Live Review, 9/10/12: Swans Reclaim No Wave from Hipsters at Regency Ballroom


Monday, Sept. 10, 2012

Regency Ballroom

Better than: Going deaf naturally.

You should know one thing in advance: A Swans show is not designed for your passive entertainment. In fact, it's less a concert than it is an endurance rally. They'd rather pummel you than please you — and may the gods help you if you forgot your earplugs.

The recently reignited band — originally formed in the early-'80s wake of the New York anti-movement known as No Wave — may have gotten accolades from NPR for its expansive new double album, The Seer, but there's no AM radio lite rock to be found at a Swans concert. Tonight's performance was a two-hour marathon of heavy monochord stomps, machine-screech crescendoes, and mega-volume freakouts so loud that the Regency's PA system was quite frankly insufficient for the task. It was nothing if not powerfully, painfully loud.

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