Thursday, March 03, 2011

SWANS and Wooden Wand, Regency Ballroom, SF - March 1, 2011

Wooden Wand were 3 guitarists doing electric folk blues. They, unfortunately, suffered from being NOT SWANS. Seriously, though, they were pretty good (though my friend thought they really needed a drummer). I think under different circumstances I'll like them quite a bit more. I just kicked down some money for their new record on Kickstarter -

around 9:15 or so, the percussionist came out and turned a drone machine of some kind. Keep in mind, the house lights and pre-show music were still going. After about another 10-15 minutes, the steel guitarist came out and switched on a drone machine. Then, the drummer came out and started noodling on a glockenspeil (possibly...couldn't quite see). Then the percussionist came back out and started playing the orchestra bells. Then, Mr. steel guy and Mr. bass guy came out (I forget which came first) and started noodling, rumbling, and feeding back. At times I thought we were having an earthquake. Then out come Michael Gira and Norman Westberg to much applause. Then they started an almost groovey jam with many James Brown-esque "hit me x times" breakdowns...
Finally, they stopped. Then, around 10:00 or a little after, the first "proper" song started!
And it just got better.
I'm not familiar enough with the new album's song titles yet, but most of it was played - I recognized "Jim", "Little Mouth" (which was the encore), and the live arrangement of "Eden Prison". A particularly intense (but slightly too fast for my tastes) rendition of "Sex, God, Sex" was the highlight for me. All in all, they played about 2 1/2 hours.
Time well spent.
And Michael Gira came out to chat with people and sign stuff at the merch table. Seems quite nice. He chuckled when I told him my first exposure to Swans was the New Mind video on MTV back in 88 or whenever...
Memorable MG quotes (paraphrased):
"We don't do that agression stuff anymore. Now it's all peace and love! So FUCK YOU, CUNT HOLES!!... (laughter)...My band is often appalled to be up on stage with me."
"I love San Francisco...I came here in '78 to audition for Flipper. I didn't get the job."

(not my video - but it's the best quality video I could find, thus far)
Little Mouth (Encore)

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