Monday, April 09, 2012

Swervedriver at Slim's - April 6th, 2012

Good evening,

Several weeks ago my buddy Brian told me that Swervedriver was coming back to the Bay Area to play Slim's and wanted to know if I was interested in going to see them again. Brian and I have seen them three or so times and I've seen them at least once or twice on my own. Knowing April was going to be a busy month and that the show was on Good Friday I wasn't sure, but decided I couldn't miss seeing these guys again. I am so glad I chose to see them. This makes the 6th time I've seen Swervedriver "live" and they NEVER disappoint!
Swervedriver was one of the best bands in the mid ’90s and was certainly my favorite from this era. Their history dates back to 1984 in Oxford, England with the formation of Shake Appeal (who disbanded in 1988). The band reformed as Swervedriver after demos of new songs "Son of Mustang Ford", "Volcano Trash" and "Afterglow" that Adam Franklin had recorded at home were heard by former bandmates. Swervedriver debuted with a series of 12" EPs between 1990 and 1991: "Son of Mustang Ford", "Rave Down" and "Sandblasted". They then issued their debut album "Raise" in 1991. In 1992 Swervedriver’s final release with the original lineup was Never Lose That Feeling 12" EP/ 7" single, but they reemerged in 1993 with "Mezcal Head" which was their most successful album. "Ejector Seat Reservation" was released in April 1995, but Creation Records dropped the band a week after the release ( it was reissued on CD in 2003 by Sony International). In 1996, Swervedriver signed to Geffen Records and began recording their fourth album, "99th Dream", but their contract was terminated when their A&R (Artists & Repertoire) representative was fired in a corporate downsizing. Geffen never officially released the album for sale and in 1998 Zero Hour Records released "99th Dream". The band went on a hiatus that lasted nearly a decade.

I had a chance to see them a few times before the hiatus and in 2008 got to see them "live" again.  I've seen them (and Adam Franklin and his side projects) every time they've been through town. I've had a chance to talk with Adam at some of his shows. He's a really nice guy.

The opening act was the NYC trio Heaven (here) comprised of Matt Sumrow (The Comas, Dean and Britta, Ambulance LTD), Mikey Jones (The Big Sleep, Adam Franklin, Snowden), and Ryan Lee Dunlap (Fan-Tan). They played a very solid set of dreamy psychedelic noise pop...check 'em out...

Got a chance to talk with the guitar player, Ryan Lee Dunlap, a bit after their set and congratulated them on a fantastic set. I'm expecting great things from this band and am looking forward to picking up some of their music once it is available.
Next up was Swervedriver and they were incredible. Mikey Jones from Heaven was on the drums. Not sure where Graham Bonnar or Jez Hindmarsh were, but Mikey is a VERY good drummer and honestly I think this Swervedriver line-up was one of the best I've seen.

Swervedriver is the kind of band that I can see again and again.

They played:
"Sci-Flyer" from "Raise"
"Scrawl & Scream" from "Never Lose That Feeling"
"Deep Wound" a new track from a disc hopefully out soon
"The Birds" from "Ejector Seat Reservation"
"Never Lose That Feeling" from "Mezcal Head"
"Pile-Up" from "Raise"
"These Times" from "99th Dream"
"Deep Seat" from "Raise"
"Motor Away" a Guided by Voices cover from "Alien Lanes"
"Son of Jaguar E" from "Ejector Seat Reservation"
"Wrong Treats" from "99th Dream"
"Rave Down" from "Raise"
"Sandblasted" from "Raise"
"Last Train to Satansville" from "Mezcal Head"
"Son of Mustang Ford" from "Raise"

and for their encore they played:

"Girl on a Motorbike" from "Mezcal Head"
"Cars Converge on Paris" from "Last Train to Satansville"
"Duel " from "Mezcal Head"
I hadn't heard a bunch of these songs "live" so it was a real treat to get to hear them.  If you ever get a chance to see them live you really should.  Swervedriver is a band that shouldn't be missed. They continue to be one of my favorite bands of all time - hands down.

Have a great night,

Mark  Harvey
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