PRESS » The Glowing Man

  • The Steinberg Principle ORAN MOR Concert Review

    () - concert, live, M. Gira, Michael Gira, review, SWANS, The Glowing Man, young god

    SWANS – ORAN MOR, GLASGOW, TUESDAY 11TH OCTOBER 2016. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything on this blog.  It was always going to take something special to bring me back to writing.  That something special happened this week amidst one of the most challenging weeks of my life.  Without going in to details, my wife and I have had to deal with legal proceedings against her, that attempt to portray the pair of us as unstable, controlling and unfit parents.  It’s been hugely upsetting for us and for my 11 year old step daughter who it also impacts upon.  However, in the mist and darkness of all of it something has shone through.  Michelle Obama said it best when she said “When they go low, we go high”.  And so we have.  After the tears stopped and calm returned, one thing was clear.  We would not be the losers in this whole ordeal.  No, we’d be closer than ever and grow stronger than before. In the case of my step daughter and I, this strengthening of bond has been through music and an unlikely source if ever there was one: Swans.  This time last week, she told me their......

  • Rave Child ÒRAN MÓR Concert Review

    () - concert, live, M. Gira, Michael Gira, review, SWANS, The Glowing Man, young god

    SWANS AT ÒRAN MÓR, 11/10/16 OCTOBER 25, 2016 RAVECHILD LEAVE A COMMENT Reviewing Swans in the traditional sense is a difficult task. The music of Michael Gira’s celebrated American ensemble seems not so much to resist description as to exist in a place so totally beyond description itself that words are incapable of encapsulating the experience. Watching them on what may well be their last ever tour, I realise just how far the standard journalistic tidbits – ‘visceral’, ‘raw’, or ’abrasive’ – fall short, seeming trite in comparison to the reality of the band’s performance. The idea of the concert as religious experience springs quickly to mind: another cliché deployed too liberally, it is nonetheless the closest I can come to summing up Swans live. As the band commence their set with tracks from later records The Seer and To Be Kind, the crowd sways back and forth as one enraptured mass – no phones, no drunken patter – keeping time with…what? It appears to be some primal force other than the music, shuddering and arrhythmic as that often is. Frontman Gira gesticulates wildly with arms and hands; a mad preacher on the streets of a burning Rome. His voice – which, given......

  • London In Stereo Islington Assembly Hall Concert Review

    () - concert, live, M. Gira, Michael Gira, review, SWANS, The Glowing Man, young god

    SWANS // LIVE REVIEW By GRANT BAILEY - NOVEMBER 2, 2016 Islington Assembly Hall – 13 October  A Swans show is never a sure thing. Michael Gira’s drone machine has been rolling for over 35 years (excusing that lengthy hiatus) and in that time we’ve bared witness to the peaks and troughs of quality the band are capable of. On one hand they have the benefit of time and experience to hone their craft, but on the other the ever-shifting line-up of Swans backline always introduces an element of change and uncertainty. Tonight however the band are tight, almost to a fault. Michael is his totemic himself, the Jekyll and Hyde figure, at once the welcoming auteur and the char-hearted grandfather of experimental doom. This is not a gig for a first date. Confrontational in its volume, wilfully inaccessible in its content, you could comfortably call Swans’ live presence pretentious. But this is hardly a criticism. Swans have earned it, and as they continue their death march through ‘Cloud Of Forgetting’, submission to the brutal force of it is necessary. The drone is rich, the build indulgently heavy-footed. By contrast, To Be Kind’s ‘Screen Shot’ is playful and pacey, with......

  • Trebuchet Islington Assembly Concert Review

    () - M. Gira, Michael Gira, SWANS, The Glowing Man, young god

    Swans give one of those performances that must be seen before you die and they never disappoint. Latest release The Glowing Man purports to be the final release by this incarnation of Swans, and with this tour being the last chance for fans to take part in an incredible run of albums and performances, it was always going to be special. For readers unfamiliar with live Swans their music uses sound as a transformative tool: excessive volume, repetition, evangelical fervour, it exists at a physical level that vibrates your whole body. It’s not that audiences have to be merely interested; stamina is required, you must be mentally limber. Support act Anna Von Hausswolf gave a winning performance, mixing Bulgarian Women’s choir vocals with industrial drone to scintillating effect. Converting most of the audience, her as yet unrecorded closing number blew the roof off the crowd and I must see her perform again. As the band took the stage, with some disappointment we saw that percussionist Thor Harris wasn’t present for this tour. His parts were played on keyboards. Was there a falling out? Was this a concession to touring costs? After all, it must be pricey to travel with tubular......

  • Graffiti Punctuated Review of Swans' 10/13/16 London

    () - M. Gira, SWANS, The Glowing Man, young god

    SWANS: THE MAN WHO REFUSED TO BE UNHAPPY OCTOBER 18, 2016 NILS VAN DER LINDEN Swans | Islington Assembly Hall | 13 October 2016 This is the end. The current Swans line-up are hitting the road one last time. But, as always, it’s on their own terms. So, no nostalgia, no pandering, no greatest hits. Instead, the New York noise gods are bidding farewell – for now – with thunderous performances showcasing not just their sublime new album, ‘The Glowing Man’, but also music so new it’s not yet been committed to tape.  Like set opener ‘The Knot’. An evolution of 2010’s ‘No Words No Thoughts’, it begins as an ambient bed of string and keyboard textures, with frontman Michael Gira – back turned to the audience – initially holding back the tide, leading his band through the steady rise in volume, intensity, and tension. The anticipation swells, and there’s a palpable sense of emotional release when the wave finally crashes in a crescendo of guitars, drumming, and Gira’s increasingly animated gestures. The comedown is equally gradual and, punctuated by the frontman’s baritone vocals, no less powerful, a masterclass in the time-warping effect of repetition. So too is the urgent......

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