With my eardrums positively warmed up, I dawdled back outside. Gorgeous sun greeted me, along with the entire 'We've Been Talking' album by Enemies being pumped out over the sound system - perfection. I slumped in my seat in total satisfaction, as if I were at a spa being pampered and treated like a king.
- Two lads timidly popped up on the outdoor stage. As they descended upon their instruments, a crowd immediately gathered. The atmosphere was rather tense as everyone awaited the unveiling of this math monster. Cleft are insanely tight. They rolled effortlessly from song to song, grinning to each other as they went. Time signatures were thrown about like nobodies business. And although there appeared to be only two people on stage, the sound was often enormous and thick, full in texture and colour. Both John (drums) and Dan (guitar) boast highly refined skills, with which they encapsulate a chemistry that they bounce back and fourth off each other. If you've never listened to or seen these guys perform then I give you a virtual slap in the face and tell you to sort your life out. Go do it now. Be gone with you!
- I had heard a lot about this Cardiff two piece. After gaining radio play from the likes of Adam Walton, and playing many shows in and around Cardiff, I was anxious to catch them. Although they wouldn't find their way into my general everyday listening, Totem Terrors are certainly intriguing. Using a variety instruments, they play to a backing track of electronic drums and textures. In their quirky lo-fi electronica, there is often vast areas of untouched space, creating almost uncomfortable fragments of melody and rhythm. After a couple of songs, I realised they weren't really my bag, though they were ballsy and well rehearsed.
How I Faked The Moon Landing
- There was an immediate increase in buzz before these guys took to the stage, with a loyal following of young female fans prancing merrily about. It was the first time I had the Cardiff five piece since their first ever show - and I was pleasantly surprised. Huge improvement. They seem to have found their feet as a band, their chemistry together and, perhaps most importantly, their style. Their songs are definitely for the summer - little funky chunks of off-beat, clean guitars, punctuated by gorgeous flurries of warm bass lines and disco drum beats. Get your dancing shoes on/mankini and move.
- Away from the sun, Her Parents set up on the inside stage. Every time I returned inside, I was surprised by the change of atmosphere. It is amazing what contrasts in light can do to the feel of a performance. And indeed, Her Parents are pretty much the polar opposite of How I Faked The Moon Landing. Grimy, obnoxious and entirely loud. The band were rather scrappy in their performance. There were piercing screams and shouts, whilst every amp and speaker seemed to be pushed to breaking point. For me, Her Parents were hard to digest. Although, their performance was light-hearted and fun, with the singer lying down for an entire song at one point. They seemed to be having a laugh on stage, and in return the crowd was all smiles too.
- There is something undeniably charming and loveable about this mish-mash group of honest chaps. With their stripped back, lo-fi pop-punk stuff, they bought another complete contrast in the line-up. I noticed that they were practically atonal at points. At first, I thought this may have been a deliberate scheme to further add to their quirky "who gives a fuck?" style. Though, as the songs went by, the lead guitar seemed to get more and more out of tune. Despite this, I really enjoyed their set, and the awkward chemistry that they seem to bask in.
- On hearing these guys, the penny finally dropped as to what Connor had done with the line-up. Every band was entirely different to the one previous, giving the audiences no time to breath and relax. Playlounge were no exception. They blurted into reverb-heavy pure punk, and in lacking a bass guitar this really seemed rather empty. Unfortunately, it was incredibly hard to pick much detail out of the constant pounding drums and muddy guitar. Their entire set was very simple and straight forward, with little variation in texture and melody.
- Another two piece that may benefit from a bass guitar - or am I just being old fashioned? Lots of parts where the texture seemed thin and treble-heavy, with a lack of grounding and backbone. Otherwise, I did enjoy their music. There was a nice load of reverb on the vocals, which complimented the hazy guitar, creating an almost shoegaze feel. Both the drummer and guitarist played with gusto and vigor. Not too sure of the singers' glasses though...
- The second act of the day to blow me away. I absolutely loved the three part harmonies that these lads were coming out with. Overall, they put in a very tight and melodic performance. There were majestic and almost royal vocal lines about bravery, honor and bayonets, along with some gorgeous woah-oh-oh-woah's. One criticism, which probably isn't really valid - they seemed rather tired on stage. Perhaps the result of a long journey to Cardiff? That said, their performance was not compromised - polished and perfected. I very much look forward to catching these chaps again.
- Although these guys are based in Cardiff, I had not before managed to catch them. They had slipped through my claws on various occasions, and so I was adamant to get right at the front for them. My long wait was worth it. Samoans have a massive sound. They create huge walls of distortion that are broken by well timed screams and melodic harmonies. I think there might have been a few bleeding eardrums. Their abusive banter on stage was permitted and almost encouraged by the crowd. They are obviously a much loved and cherished local band, who I hope to see more of.
- These guys were much more punky than I expected - for some reason I thought there would be a lot more subtlety and variation in dynamics. In what was a rare quiet section, the instruments boasted lots of colour and detail. But the majority of the performance was made up of loud and sweaty pounding on powerchords. It was not the sound I craved after being subjected to the huge noise of Samoans. However, Woahnows were extremely well rehearsed, and performed as if they were playing a headline show.
- Definitely the most mastered band of the day - sounding very polished and professional. Without the rawness that was evident throughout all the other bands who performed, Tellison arguably lacked a certain oomph and flare. But the songs were well crafted and brilliantly executed, with not a single bum note in sight. They whipped from song to song, with little or no fuss in between, giving the audience barely a moment to think.
After being thanked over and over throughout the day by the bands, Connor was mentioned several times by Tellison. Their persistence paid off as he made his way to the front of the crowd and joined forces with a fellow die-hard Tellison fan as they both danced and shouted the lyrics back to the band, huge grins beaming across their faces. After such an incredible day of sun, beer and bands, to see the organiser enjoying himself to the full was the cherry on the cake.
Why are microfestivals getting more popular? This was the question I put forward, but failed to answer, in my preview of the Jealous Lovers Club and Juxtaposed microfestival. It is because, like any type of festival, there is nothing quite like the feeling of being at one of these events. The atmosphere is undeniably incredible and unique. Every single person that came out to Gwdi Hw on Sunday 4th May was smiling. And why wouldn't they be? It was so damn good. It has made me positively excited for my next festival/microfestival of 2014. May the fourth be with you.