I’m going to put a little more effort into this review because I won the tickets from Grimy Good, who wrote a great review already (the platypus comment was funny) and they posted some excellent photos by MINIVAN Photography). The Portable Infinite also has some great photos (which I edited). Also, because I am really excited about the new Swervedriver album I Wasn’t Born to Lose You, which to me is really a return to form – not necessarily as heavy or dynamic as the first two albums Raise and Mezcal Head.
The new album is still full of hypnotic melodies that show Adam Franklin’s songwriting is as good as ever. I’ve heard a few of his solo project albums (Bolts of Melody and Toshack Highway) so I know the 17 years between the new album and 99th Dream were actually pretty busy for him. I actually haven’t even heard Magnetic Morning (with Interpol’s Sam Fogarino), but it will be on my list of albums to check out.
I heard the show was actually sold out, which compared to my first time seeing them at Coachella in 2008 with a half full tent, not the best turnout for a reunion show. The very packed house at the Roxy helped make the show much better. Also, not playing in the middle of the day also helps. Gateway Drugs were a pretty good opener, not as druggy (as the name implies) as they were rocky. Occasionally, they switched between singers. Overall, they sounded good and are worth checking out.
Thanks to L.A. Record‘s photo sets (which are also really great), I know what the actual setlist was:
For Seeking Heat
Never Lose That Feeling
Why Say Yeah
Stoner or Everso (they played Everso)
Girl on a Motorbike
It was mostly new songs with a few old favorites from the past four albums. The first two albums were (and probably still are) the most popular, though I think it’s because they had the widest release. I remember back then, Swervedriver somehow crossed over into the Metal category while still being often called Shoegaze. They maybe had more of a metal look back then, and the guitars (Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge make a great team) are pretty heavy too. I got into them pretty late (around the 99th Dream album, still one of my favorites despite me not knowing where it is).
Swervedriver sounded great despite some sound problems at the start (which were quickly sorted out) and put on an excellent performance. Mick Quinn (ex-Supergrass) has been filling in on bass for Swervedriver’s usual bass player Steve George, who I think has Visa related issues. Quinn and drummer Mikey Jones provided a solid rhythm section. My own photos were mostly from far away since there were a lot of people up front.
I saw a lot of people taking videos and photos, so I assume there are a lot of recordings online already.
I found a partial video of “Duel,” which definitely got a warm reception and was a great closer: