Published on AfterDark (31 Aug 2018) – click here to access article
Dean Hodge reviews some of the highlight acts from this year’s Green Man Festival held on 16 – 19 August 2018. (Photography by Nick Evans)
Public Service Broadcasting, Far Out Stage. Photo: Nick Evans.
The imposing sight of the famous green figure in the middle of the site, surrounded by a sea of spectators adorned with glitter on their faces and stack cups in hand, is the unmistakable sight that once again greets me (and photographer Nick Evans) upon arrival at Green Man for my fourth visit here in as many years.
But one part of the festival that has become so synonymous with each of my previous three visits here is missing this year though – the rain. Green Man and wet weather is a natural marriage that has become so ingrained in each of my previous visits here, that it is almost difficult for me to get used to what is actually for once a mostly hot and dry weekend in the Brecon Beacons – to the extent that I actually leave the festival more bronzed rather than soaked.
Joel Gion, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Far Out Stage. Photo: Nick Evans.
But a far more important characteristic of Green Man has remained and that is the quality of the music. For a festival that firmly embraces the left of the dial while retaining a maverick Welsh spirit, this year’s Thursday night headliners are a natural fit for both of these reasons. The music of London’s Public Service Broadcasting is a compelling concept in itself – with instrumental kraut-rock grooves interspersed with samples of public information films, and in the confines of the Far Out Stage accompanied by old film footage on each screen. Furthermore, their second album Every Valley celebrates and mourns the rise and decline of the Welsh coal mining industry. Continue reading
Published on AfterDark (26 Oct 2016) – CLICK HERE to read article
AfterDark’s Dean Hodge reviews some of the acts from the 10th anniversary weekend of Sŵn Festival in Cardiff (Friday 21 – Sunday 23 October 2016).
Photo provided by BBC Cymru Wales (Photographer: Simon Ayre)
The sight of instruments and amps being wheeled from numerous white vans into one of the various venues in Cardiff. A sea of pink and red balloons dotted around the city streets and inside said venues. People walking around with glitter etched across their face as if it an acceptable form of everyday attire. These are images that have become very much synonymous with the annual orchestrated cacophony of chaos that is Sŵn Festival.
Like a song that reminds you of an iconic scene from your favourite film as soon as you hear it, these images are a visual accompaniment to the many moments of musical magic that have come to define the Welsh festival. Artists have marked their breakthrough here. Friendships (and relationships) have been formed. The odd Jager-bomb has been consumed here and there.
They are moments that indeed now span an entire decade for those that have shared the journey of Sŵn right from the beginning – and four years (and counting) worth of musical memories for me. With local music venues fighting an uphill battle to remain relevant in the current streaming-dominated music industry, the support of these venues and the ability of city-based festivals like Sŵn to highlight the independent scene, is more vital now than ever before. So the Welsh festival marks its tenth birthday by providing more of the high-calibre new artists that have come to define the ethos of Sŵn. Continue reading
Published on AfterDark (16 Oct 2016) – click here to access article
AfterDark’s Dean Hodge previews the 10th anniversary weekend of Sŵn Festival (Friday 21 – Sunday 23 October) and picks his 10 recommended artists.
Cardiff‘s own curtain-closer to the festival season Sŵn Festival returns once again to numerous venues around the Welsh capital for a whole weekend – showcasing the cream of upcoming artists that are sure to be the soundtrack of the years to come.
Like the one music-obsessive in your social group that continually claims bragging rights to knowing the best new artists before anyone else does, Sŵn prides itself on bringing future headliners and chart-hasslers directly into some of Cardiff’s petite venues. Artists like Temples, Alt-J, The Vaccines and Disclosure are just some of the acts to have graced the Welsh festival on the way to the ‘toppermost’.
Now in its 10th year, Sŵn shows no signs of going stale with its ear still finely attuned to the freshest sounds – and this year’s line up is sure to have something to please everyone whatever their aural tastes. AfterDark’s Dean Hodge handpicks his own ten artists to look out for this weekend. Continue reading