Show Review: Swervedriver @ The Sinclair 9.6.15

by Amanda Hoover (Journalism), published September 25th 2015

photos by Ben Stas (Journalism/English)

Swervedriver pictured at The Sinclair earlier this year

Swervedriver pictured at The Sinclair earlier this year

Above: Swervedriver pictured at The Sinclair in March

The Sinclair hosted a half-full crowd on September 6th for Swervedriver, a 25-year-old British band that became known for their shoegaze sound in the ‘90s. The group, who reunited in 2008 after a decade-long hiatus, brought their latest tour in support of the 2015 album I Wasn’t Born to Lose You to Harvard Square on a sleepy Sunday evening.

Swervedriver opened the set with “Autodidact” from their latest album, which is their first in more than 15 years. The swirling guitars and dazed riffs were a fitting reintroduction to the band. Throughout the night, lyrics were buried beneath the classic grunge and shoegaze hybrid mix on which the band has built their career. The mix of steady rhythms, intricate guitar riffs and distorted chords brought listeners into a relaxed sort of trance–an impressive feat for a band whose work is so loud.

The next selection, “For Seeking Heat,” was a classic and came off with more aggression and distortion. The growling guitars transported the audience back to Swervedriver’s iconic sound that placed them with other acts in the ‘90s, but still fit seamlessly following their newer songs and style.

That pattern continued throughout the set, with the newer, subdued songs like “Setting Sun” that were more pop-punk weaving together through classic, grungier hits like “MM Abduction.” While shifting between the two modes, they maintained a machine-like precision, the guitars and riffs swirling together in a certain calculated disorder that links their two decades of work together.

Aside from two classic choices in the encore, “Duel” and “Last Train to Satansville,” that got veteran fans in the audience singing along, most audience engagement is minimal–that’s not the point of a Swervedriver show. It’s also not about high energy and stage antics. Instead, it’s a chance to step back, listen in and enjoy the organized chaos behind their sound.


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