It’s hard to think of what things to have occurred in St. Louis since Swans played the city last. It’s been over twenty years, and the band has had just as many ups and downs as screwy St. Louie, yet both are currently on an upswing. The venue they played, First Rock, was a fixture of the Laclede’s Landing area, which I’m sure looked nothing like how it does now aside from the old brick buildings. Now it’s a tourist trap with some good food, frat boyish nightclubs and… a magic shop. Hardly the center of local and national music that it was all those years ago.
I was also something like 3 years old at the time.
How was the show? Intense, loud, and spectacular. Folks were psyched, obviously. Though, it wasn’t uncommon for people to go outside to get away from it, even just for 10 or so minutes. There were definitely some old heads outside saying things along the lines of “This is one of my favorite bands, but I’m getting too old for this shit.” and people taking quiet, reserved smoke breaks.
There was also a 49 minute song, apparently. The distinctions of when one song ended and another began definitely went over my head, even though it wasn’t too far uncommon to be watching Michael Gira lead his band like the head of a jazz improv outfit and become transfixed and slightly overwhelmed in a fashion not unlike an intense meditation session. Which is pretty interesting considering that such a sensation is typically reported by the musicians performing, not those observing.
So, yeah. It was rad. I hope these crazy dudes come back soon.
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