Are Swans the best live band in the world right now? The band deserved a bigger crowd and a louder sound system, but that didn't stop them from tearing through their 100-minute set with hell-bent intensity. Gira flailed like a scarecrow possessed as he led his five accomplices through classics like "To Be Kind," "Coward," and even "She Loves Us," along with "The Seer," the focal point of the band's triumphant recent album of the same name. There were moments of shimmering beauty as Christoph Hahn bowed his metallophone, Phil Puleo hammered away on further mallet instruments, and the imposing (and, as always, shirtless) Thor Harris banged on a strange, stringed board slung around his neck. Harris is also capable of some of the nastiest clarinet skronk going, conjuring the kind of Medieval decadence we find in Breugel and Bosch. And when they tore into their pile-driving repetitive riffing, you had to wonder if they were all psychic — how else did they know exactly when to stop and start each brutalizing succession of chords? It was as if James Brown were leading Glenn Branca's band through a tortured set of microtonal changes timed according to some secret math equation. At the end of it all, after a heaving finale that sounded like every Swans album played at once, Gira faced his bandmates and led them to one final climax, arms akimbo, face to heaven, fingers writhing like jellyfish. He shouted, for the second time that night, "Viva l'anarchie! Kill the World Bank now!" And then a funny thing happened: As he waved goodbye to us with both hands, like a little boy in a stroller, a smile crept across his face that spread into a ridiculous grin, and he cried, "Amorrrrrrr!" Yes, Michael Gira, taunter of the heavens, harbinger of End Times, the dourest doomsayer in rock and roll, actually looked happy.