Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Swans at the Firebird, 10/23/12: Recap

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM

  • Michael Gira in 2010. Photo courtesy of Young God Records.

With the beginning of the show pushed back a half hour due to their late arrival, Swans took the stage about 10:30 p.m.. Frontman Michael Gira did not disappoint. Per tradition for Swans shows, the air conditioning was shut off at The Firebird for the duration of the performance, and the venue began getting sweaty and rank about 45 minutes into the two hour plus show.

See also: -The Ten Best Shows in St. Louis this Week -Feel Good Now album review: "This is the sound of drowning in your own lungs..." -Dinosaur Jr. at LouFest: Review

The mere presence of the post punk Swans in a city like St. Louis is exciting and ominous. Usually, these types of shows are reserved for the much cooler coasts, or at best Chicago, but last night one of those tours that typically pass us by stopped to play a show.

The crowd, some 250 strong and predominantly male, nodded their heads along with the crescendos and stretches of driving beat. Stacks of speakers not normally needed at the venue flanked the small stage. Though I saw no one overwhelmed by the decibel level in the room -- it was still loud even with our complimentary ear plugs in place -- there were some who exited early out of either a need to work in the morning or having simply endured enough punishment.

Letting the electric sound waves ebb and flow and then crash over him, Gira conducted the band with his right hand through these epics, crafting the mood like a spiritualist. It is difficult to hear these pieces as songs -- more like grand works to be displayed like art in a gallery. This is rock music for the 30th century, and not glittery pop songs for today. My mind kept conjuring intense monochromatic images over barren landscapes and in heavily populated urban areas in shades of black, white, gray, silver and chrome.

In two hours and five minutes Swans played a total of six songs. Nary a word came from the stage except "Thank you very much" after nearly an hour of music had washed over the audience. Songs in the live setting stretched and expanded. "Avatar" and the title track from the new album The Seer added nearly a third of their album running time here to 15 minutes and a whopping 49 minutes respectively.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation