Swans at Terminal West
October 22, 2012
October 19, 2012 - Michael Gira and Co. got right down to the business of pain Friday night when Swans took the stage at Terminal West in support of the group’s latest album, the Seer. There was no mesmerizing 30-minute drone opener like what the group brought to Variety Playhouse last year when touring behind My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, but then again, this wasn’t Swans illustrious return to the stage from the discarnate state in which it had existed for over a decade. No, this show was the Swans at full stride among the living, doling out purification by earsplitting volume and long, sustained blasts of repetition.
Frontman Gira has made no bones about this not being a “dumbass reunion” as much as it is Swans in the here and now. As such, he’s not one to crank out the old familiar tunes from his past to appease the nostalgia-philes. Last time around the group broke character only once to perform “I Crawled” from the 1984 Young God EP. However, this time the group punctuated the searing atmosphere of feedback and resonance to let the drums take over for a seemingly endless revisit to “Coward” from 1986’s Holy Money.
While Friday night’s show at Terminal West didn’t pack quite as much of a metaphysical punch as last year’s return to the stage, it was still a powerfully disturbing display. In many ways it was an unequivocally pure Swans experience, shedding any sense of novelty, stripping it all down to a bad temperament and brass tacks.
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