Swale February 25, 2012 At Radio Bean
Words by Tim Lewis.
I got out of work at 5:30, so there was plenty of time to go home, eat dinner, watch most of What the Bleep Do We Know with one of the roommates, before getting ready to go see Swale. On went the crystal earring, on went the black, and out the door I went.
It was a chilly February evening, but nowhere near as cold as it could be. The walk downtown was a bit icy, but it was the kind of broken ice that is still good walking. None of the glare stuff. When I arrived, Amanda, Eric, and Jeremy were walking out and said hi. They asked if I was staying for the show, and I assured them, that was why I was there. While they went to get their gear, I entered the lightly full coffee shop, and made my way to the back to get a drink. All of the tables and counter were full, but there was no one standing around, so there was plenty of space to hang out. Erin Powers was onstage singing and playing the last song of her set on acoustic guitar. She sang a song about being a warrior woman that was cool, but didn’t set me on fire. That was still to come.
Swale took a while to get set up and to get the sound right, but about 9:15 they started to play a very slow countryish song. It was very mellow, in the way Swale sometimes can be, but though I don’t know the song well, I had a feeling… Yup, that is the new one that just builds and builds and by the end the room was full of music. They followed with a fast indie rocker, and I just knew by the end of the evening, the room was going to be blown away.
As the set unfolded they played a bunch of new songs and a few classics. The song about the nines rocked hard. Good Medicine was wistfully slow and Floydy, until the break, where Amanda counted out 1, 2, 3 and they launched into a guitar overdrive end section. They asked for requests, and someone asked for an old Wide Wail song, the one about taking off all my clothes. They consulted, showed Eric the chord progressions, and played a blistering All My Life. It was a pretty good version, with one section barely holding on, but the How Many of you will it take You to Do It section rocking hard. Eric said it was fun and they may have to do it more often. With a little practice, woo hoo the future bodes well!!
They tossed in a rousing cover of the Black Eyed Peas song I’ve got a Feeling. They slowed it down for the Middlesex song, but rocked it hard to close. They closed with the War Pigs mashup with whatever the Jay-Z song they mix it into. It was fun as always. Generals gathered in their masses, Get out the way bitch, get out the way, just like witches at black masses. You know, stuff like that.
The audience, which had been slowly filling the room all evening, and not leaving, wanted one more. They said they had no right to do this cover, again I have no idea what it was, but pulled out a beautiful rocker. It was fast and heavy and got faster and faster. My head was bobbing and my hair was swinging. It was beautiful.
The room felt like a vacuum when it was done. Like something incredible was happening, then just wasn’t any more. They filled the room with fire and sound for an hour or so, and then it was gone. Live music is so cool. It exists just for that moment in time, whatever time and moments are. One thing I can say for sure, every moment spent with Swale last night, was a moment of pure beauty.
This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.