Sunday, we arrive for our first stop, Fuel, full to the brim with people hanging out the door, for the poetic doodlings of Florence Shaw. Dry Cleaning are a treasure trove of mined curiosities from social media and you tube, including a fan letter to Megan Markle, in Magic Megan, a potential new feminist icon. Megan’s fashion sense says so much. There is a bit of a communal feel to this set today, as people listen intently.
You get the feeling that Florence Shaw, artist and university lecturer, is walking up the high street, her narrative luminescent as she considers the wonders of modern life, with musicians surrounding her, providing the soundtrack to her inner world. There is a deadpan style to the delivery, you get the feeling you can add your own experiences and reflections to the narrative. A cleanly lit boat floating through the biosphere, waiting for new minds and perspectives to influence its direction and meaning.
Passing back through the Moon we stumble upon Asha Jane, as she tells us the story behind her track, Lies and explains the mechanics of how a grain of sand can turn into a pearl. She plans to approach her song Lies in this way, transforming moments of broken words into a, “little pearl, a pearl of wisdom.” She sings with a beautiful iridescence, eyes closed, pulling each lyric beaming-up, with a dramatic thunderous, yet velveteen and soulful vocal.
Rozi Plain brings us an almost immersive experience, in songs from her recent album, What A Boost, out in February. The room is entranced, we are teleported into the moment, this would be the perfect album for the advent of spatial sound, mesmerising and transcendent. Immersed in a dream, Rozi Plain and the electric banjo player themselves – eyes closed – dance in tandem as they step from one side to the other. Rozi Plain draws us into a waking dream, as lyrics meander and snippets of philosophical musings are shared. We are utterly stolen by this vignette of carefully crafted folk, pop song-writing.
Egyptian Blue are energetic, immediate and out-spoken. Guitars clash and collide intricately, twisting, precise, while loose and exploring. It’s as if these flying guitars breath dragon fire, a bit like the final fight in Game of Thrones. More magical encounters ensue. Seazoo offer fresh, sparkling indie pop evocative of Housemartins or The Magic Gang, with a wry twist similar to Mikco Westmoreland. It’s a delightful, lively, front room party soundtrack, accompanied by some superb Moomin styled Korg synth antics and tambourine.
Hotly tipped, Murder Capital are like a slowed down, emo version of death metal. Heavy boots trample across the room, in this doom-laden and haunting sound, a kind of advancing storm of epic proportions, set in an abandoned wasteland setting – cheer-up lads. We are saved by the bubblegum rock trio Gaffa Tape Sandy, in this west coast, surf vibe – upbeat, party tunes packed with a punch. We head back to She Drew The Gun, one of the best sets of the weekend, Louisa Roach, is like a poetic titan, similar to Kate Tempest with the style and charm of La Roux as she paints dreams out of realism, in her search for a better world.
Twin Peaks take us back into a Lynchian world, we’re expecting surreal perspectives and lives seen through different angles and reflections. Instead we are blown away by this rootsy, garage rock from Chicago and are completely transfixed for the full set. It’s a bit like a hillbilly ball, where the Allman Brothers have been hijacked by Black Lips, with a Lynchian twang to their skillfully honed-in, yet visceral sound. Eyes closed, Caidan Lake James and Clay Frankel, clearly step to the groove, loving each and every moment of this full-on frat party. While their performance jumps into a complete fervour there is still a bittersweet compassion in their song-writing and vocals, winning over the whole audience.
Following the release of his Human Procrastination EP we find ourselves immersed in the retro synth stylings of Look Mum No Computer at Fuel. Sam Battle started-out as a You Tube sensation, a real life mad eccentric inventor and with his own home-grown synths, he creates a techtronic set similar to AK/DK without live drums. Look Mum No Computer is a renegade composer, electronic synth artist, creating layers of sound, in this enthralling synth laden set. Heading Back To The Future with Sam Battle and his home-made inventions, marks a brilliant end to a perfect weekend of discovery. Cardiff is the perfect place for a festival, it feels like it’s all gone in the blink of an eye, but it’s well worth a look.