Monday, March 23, 2015

Culture: Industrial Symphonies - Swans @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, New York - A Photo Report

(Drivebycuriosity) - "Swans are majestic, beautiful looking creatures. With really ugly temperaments" said once Michael Gira (wikipedia). The rock musician formed in 1982 the band "Swans", one of those independent rock music groups, who go their own ways beyond the mainstream.


                                                    Violent, Majestic & Bautiful

Yesterday I my wife and I enjoyed their gig @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. It was our second Swans concert after their show @ Bowery Ballroom in February (driveby). Again, the band came up to their name. The concert was "majestic &  beautiful" and spiced with very violent parts - far away from today´s mediocrity.

                                                    Colossal Machines

The performance, which lasted more than 2 hours, was was quite something and will stay in my memory for years. There were six musicians on the stage: Three guitars, drums/percussion, keyboards and a sixth performer who acted as a kind of "Libero" (a term used in soccer). The "number six" was the "free man" and played alternatively different instruments. Sometimes he beat an additional drum, then he changed to violin, brass, xylophone and other instruments. Often the keyboard contributed a digital carillon which gave the songs an elated structure.

The band exploited the potentialities of noises - created with the use of guitars, percussions and a lot of other devices - and transformed them into long symphonic pieces. Melodic and ballad-like parts alternated with massive industrial segments, sounding like colossal machines.

Frontman Michael Gira´s  melodic voice gave the songs an additional framework. Sometimes he used his voice as the seventh instrument, setting dramatical accents like a performer on a theater stage. A commentator on Facebook calls Gira a "shaman" (facebook). He wrote: " It is louder than you can possibly imagine and your body trembles as it internalizes the shaking world. The cumulative energy fields of the music gain momentum slowly over time, and build into incredible powerhouses of direction. It is quite literally the aural equivalent of a freight train, full of incredible diesel and focus, and resistant to slowing once it’s full steam ahead" and finishes his comment "Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, the chord drops down to a new one. The river becomes a waterfall. And that’s when you see god" (facebook).

I illustrate this post with some of the pictures I took Yesterday.


PS 1: Yesterday´s performer were (facebook): Michael Gira / gtr / voice / mendicant friar act (original swans); Norman Westberg – Guitar (original swans) Christophj Hahn – Guitar (mid period swans and most angels); Phil Puleo – Drums, percussion, dulcimer etc etc (final swans tour and most angels); Chris Pravdica – Bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din); Thor Harris - Drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, etc etc... (angels, now also with shearwater).

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