Sunday, October 31, 2010

Swans and James Blackshaw

Thursday 28th October, KoKo, London





Koko was the place, just down from TOPY shoe repairs, GPO's favourite I bet... The music hall decor adding to the occasion - quite grand and rococo-ed, if a little bit crammed. The stage seemed to dwarf Mr Blackshaw, that night's support, as he plied his wondrous tri-guitar perspectives and multiple time signatures... my head hurt trying to keep up with all that fancy Fu Manchu finger work, even if it failed to silence the inane chatter from the crowd...





The Swans, when they finally hit the stage at 10pm... were 'astounding'... taut and muscular... a testosterone fuelled Goliath, banked by a duo of explosive drumming from Cop Shoot Cop's Phil Puleo and Thor's percussive inventiveness... Insanely LOUD... the show opener was incredible... a lap steel drone cut up with hammered tubes followed by the full team smashing the fuck out of their equipment in unison... an unholy chorus of trombone seeping out of the edges... This you tube moment doesn't capture the extreme pummelling experienced...



but it'll give you an idea...you really had to be there, immersed in that racket. When they finally caved in... they left my ears all trebly n vacuum packed...





The sheer weight/force of the music was overpowering verging on brutal. Everybody on stage looked seriously mean... Westberg in particular, looked like he was chewing a wasp as he gazed out on the audience with complete contempt, wished I could hear his guitar more.





The new stuff was amazing, No Words / No Thoughts, Jim glistened with focused intent, a few old time surprises taking you unawares, plenty that I was completely clueless about... no mistaking their rendition of l Crawled though - Gira's ashtray throat carving out the words like pounds of flesh... making you an uncomfortable spectator... 'Put your hands round my throat, now choke me'... 'You're my father I obey you'... That bass/guitar mallet, sheer perfection... the drums reduced to a sloth heavy, corpse slap. His words, fists, smacking home the torrent, torment... later he was booming 'Jesus... come down' mouth all contracted gasp... his arms cruciformed... 'Jesus, Jesus Christttt... ' Anyone else would have been laughed off stage by the absurdity of it... but with Gira... you were half expecting the Son of God to oblige...



A show to remember... no lacklustre... every track bristled with a seething fury that was gobsmackingly beautiful and utterly unique.

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