Yr Wythnos Fach 2010 - part one
The Big Weekend and it's runway fringe festival, Yr Wythnos Fach, rather crashed over me like a massive wave of music, long nights and many hours on the A55, which is why the blogs dried up after day two. So, for the sake of completion, here's a quick leg through* the highlights of the missing days now that sleep patterns have returned and the tinnitus subsided.
We last saw our 'hero' (that's me - cue World Record attempt at suspension of disbelief) reeling from Bastions' seismic and evangelical set at Speakers Corner. I was still quivering the next night when I arrived at Morgan Lloyd in Caernarfon.
This was the most varied bill of the week: tuneful emotive rock (I can't bring myself to label any band 'emo' in 2010) courtesy of Through Colour (below), leading to Mr Huw's quirky, tune-encrusted treasure trove, via Bandana's Beatles-in-Hamburg beat explosions and Tim And Sam's Tim And The Sam Band With Tim And Sam flooring jaws like folkish horse whisperers, except the happy victims were of the breed indie kid sapien and not equine.
Morgan Lloyd is the Northern epicentre of Welsh music sung in Welsh. It's a great, intimate venue. By the time Mr Huw blew playground singalong melodies of death and obsession around the venue there was an excellent audience of bobbing heads and appreciative faces.
It's a shame that all the latecomers didn't get to chance upon the beguiling charms of the Tim And Sam band. If you want them described in terms of obvious, reductionist musical reference points, they're Sigur Ros as played by Belle and Sebastian. They were excellent, self-deprecating and incredibly funny. Preceding a song that features a xylophone by saying, "we're going to rock out, now", is my kind of humour.
They left Caernarfon to drive up to Aberdeen. ABERDEEN. They're probably still on their way.
Bandana were a real and pleasant surprise. The Cuban heeled boots of their Brian Jones-alike singer and guitarist were a clue to their early '60s influences. But the songs rang clear of pastiche and plagiarism. Until the Wombats cover, but we can put that down to youthful over exuberance. Damn good, though.
The guitar-driven, indie rock song survives through successive generations because bands like Bandana pick 'em up and imbue the form with belief and energy, if not any real originality. People who like the Beatles, the Stones, (early) Kings of Leon, the Strokes, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Arctic Monkeys are going to find a lot to like in Bandana. Those of us who might sneer at a lack of anything truly fresh can pat ourselves on our joyless backs as their bandwagon drives off into the sunset, the sound of an excellent party diminishing over the horizon.
So, that was Caernarfon.
*"a quick leg through..." ha ha! Sorry. Here's part two.