Swervedriver at Neumo’s, Seattle | 26 May 2008
Depending on you perspective, ten years is either a long time or a merely a blip. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since Swervedriver hung it up after the release of their fourth album 99th Dream. Although it’s been ten years I certainly don’t remember this many people packing into see them back in DC at the Black Cat or 9:30. Neumo’s last night was full of Swervedriver faithful, packing the main floor, pumped up and excited. Yelling out for their favorite songs, and pretty much just yelling and cheering for every song. Between songs there were constant shouts for songs, one woman in front of me yelled, ‘Just play everything!’ They didn’t play everything, but the set left no one disappointed, pulling from all four albums as well as a few surprise b-sides like The Hitcher and Planes over the Skyline.
Filing on stage to the sounds of the instrumental interlude at the end of Ejector Seat Reservation, and bringing down the gauntlet right off the bat with For Seeking Heat and then into Sandblasted. They didn’t let up either, barely pausing between songs for a thank you, Adam Franklin was a man of few words, though none were needed when you’ve got songs that Swervedriver have. The band just seem to exude an effortless cool, but you could tell they were having a good time playing these songs. Franklin’s laid back hazy croon hasn’t changed a bit and it was great to hear it front and center, just about perfectly mixed over the onslaught of guitars. Drummer Jez counted off the songs with the angst and energy the they deserve, bassist Steve George was mouthing the words even to the parts where he wasn’t singing backing vocals, and guitarist Jimmy Hartridge handled his Gibson guitar and myriad of pedals with ease and playing off of Franklin’s guitar that makes it seem like they’re connected telepathically. They seemed to really kick into sixth gear near the end of the set with Rave Down and then returning for an encore of the spacey The Hitcher and then ending the night with two more from their first album Raise, Son of Mustang Ford and Deep Seat. If I could change anything about the set, I would have asked for a few more songs from Ejector Seat, but really any Swervedriver set list would not have disappointed me. This band has not lost a single thing in their ten years off, really the only thing that was different or missing was Franklin’s dreads.
Go see them if they’re anywhere near you:
May 27 Wonder Ballroom Portland OR
May 29 The Fillmore San Francisco CA
May 30 Casbah San Diego CA
May 31 Henry Fonda Theatre Los Angeles CA
Jun 3 Emo’s Alternative Lounging Austin TX
Jun 4 One Eyed Jacks New Orleans LA
Jun 5 The Masquerade Atlanta GA
Jun 6 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro NC
Jun 7 Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia PA
Jun 8 930 Club Washington DC
Jun 10 Paradise Boston MA
Jun 11 Bowery Ballroom New York NY
Jun 12 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn NY
Jun 13 Lees Palace Toronto ON
Jun 14 Metro Chicago IL
More photos from the show over at my flickr.