We’re still refusing to let go of Sŵn here at OnTheBeat and so to maintain the vivid nature of you Sŵn-based dreams here is James Ayles and his thoughts on the Houdini Dax gig from Saturday.
Amongst a host of innovations such as the excellent Sŵn Radio and a redesigned mobile app designed to make this year even bigger and better, the Festival also saw for the first time the establishment of an official outdoor stage. Considering the penchant for heavy rain and overcast skies in this part of Wales, it was an admittedly bold move from the organisers.
But as the festival kicked into gear, it became increasingly clear that it was an inspired idea; hordes of listeners, both festival attendees and weekend shoppers, crowded around to listen to an eclectic selection of music, from the soft acoustic guitar of Ellie Makes Music on the Sunday morning, to the bombastic stylings of Little Arrow. But one band who really made this stage their own and demonstrated how effective it can be at expanding your fan base is Cardiff’s own Houdini Dax. As the three-piece climbed on to the bandstand in the middle of the Hayes at 3pm on Saturday, it is clear that the unsuspecting locals were unprepared for the sustained barrage served up by a band consistently touted as one of South Wales’ finest.
With one album, a succession of singles and several successful tours with Charlotte Church under their belts, the trio are gradually establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the UK scene. And their set fully reinforced this, as they drew in both Swn Festival goers and new fans alike; tracks such as ‘Get Your Goo On’ and the cheeky ‘Feel In Love At The Dole Office’ demonstrated their rare ability to switch from White Stripes-esque anthem rock to more gentle fare reminiscent of The Kinks and, dare I say it, The Beatles. Despite the ever-encroaching chill that is inevitable with such as venue, the crowds nevertheless seemed enraptured with the sounds emanating from the stage, and frontman Jack Butler, protected from the warm by a commendable turtleneck jumper, continued to thrill them with endless riffs and hooks. With one lady so inspired she spent most of the set dancing alone at the front of the stage, it is clear that these boys could go a long way if they continue to deliver the sort of raw, charged performance that saw them light up this maiden venue; even a broken bass string late in the set did little to damage the momentum they had whipped up in the crowd, and this reviewer especially hopes to see them light up even bigger, (warmer) venues in the near future.
Miss Houdini Dax at Sŵn? Never fear they will soon be back here – they play the Full Moon Club on the 1st of November.
To find out a little more about Sŵn Festival and the artists that played there this year (2013 – for any time travellers or late-comers who might be reading) get over to Sŵn’s homepage or you could locate the info via Twitter (@swnfestival) or Facebook – wow, what an age we live in.
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