Swinefest/Hogwash Reviews and Previews

Videos from Swinefest I

The very ace Normal Man in several chunks - 



From the very fine Vibrations Magazine - reviews of Swinefest II and preview of Swinefest III and a mini-preview of Swinefest IV

Swinefest ll @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Tree of Sores kick things off but I wasn’t convinced at first. Too much metal-proggy noodling for my taste, but as they went on it took on a pleasingly post-rock tinge and formed a coherent barrage. 
Next up were Racket Ball, born out of the embers of Blah Blah Tin, who disintegrated earlier this year. And very jolly they were too – very eighties electronica with big bass. Very BIG. 
I felt the The Trumpets of Death had gone off the boil of late – when I first saw them they were like an unholy mix of folk and free jazz, Benjamin Weatherill’s voice pulling ghostly melodies about the sea from a fog of rasping sax. Earlier this year they had toned down the sax to create a barrage of bass tones over which everything else struggled to be heard. But they’re back on form – a barrage of bass tones that has the scrawling sax overlaying it, with some great guitar noise thrown in.
And then Normal Man. Ah, the anticipation. Noah Brown has a reputation and I was expecting fire. Or doom. Or both. And was disappointed. Not that there was anything wrong with them. They were quite fun, in a doom-ish manner shouty/droney/punk stylee. At times they reminded me of Lard, but without the conviction to actually go for it.
Noise. That’s what we were promised (among other things) and German harsh noise duo die Krawallerie delivered. To be honest with you, they were so mind-numbingly brilliant that the next part of the review should be taken at less than face value. An insistent whine of static barely controlled but at full volume, coupled with cracks and pops made by inserting something into an effects pedal. The tonal variations were few and its insistence became a virtue.
Meatpacker. Two guys. One has a guitar that he plays as if he is a rock god but you can’t hear it because the distortion and drum machine are so loud. The other guy screams incoherently. I think they are mind-numbingly tedious and the one dud of the evening.
The Wind-Up Birds. I confess – I’m a fan. Their beautiful sound always makes me feel better, even when the sound is terrible. But it isn’t here. Tonight it’s muscular and loud. After an on the fly soundcheck they scream through ‘Good Shop Shuts’, ‘There Won’t always Be An England’ (which is breath-taking), and the closing ‘Tyre Fire’. The band is tight even if guitarist Matt can’t stand up (he’s hurt his back) and they sound glorious. 

Duncan Macgregor

Swinefest 3 @ The Well, Leeds 17 December

Decidedly unseasonal and frankly quite terrifying line up of extreme and confrontational noise and pulverising rock music courtesy of local promoter of all things weird Dave Procter. The name alone marks noise duo Smell & Quim as being probably something dangerous, but local bands Two Trick Horse, Legion of Swine and the utterly brilliant No Guts provide some familiar mayhem to counter the unknown variety. Ear plugs and some kind of perspective are probably advisable….

And although you didn't ask for it, the preview for Swinefest IV is this:

Bong/Wizard's Beard/Gorean Slave Master/Nervous Twitch/Die Infantillerie/You'll Learn/Yorkshire Bone @ Wharf Chambers, Leeds 31 March

This is actually Swinefest IV, so it’s more noise, volume and weirdness courtesy of Leeds legend Dave Procter, and at a venue that could do with your support right now. Headlining Geordie drone rockers Bong will be magnificent but note the return of the fearsome Yorkshire Bone. Be afraid, be very afraid….

Swinefest V review - Vibrations Magazine - http://www.vibrations.org.uk/live.php?fn_mode=fullnews&fn_id=304 

Swinefest V is nothing if not eclectic – six sets for a fiver, and every one has merit. Someone should give Dave Proctor a medal.
Instead, he has a tiny audience for his…performance (how do you describe a guy sat at a laptop, occasionally prodding something you can’t see) as Legion of Swine. He starts with a granule of noise that seems to be rubbing against itself, building into amplified static. Slowly it fills with wind and a crashing of rain, tempestuously transforming into the sound of an ocean, hammering. You can almost hear seagulls through the gales. The cold is palpable. Absolutely beautiful.
Kroyd and Mitch shamble onstage for their first performance as forgets. And it is a performance. Mitch provides a haze of melodic guitar shapes, Kroyd tells tales. Falteringly. It is difficult to tell how improvised it is as it forms a surprisingly coherent whole, with a defined beginning (talking with Death), a middle (Kroyd performing on his knees)  that could be subtitled “all these things I’ve done” and an end that is a resolution with Death. At which point Mitch disintegrates the melody to form a raucous finale. Difficult to describe, with moments of unease, but ultimately beguiling.
Brown and Benbowup next, and here was the only instance of similarity between acts – a duo with one doing vocals and the other instruments. The desire for comparison is obvious, but the effect was quite different. Brown “sings” low echo word noise with occasional phrases or blows shredded harmonica fuzz while Benbow makes fractured noises on a small box of tricks and a guitar, howling to a conclusion. Less coherent than forgets, parts are tedious and others sublime
While the rest of the band set up, Sloth Hammer’s drummer and bassist jam a Bohren type riff – slow drums and massive reverberating bass that is quite wonderful. The others join in and it is difficult to see where the beginning actually was. The remaining members of the troupe are a guy on electronic bibbity bobs (including a child’s plastic teapot and an electric drill, thankfully not used together) and two screamers (one who jumps and sways manically, the other almost immobile). These five almost-cartoon death/doom metallers provide a half hour slow doom improv of great intensity, much humour and general wonderfulness. They look like people your mother would avoid, but talking afterwards they were lovely…
…which is something to note about Swinefest. For all of the disparate approaches and lack of tribal identification, everyone is very friendly and helpful, audience and artists alike.
Next up are Super Luxury, five young lads who play funk-metal with a spikey punk tinge. And very good they are too – tight, well-organised, full of character and ready to rock a stadium. I appreciate their skill but it’s just not my thing.
And finally, Yugoslavian Boys – three blokes forming an anachronism. There’s the drummer from Super Luxury (who is very good), wearing nothing but cycling shorts, a lanky bassist with massive sideburns and an army surplus shirt who carries on playing relentlessly even when he falls over, and a singer in aviator shades, black clothes and driving gloves, playing a tinny eighties synthesiser and occasional flatulent trumpet. They start off sounding like a punked down Laibach and get progressively weirder. They appear amateur and shambolic but are very, very tight, making a punk racket with wit and style. They close with possibly the most unhinged version of ‘Louie Louie’ I’ve ever heard. Stunning.
Then we go home.

Hogwash 3 review - Vibrations Magazine - http://www.vibrations.org.uk/live.php?fn_mode=fullnews&fn_id=304

Sporting an array of effects pedals usually used by the likes of Matt Bellamy,Chrissie Caulfield opens with an abrupt barrage of pummelling noise partly, I suspect, to immediately dispel any ideas that she deals in in respectful tradition. After a couple of minutes, most of the effects drop out and on the top of an ululating throb of a residual pulsing noise, she begins to explore what her set up can offer. Problem is, she rarely sticks with one idea for more than a minute and the set becomes a succession of half formed or barely explored ideas, many of which would have benefited from more detailed exploration.
forgets is The Wind-Up Birds singer Paul Ackroyd’s spoken word and noise improv duo with guitarist mate Mitch. Ackroyd’s part improvised, part prepared recitation sounds like a glimpse into the less ordered back rooms and recesses of the creative urge that drives his songs. An improvised an increasingly surreal story around beer and breakfast at Wetherspoons is randomly interspersed with prepared poem-like pieces that at first offer some kind of stability but eventually amplify the queasy surrealism. Ackroyd is clearly still feeling his way, but if he sticks with it he may be on to something. And Mitch provides the perfect soundtrack – rarely obtrusive but adding telling emphasis where required.
Rob Hayler made the 90’s in Leeds a bit of a noisemongers oasis, what with promoting gigs and releasing stuff as Fencing Flatworm Recordings, and the recent revival of his performing persona Midwich is very welcome. With a minimalist, old school set up, Hayler sits behind a table with just one console and a couple of add-on boxes and plays two relatively short pieces that use grinding machinery noise, layers of distortion and sub bass throbs that build a thick but warm aural soup that fills the room. Hayler rocks in his chair and rolls his head, lost in the enveloping noise. The music has none of the harshness that drives so much contemporary noise, but has a natural, almost organic texture. Welcome back.
Steve Walsh