Friday, 15 January 2010

Supported by I Concur
Relentless Garage, London
Rating: 4/5

After a quick couple of pints in the Whetherspoon's around the corner, I arrived at the venue fractionally after eight o' clock to see two familiar stacks of amps on the stage, and no support band drumkit. Hm. Now, I'm prepared to allow for human error: earlier in the year I missed Japandroids' set supporting Sad Day for Puppets and A Place to Bury Strangers because of a mix-up over door times when I was reviewing, but a look at my ticket says "Doors- 7:30pm". So where were I Concur?

Ah well. After quite a long wait, Swervedriver took the stage, looking admittedly younger than I was expecting. I'd heard good things about this reuinion, and as always it was nice not to be let down. I remember going to Reading to see the Smashing Pumpkins reunion and being shall we say, quite disappointed (if you listen carefully on live footage or a recording of the set, in between two songs you can hear me swearing at my favourite band).

Playing a crowd-pleasing set heavy on singles and conspicuously all available on the recent Jugger
naut Rides Collection (which sadly was until the recent reissues the only way of getting hold of much of Swervedriver's back catalogue) save from 'Girl on a Motorbike', the boys put in a cracking performance, even joking when the balloons on the ceiling comically failed to fall on the crowd. Franklin and Hartridge don't ever move very far from their pedalboards, and do spend most of the gig looking at their feet, but they move around when they can- just don't expect any Matt Bellamy style theatrics. Highlights were 'The Other Jesus', and the left-right combination of '99th Dream', the song of the night, and 'Never Lose That Feeling', which understandably had the crowd going by the second chord.

Coming on for a quick encore, it was clear how this band managed to make their name with the song 'Son of Mustang Ford', as live its almost Stooges-like thrashing makes a mockery of the album version. My only complaint of the set was with the closer, 'Kill the Superheroes', which was dragged out into an extended jam. Although the drumming was excellent, the guitar parts just weren't that interesting. This band clearly has spent much of its career working on their compositions and the interplay between the two guitars in their songs, and perhaps this can be shown by their relative inability to improvise. That said, it's not going to stop me going to see them again as soon as I get the chance. '99th Dream' alone was worth the ticket price.

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