loud yet deeply mesmerising set, if that sounds like something you wouldn’t like, give it a chance, you just haven’t been converted yet.

Dutch Uncles

This distinctive quintet are the main support act to friends and fellow Mancs Everything Everything. Their minimalist sound sits close alongside the likes of Vampire Weekend, with some extra percussion on the side, and vocals reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club.


Night Engine

Whilst Night Engine frontman Phil McDonnell may be marginally less creepy than Danny Elfman, he still manages to pull off the very same mad synth punk sound and style that Elfman made with Oingo Boingo. Night Engine are bound to draw comparison, their influence drawn heavily from that 80s glam synth band sound, they have however made that sound their own, diluting and mixing it with their own musical prowess and the result goes down very smooth indeed. Current release ‘Give Me A Chance’ is a fine example of this gripping, finely-oiled musical machine. Night Engine will be powering on for a long time yet.

Wolf Alice

This is what happens when folk gets a little dirty, pummeling in a more grungey influence. Wolf Alice have distorted themselves into something beautifully unique and are now completely capable of delivering sugary, vomit flecked classics such as ‘Bros’ and ‘Fluffy’. Their surrealistic yet powerful sound is one that lodges their choruses in your head. A great choice if you’re a fan of folk, the bite they add doesn’t take away from the inherent relaxing ethereality of the track. Also an excellent choice if you’re a grunge head as maybe their calming vibe may chill you out enough to realize this isn’t the 90’s anymore and a little progression is not a bad thing. Grunge folk, an interesting mix resulting in a sound that needs to be heard before you realize how perfect it can be.

Nick Mulvey

Former member of Mercury nominated folk/jazz four-piece Portico, Londoner Nick Mulvey has bravely gone in his own solo acoustic direction. His sound sits somewhere between Ben Howard and Bon Iver, and his debut album, 'Nitrous', follows his critically acclaimed debut EP and is released on 27th October, so expect a special preview at SWN.

Radio Rhydd

This preview would be incomplete without at least one Welsh band. Know that Radio Rhydd would have made this preview regardless of heritage however. Whilst Goldie Lookin' Chain have sullied the idea of Welsh hip hop for most and made the idea even more laughable than it previously had been, Radio Rhydd are already doing a good job at reversing that preconception. Comparisons with Rage Against The Machine are obvious due to the band mixing guttural riffs with politically charged lyrics and just a smack of ska influence. Rapping in both Welsh and English sometimes simultaneously, Radio Rhydd have a instantly distinct sound and one that will translate best live. Be sure to catch these boys for a set that will be arresting in its power and utterly unique sound.

SWN Festival tickets are still available, priced at £65 plus a £6.50 booking fee for a four day pass. SWN Day tickets are also available, priced as follows:

Thursday 17th October - £17 plus £1.70 booking fee
Friday 18th - £20 plus £2 booking fee
Saturday 19th - £28 plus £2.80 booking fee
Sunday 20th - £22 plus £2.20 booking fee

Click here to buy SWN Festival tickets.

Looking for somewhere to stay for the weekend? Try the Cardiff city centre Holiday Inn.

Remember to follow Virtual Festivals on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest festival news.

Post sponsored by Holiday Inn


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