While not by most definitions metal ,live Swans crush almost every metal band i have seen, the elder states men of post/ rock , sludge and industrial . they opened last night with about ten minutes of feed back before Micheal Gira took the stage to build into the crescendo with the opener from their most recent album " my father will guide me up a rope to sky, in their two half hour set the songs from this album dominated the set the only old song was the jarboe sung" i ", Gira handled the vocals to give the song a different meaning, he flailed his arms like a much younger man, once the sound level's even out in the mix his voice retained it's warm rich baritone resonance , evident on the closer "eden prison" and the rare encore of " little mouth".
They played the new song apostate which live version have circulated on youtube this summer, if any indication of the direction the songs to come are taking it is clear from Gira's howls , the have come back to prove they wrote the book on what the kids of today like Boris, Earth, and Jesu have laid claim to in past 14 years Gira has been exploring experimental country with Angels of Light.
Newcomer Chris Pravdica's bass playing was fluid and powerful under current
One of the highlight's was when multi instramentalist Thor Harris put down the mallets, in favor of other instruments like a clarinet , violin, or Appalachian dulcimer, allowing the expansive sonic pallet of the band to become fully
realized. Kristof Hahn's heavily delayed pedal steel created a mournful cacophony of surreal ambiance as the counter point, their trademark searing bright guitar tones.
I will admit, the urge to hear songs like "killing for company" or " Blood Promise" was a subtle itch amidst the pummeling, where on the albums the more melodic sections provide a hypnotic interlude, but the evening was more focused on Micheal Gira's wardance. He flailed and stomped into the clubbing chords creating a wall of sonic blunt force. Despite this i have the upmost respect for Gira to look forward rather than back, their legacy intact rather than a trek through the nostalgia, he could have brought Jarboe back for that, the only remnant of the good ol days was classic albums at the merch table , balance out in equal parts with discs of their current solo endeavors.
the band made themselves easily accessible in the lobby after the show and the sincerity in Gira's firm handshake was an example of a rare legend with integrity, after seeing a show like this it makes you re-think the other shows you had planned on attending in the near future as the bar is raised so high on many levels.