1_Swans_Basilica Soundscape 2014

One by one the members of Swans came out to their drawn out opening number. First it was percussionist Thor Harris who began his work on his gong, then out came drummer Phil Puleo who added his own strikes. The percussion only groove was broken up by lap steel guitar player Christoph Hahn who joined them for a few minutes until the rest of the group, led by Swans head honcho Michael Gira, joined them. This opening number went on for nearly 20-minutes, giving you a clear understanding of what exactly you can expect from a Swans live show.

They ended up playing for two and a half hours of drawn out jams played at violently loud levels. All the rumors of the incredible volume of a Swans show is true, as well as their expert precision and vision. I had heard a lot about Swans’ live show from others, but taking it in first hand is obviously a completely different experience. They would build and build on their riffs, become a force so powerful that you would feel it within your gut. Even when I went to the bathroom toward the end of the set I could still hear them pounding away as if I never left.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Swans music because I’m very far from it, but they sounded pretty incredible last night. They’re the sort of act everyone should try and seek out live at least once, because there’s really no one else doing what they’re doing quite in the same fashion.

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