photo courtesy two cups of tea
It's been way too long since the Swirlies played their last show.
I was really shocked to see tickets available from oh my rockness one email. I admit I had to check around and make sure they were talking about the same Swirlies...insanely it was, and I bought tickets as soon as they were available.
I bonded with someone at a party once when I brought up the Swirlies, somehow she knew them and we couldn't believe we found someone else that even knew who they were. It really shocked her...I wasn't convinced we were still talking about the same band in the end, she was so sure she was the only one.
They were one of the first singles I ever bought, lost to someone and then years later I found it again at Eat records...the Brokedick Car EP, on blue vinyl. I've since pretty much picked up all the rest that exist...within reason. They seemed like one of those bands I could always listen to when I wasn't sure what to put on, what I was in the mood for. They ended up on mix tapes for roadtrips for jaded music friends. I had 'They spent their wild youthful days....' and it was such a range of music, from short french sound collages, to never ending blown out shoegaze riffs with all kinds of off tune guitar chords, trading off vocals...real indie...that was indie rock to me, east coast boston based smart complex indie rock.
All this being said, maybe I had the bar set pretty high for a band that doesn't seem to have performed live in like 10 years....and it showed. The tracks are technical, the amount of layers, effects pedals, multiple vocals, real analog keyboards. I could hear the hours of finding these perfect sounds that complemented a blown out chord progression....so no wonder there were so many problems. Recreating this material must have been a nightmare even when it was barely created, let alone by now when literally the machines are way past their prime.
It took forever to set up and it takes a lot to say that, I can tolerate a lot...I mean I think it's obvious I have a serious love for this band that kind of existed in this little bubble of not knowing too much about them, forever being mythologized. They didn't end up in other music projects...it just seemed like life took over and there wasn't the hype machine raging like today or something.
It was good, listening back, they started really strong...but wasn't amazing....they seemed a little like they were out of their element and a bunch of separate musicians trying to keep it together, not communicating, not really excited to be there. I really have to wonder what this whole thing is about for them...a reunion tour? Because they could? The crowd was completely supportive it seemed, through the tangents and sound trouble...we wanted them not to fail.
So here's the live show to examine for yourself....complete with huge periods of time in between songs...for me it completely fell apart around 21 minutes, and I had to leave after just feeling a little let down. Swirlies (44min).