Various venues, Cardiff 20-23/10/2011
When The Fly enters hour three of a coach journey to
Racehorses and Niki & The Dove cruise by without tempting The Fly’s ears but the brutal math-doodling of Brontide threatens to top the festival with a balls-out, death-stare stomp of a live set, that veers from film-score dramatics into snarling riffs, like Foals on a shuddering comedown.
Cymbals tweak the senses just as impressively with Talking Heads-tinged keyboard pop and soaring, singalong melodies, but ultimately it’s Saturday’s line-up at Clwb Ifor Bach that crowns the weekend. One-man knob-twiddling hero LA2019 creates soundscapes of futuristic synth-pop that fill the room admirably for his label mates Gallops, which wins The Fly over with 40 minutes of mesmerisingly jagged guitars battling against keyboards, seething electronica and a drummer who could paradiddle his way through a warzone. So good it is, that only one band at Swn can top it – step forward the exhilaratingly warped time-signatures and scatterbomb brilliance of Three Trapped Tigers, the growling Tyler Durden to Battles’ whimpering robot rock. Swn Fest, let’s do it again sometime.