Our second consecutive year at this excellent one-dayer featuring upcoming indie talent.  Five stages across four venues, each one a minute walk apart. For the most part every band has a 30 minute slot and with timetable arranged so that the acts dovetail one another there was plenty of opportunity to take in a large number of acts and squeeze excellent value from the £26 ticket.

 We saw most bands in SWX which has two stages. This year there seemed to be a queue most of the afternoon at Strange Brew but with nothing there on our hot-list anyway this didn’t impact.  The later evening shows we saw were in Rough Trade which houses an excellent band room at the back of the shop.

 Decent Goose Island Midway IPA is available on draft at SWX, though on the pricy side at £7.70 a pint.  A good variety of craft beer selection served in cans in the more informal setting of Rough Trade.

 The bands we saw:

 The Itch – The Human League T-shirt worn by the lead singer was entirely appropriate for their 80s synth based songs.  Female drummer’s vocals gave some numbers a Bodega flavour 

 Handcuff – altogether spikier and noisier than the first band. A strong Hives vibe. Parquet Courts speeded up in places

 Maruja – featured a meandering sax – both sonically and physically. Tremendous blend of thumping bass and drums with shared vocal in places underpinned with crazy sax. Great energy with both sax player and lead vocalist joining the audience at various points, the latter bare-chested and joining the mosh; returning to the stage, wearily picking up his guitar and saying  “I jump around in the mosh then I remember I’ve got to sing and that”.  Best band of the afternoon so far.

 Febueder – most interesting find of the day. 3 piece indie guitar with occasional trumpet and an early-Maccabees vocal sound, combining punchy and smooth vocals in equal measure. First few tunes with a reggae temp, the performance got more curious as the drummer turned his back to the audience to play cello. Their 2017 single Shapeshifter brought set to a stunning close.  Definitely one to check out

 Liz Lawrence – Dressed with immaculate elegance  in black frock coat with gold cufflinks upon white cuffs, LL and her three-strong band delivered an hour long set of beautiful tunes.  The longer set allowed Liz to treat us to her full range of mesmerising intensity through to self-deprecating banter. This felt like a headline set in mid-afternoon

 Ebbb – our first foray from SWX across to Rough Trade for some unadulterated psych from Ebbb, a collective formed from members of Butch Cassidy, Kyoto Kyoto and Enter Laughing. This trio know what they are doing – gave us the most energetic performance so far today

 Sam Akpro – blown away by this sound - contemporary urban melding perfectly and uniquely with 70s prog. The bass lines highly reminiscent of this writer’s Danish favourites ‘Mew’. Fronting a four strong band, Sam cuts a captivating figure, a left-handed guitarist playing his guitar upside down (think Jimi Goodwin)

 Slate – the only time we’ve seen this band previously was at a small RCUK gathering last year in Soho. Four piece guitar band from Wales with a swimmy psych vibe – when the vocalist isn’t singing the lead guitarist’s instrument is. 8 song set featuring excellent singing Tabernacl and stunning set closer Remoter.

 Widowspeak – (a brief peek): Quality Americana with quality keyboard

 Knives – With two sax players added to the line-up this band continues to take their particular version of bedlam to even greater levels, with drummer Erin expertly holding the chaos together. Brilliant set culminating with the craziest cover of Babushka you’ll ever witness 

 Damefrisør – our one venture to The island venue, a former prison, for this excellent Bristolian indie guitar band that we’ve enjoyed a couple of times previously. Having taken some craft beer refreshment in one of the cells we joined the band room later than we should have.  Superb sound but not a single sight-line to the low stage.  And to add to our disappointment they announced this was their last ever gig with current line-up 

 Holiday Ghosts – A welcome break from many of the frantic bands on the bill today. Holiday Ghosts present unashamed jangly guitar pop with stylish aplomb.  Vulture remains an outstanding track. Also gave an outing to Big Congratulations and Sublime Disconnect from their forthcoming second album. 

 William Doyle – with accompaniment today from Alex on cello and bass, Will gave himself breathing space to create his unique musical shapes and deliver his perfect vocal. Leaning heavily on latest album Springs Eternal I was personally pleased to hear two outstanding tracks from that fine work A Short Illness and Surrender Yourself.  Headlining the Rough Trade stage the set was only 45 minutes; Will’s body of work deserves a wider canvas.  But a superb way to end the day’s proceedings nevertheless