Posted in music | pictures on September 30, 2010

photos by Justina Villanueva

Swans

A Swans concert is not a democracy.

During its Wednesday night performance at the Black Cat, the New York City-based sextet -- newly re-christened after a 15-year hiatus -- tried to wrest control of the audience's senses. Swans wanted the air-conditioning off, the house lights on, and the volume maxed-out. Song requests were not taken. Even the line for the merchandise table was straight and orderly with a sign decreeing which credit cards were acceptable. If noise-rock has a political hierarchy, Swans would be the generalissimo.

...In concert, the band stuck to unflinching intensity. For more than an hour Swans performed at jet-engine volume, drawing out songs from the most savage reaches of its back catalog, like "Your Property" from 1984's "Cop." "You deform me/ you own me/I worship your authority," bellowed Gira. He stalked the stage, slapped himself in the face, and clutched tightly to an electric guitar.

But Gira has a tender side, too. Each CD that Swans sell on tour comes autographed by the singer at no extra charge. It's personal touch from Gira, available to all of his fans -- washed or unwashed, hip or unhip, on credit or debit. -[Washington Post]

As noted yesterday with a video from their first reunion show in Philly, Swans are back and on the road. The show last night at The Black Cat in Washington DC was their second reunion show. Tonight in Boston will be their third, Pop Montreal is coming soon, and eventually two shows will happen in NYC too (both now sold out).

More pictures and a video from The Black Cat show, and two more videos from the Troc, below...

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Swans at Black Cat DC

Swans Live in Philly 9-28-10

Swans Live in Philly 9-28-10

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Comments (28)

setlist? I'm very curious to see what songs they're playing on the tour...

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 3:30 PM

So psyched for Masonic Temple. Weird to see Gira not wearing his hat.

Posted by noamjamski | September 30, 2010 3:34 PM

I mix a bit of my pet swans excrement in my morning hummus for a little kick.

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 3:41 PM

can't wait for Masonic Temple show!

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 3:41 PM

Old material (cop, filth, etc) and then stuff from the new album. Kinda bummed there is no various failures-era material being played. Oh well, epic show nonetheless.

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 3:41 PM

Hey Justina, how much were the shirts?

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 4:22 PM

Wow nice Obama sticker. Soo hardcore.

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 4:30 PM

i know, what's up with Obama sticker?

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 4:39 PM

indie bands like Obama? Who knew?!

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 4:44 PM

shirts were $20

Posted by justina | September 30, 2010 5:10 PM

don't listen to justina. she's lying. i am the real justina. the shirts were $17.

Posted by the real justina | September 30, 2010 5:39 PM

too many similar photos- more variety please.

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 5:42 PM

Last time I saw a Swans show -- Tampa, 1989 or 1990, I forget exactly, Burning World tour -- I couldn't hear right for 3 days. My girlfriend at the time (a drummer, no less!) nearly fainted. It was like an hour of being between tectonic plates as they shift. Can't wait for the Bowery show.

Posted by Christian_in_NYC | September 30, 2010 6:27 PM

"... I couldn't hear right for 3 days."

I know the feeling, it's like drugs with a meaning. Can't wait to see them...

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 7:15 PM

just a little over a week away!!!

Posted by Anonymous | September 30, 2010 9:22 PM

Man, no A/C?

Hope when they come to TX they at least let that slide. Other than that put it on 11.

Posted by TXn | September 30, 2010 10:03 PM

pretty much counting on this to be the show of the year

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 12:17 AM

^^their album is already a contender for album of the year.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 2:32 AM

between Ben Frost and Swans, people are going to wheeled out on stretchers at the Brooklyn show

Posted by isfet | October 1, 2010 9:16 AM

I hope they play from Various Failures and Soundtracks for the Blind. Doesn't sound like they will. Maybe because of the member lineup.
Their show in 97 was incredible.

Posted by Anonymous | October 1, 2010 5:26 PM

I got tickets for the Masonic temple show and plan on bringing da hummus!

Posted by Anonymous | October 2, 2010 3:37 PM

Ill find the hummus guy and jam hummus so far up his ears he wont know what hit him.

Posted by Anonymous | October 2, 2010 11:06 PM

Recent setlists have been:

No Words/No Thoughts
Your Property
Sex, God, Sex
Jim
I Crawled
My Birth
Beautiful Child
Eden Prison

They have rehearsed others though (Power For Power, Raping A Slave, Clay Man, Another You, Anything For You, A Screw and something else, I forget), so maybe something else will appear.

Posted by Alex | October 3, 2010 7:46 AM

the pop montreal show was the best thing I've seen in a long time. totally visceral & physical. they definitely added raping a slave into the set. the tracks off the new album are so transcendant live that the gaping holes in the set list become pin pricks.

Posted by Anonymous | October 3, 2010 4:42 PM

are you positive about them adding "raping a slave"? i saw a setlist from that gig and it has the same songs plus "inside madeline" added somewhere in the middle.

i hope you're right though.

Posted by anonymous | October 3, 2010 6:17 PM

"indie bands like Obama? Who knew?!"


Uh... who else would they vote for? McCain? Really surprised that someone would be surprised that the Swans aren't republicans.

Posted by Anonymous | October 4, 2010 11:54 AM

"Uh... who else would they vote for? McCain? Really surprised that someone would be surprised that the Swans aren't republicans."

You obviously have a firm grasp on sarcasm.

Posted by Anonymous | October 4, 2010 11:57 AM

Need to ask Yoko Ono to play Give Peace a Chance and get OK to play Revolution for the Code Pink March. Could also get donations to play commerchials for Code Pink with the music.

Posted by الملتقى العربي | January 29, 2011 10:36 PM

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