August 22, 2017
The Swans on stage lie somewhere between psychedelia, a house of horrors, and the inside of a nuclear power plant. Dense and unrelenting, the sound is so loud that it is often difficult to tell what instruments are being heard. It’s industrial in the sense that living inside a factory is industrial. What comes from the stage seems far closer to Glenn Branca guitar orchestra pieces than any rock form.
The band, formed 35 years ago by Michael Gira and re-formed seven years ago, is on its last tour in its current lineup. About the impending finale of the band, Gira says “The past seven years of my life have been the most productive and fulfilling of my career. It’s not my place to draw qualitative distinctions between the previous and current periods, and I wouldn’t presume any expertise in doing so, but from a personal perspective, this time period has been the most consistently engaging and even enthralling in my recollection.”
Gira plans to continue touring, still using the name Swans, but with a rotating lineup of musicians new and old to Gira’s music. And he will work on maintaining and reissuing the back catalog of Swans recording. It’s an end and a beginning.
Photos by Raymond Ahner.