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It has finally arrived; Shellac at the Edinburgh Liquid Room. I have been counting down the months and days as to see this band in a club without having to make the yearly pilgrimage to Barcelona Primavera Sound is beyond excitement. The fact that this is a true occasion of momentous proportions due to the lack of coherent touring schedule from the band has meant that good dose of Edinburgh folk are here*.

Possibly due to the fact that the band were competing with the Pixies in Glasgow, attendance figures were not as high as it could have been with the balcony closed off and getting to front left of the stage proving to be no challenge. Despite this, there was no mood damping as the level of anticipation in the room was palpable so me and my partner in crime** with pint in hand settled in to be blown away.

We were not short changed – Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer established their positions on the stage; with the drums being front and centre and without acknowledgment they stormed into ‘Canada’ from debut album ‘At Action Park’. The powerhouse continued on with ‘My Black Ass’ and promptly settled into ‘A Minute’, leading to quite the audience participation in the first few rows.

What followed was an evening where all the boxes were ticked. Couple of “new tracks”, taking questions from the audience, playing tracks from every album, and their quintessential choreographed moves displaying that the band is not without their humour***. The crowd throughout lapped it up on the whole though some did prove inpatient when Bob got into a conversation about the resignation of Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and the possible affect that this will have on the public transportation in the city. This led one audience member to tell them to move on, with Bob stating to them “Shut the fuck up dude! I’m talking to this guy”.

With the opening notes of ‘Squirrel Song’ causing recognition and exaltation the band continued on leading to the big hit**** ‘Prayer to God’ threatening to lead to the first instance of a united sing along this evening. The time left was cut short  due to this being a Friday night and the club needing to prepare for all the dancing stuff but thankfully we were treated by the band playing a masterful rendition of ‘Wing Walker’,  before ‘End of Radio’ and the incoherent but exhilarating ‘Spoke’ finished things off.

And that was that… the end. Everyone was happy while those dedicated few were off to see them again in Glasgow the next evening*****. Giddy and content I thought to myself that I will definitely be there when they decide to tour here again in about 10 years’ time.

*Seriously I bumped into so many people I know at this.

**She is the popular writer on this blog 😉

***Like that needs to be proven, all their songs are about Canada and Baseball.

****I believe that would be called sarcasm.

*****Guilty.

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Stars in their eyes.

Stars in their eyes.

How the hell are all of them gonna fit on that stage? Was my initial thought* upon the announcement that Swans would be gracing the Edinburgh Liquid Room with its presence**.  This of course had to be seen, and the prospect of seeing Swans (again) within a short bus ride from my flat meant there was no excuse not to go!

As I entered the venue, support act Buke & Gase had just started their set; the duo graced an enthralled audience enthralled audience with tracks from their new record ‘General Dome’ which were greeted by a good dose of applause after each execution. The fucked up, electric, folk, blender of tunes really found an audience here and they really were just the shit! Hopefully they shall grace these shores in future***.

What we were presented with once Swans began to play was… just noise… but what a noise! These guys have made a racket into an art form and they continued to so this evening. Michael Gira, the maniacal conductor of his posse, treated the audience to a nightmare of aural punishment and everyone was happy and all the better for it.

I know what you're thinking...

I know what you’re thinking…

During ‘To be Kind’ one could be forgiven that they were listening to a hymn from a dark arts choir, Gira’s voice had the audience in rapture throughout as the title was repeated over and over again. The only part of the evening that presented itself with audience foot moves was the driving rhythms of ‘Just a Little Boy’ before ‘The Seer’ went back to the norm i.e. musical meltdown****.

Respite was offered to the audience by way of stating “the disco will be starting soon” signalling the fact the venue would be closing things down shortly for the entertainment***** later in its schedule. Gira surprisingly went on to tell a tour anecdote of the band playing at a disco in Berlin several years ago, but before you think the man has gone soft, it ended in a fountain of vomit.

Upon leaving the stage, the audience were so enamoured with these gents that this led to a bow from the entire band three times before they were allowed to leave by those in attendance. My body felt like it had been working its ass off throughout the show and my mind felt rattled******, not something you normally get from a music concert but this really felt like something greater than that.

*It wasn’t really, I just thought that would make a better opening to this review, my initial thought was “Fucking Tidy!” and then it was probably “How much is it?” and then… it was probably about my 4th or 5th thought.

**A nice antidote to the thousands of comedians and art school theatre groups roaming the streets in Edinburgh at this time of year.

***I know, me, catching a support act! I fucking love gigs close to home.

****Who cares what song it was, I could barely remember once I left.

*****I sat entertainment but…

******Seriously, I felt exhausted.