Gig Review: The Wytches @Dim Swn Festival, Cardiff

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Guest Writer Bryony Adams caught The Wytches at the rebranding of Swn Festival… here’s what she saw…

DimSwn may have been scaled down in size this year to a single day’s worth of musical acts but it certainly still delivered the same magnitude of excellence it does year after year.

Previously a four day festival of music across various Cardiff venues,  over 200 acts performed last year during the four-day-fiesta of music during Swn Festival, orchestrated by radio One DJ Huw Stephens and Promoter Jon Roston.

The festival has been streamlined now to become DimSwn, and as disappointed as the loyal band of Swn followers were to hear the news of a bite size addition of their favourite festival, the rebranded and newly formatted night went on with the same sense of excitement and Rock’N’Roll as it always does.

Amidst the plethora of acts that graced the streets of Cardiff on the debut of the new DimSwn was the three-piece band from Brighton, The Wytches. Making a very strong claim for the revival of psychedelic surf rock and blues the three gloomy, longhaired boys from Brighton mustered up some definite noise upstairs in Clwb Ifor Bach.

Their debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is described as a ‘Break up album’ by front man and songwriter Kristian Bell – while its not your quintessential soundtrack to heartbreak it seeps emotion and passion from every pore with a shambolic mix of bleeding guitar and thrashing drums cloaked with a certain menace which you could definitely get on board with during a period of heartache.

Their performance high above Womanby Street, Cardiff was a frenzied and loud affair, something that the trio did well to pull off in such a small venue, which perhaps did not cater fully to their specific sound. Although their psychedelic prowess filled Clwb with nostalgia for the psychedelic it was difficult to decipher each track as they ripped their way through their non existent setlist leaking from one musical piece into the next in an almost operatic style bringing an unfamiliar feeling to the crowd. This unusual style of performance, although unconventional, did not deter from the fantastic racket the three talented Brighton boys unveiled on stage, which contributed to the arrival of DimSwn.

Bryony Adams

You Can Listen to ‘Anabel Dream Reader’ here:

The Misanthropists: ‘TM’ Review

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London three piece The Misanthropists consists of Louie Boffa (Lead Vocals), Marc Aster (Guitarist/Vocalist) and Omar Lacchini (Drummer/Bassist). Awaiting a breakthrough, the band are currently gigging around London.. best advice from 54-46 would be to catch them while you can.

The band site their biggest influences in bands such as Nirvana, Black Keys, White Stripes and Black Sabbath; although listening to the opener of TM, ‘What’s Out There’: who would have thought?

Perhaps unusual for an opener because of what is to follow – ‘What’s out there’ is a truly mesmerising and cathartic experience to listen to. The track glows with afterburn as a wailing guitar pinches highs and doodles laconically over a beautifully tremelo’d drizzling guitar line that keeps the track in check. It just screams out to sit back, light up and enjoy the ride. So we did.

As the memories of the opening psych trip wear off and the phlegmatic opening of ‘Tell Me’ breaks in – it’s a return to consciousness. As the song reaches its hard edged driven chorus, you kind of wonder if it’s the same band that took you miles away 2 minutes ago. Nonetheless hugely satisfactory though.

It is easy to spot the Influence of Nirvana & the Black Keys in their debut’s later tracks– ‘Runaway With Me’ harbours a hard-edged riff and energetic chorus and break down. The Black Keys influence courses through ‘You’ve Got Potential’ – another startling comparison to make to such a fledgling band. The Two-tone garage sounds flows with ebullience throughout this album.

You can even hear a bit of The Vines  in track G.O.D as the clean guitar moulds into a heavily driven & riffed over the chorus. Not a bad comparison to hold in your first effort. “You can pray to your GOD/Let Me Tell you/I’m Gonna Drag you to hell!”

‘Let’s Get Stoned’ is really the track that makes this album for me. A Beautiful beginning as the kaleidoscopic guitar opens – ‘I took some acid but I don’t know why’ – ‘now my hands look massive – and I’m floating in the sky – Oh, Let’s get Stoned’. Witty and laconic lyricism strikes of a band in control of his craft – surely suggesting a bright future for this band.

It might be suggestive as ‘voguish’ to adopt the modern psychedelia approach after the recent popularity but with The Misanthropists its sounds as organic as its 1965 counterpart. It is hugely encouraging to see these sounds coming out of England again and serves as a complimentary book end to the albums opener, ‘What’s out there’.

TM’s bipolar swings between psychedelic and punk rock make it an exhilarating ride,  where much like the drug addled protagonist of ‘Let’s Get Stoned’ – you can never really be sure what’s on the horizon as the next track clicks in. Perfect for keeping you on your toes.

TB

8/10.