American post-punk outfit Swans played Manchester’s Albert Hall on Saturday night with fans of Michael Gira’s six piece ear bleeders flocking in their droves (despite a bus strike) to a very fitting venue.
Albert Hall’s gothic church like pulpit became the ideal setting for Mr Gira to preach to the more or less converted (and a couple of new fans who were in for quite an evening if their live reputation is anything to go by).
The band played an impressive two hour set with Gira’s vocals intense to the point of intimidating. It is difficult to focus on the rest of the band as his stage presence is quite mesmerising. Along with the droning, gruff vocals that seems to reverberate through the audience, his eyes closed most of the time focusing on his craft.
The six musicians on stage were hugely talented, providing a stunning array of instrumental backing for Gira’s lyrics. I had never seen the Albert Hall stage so busy with equipment!
Swans songs are by no means short, the set list contained eight tracks. The longest of these being their final track (or their swan song…of sorts) ‘Cloud of Unknowing’. Taken from their 2016 album ‘The Glowing Man ‘, the track builds up into a terrifying but strangely comforting hypnotic piece of abstract art. Many of their tracks give you an uneasy feeling, and for a first time attendee it became a challenge to listen to at times, eerie and unforgiving.
If eerie and unforgiving is your cup of tea then I certainly recommend this experience. The band only have a handful of UK tour dates left before they head overseas for the European leg. More information and all things Swans can be found HERE.
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