Monday, June 09, 2008
Swervedriver at the Henry Fonda Theater
My show options for Saturday were mind boggling. Some of the choices included The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl or I could hang out with my brother at Iron Maiden. I opted for the sonic bliss of Swervedriver, Film School and Xu Xu Fang. I was already sad that I missed the Swervedriver Casbah show but was ready for a sonic blast at the Henry Fonda Theater.
Xu Xu Fang
Xu Xu Fang have been on my radar for quite sometime but I have always managed to miss their shows due to conflicts. This was quite the introduction to the world of Xu Xu Fang as they filled up the stage with their dense sheets of noise along with billowing smoke. Xu Xu Fang crowded the stage with their trio of guitarists as they doled out portions of fuzzy guitars splattered against atmospheric keyboards. Xu Xu Fang played some selections from their EP The Mourning Son. "The Mourning Son" heavily droned as light Rhodes keyboard notes sprinkled across the song like chocolate sprinkles on a rich chocolate cake. "Good Times Have Gone Away" was a guitar tour de force that partially recalled My Bloody Valentine with an injection of The Velvet Underground. Xu Xu Fang will be at the Viper Room on June 16th with the Human Value and it will be intense.
Film School never sounded better. I think anyone who was in attendance would agree that the Henry Fonda was dialed in as the auditory clarity for Film School was top notch. The icy chill of the keyboards from Jason Ruck paired with James Smith's steady drumming knocked out any audience members who were unaware of the sonic storm that Film School churns out. "Compare" and "Lectric" were some of the many highlights of their set with a severe knockout punch administered in the form of "He's A Deep Deep Lake". Greg Bertens (Vocals/Guitars) was wildly swinging his Fender Guitar around the stage as Dave Dupuis (Guitars) was enjoying the large stage area by jumping around. Film School did a triumphant wave to the crowd at the end of their set and smiled knowing they knocked it out of the park.
Adam Franklin blew me away when I caught his solo show at the Echo in July of 2007. I never thought I would get the chance to see a full blown Swervedriver reunion as they used to tour with one of my all time favorite bands Hum.
Swervedriver quickly announced their presence with a blazing version of "Sci-Flyer" right out of the gates. Adam Franklin (Vocals/Guitars) was deftly using his tremolo arm for the dreamy notes as Jimmy Hartridge (Guitars) added his thick guitar work to the mix as Jez Hindmarsch (Drums) furiously pounded away. It had seemed like Swervedriver had never left. The ripping guitars didn't stop as they demolished "Sandblasted" from their album Raise. It was pure sonic ear candy. I had a feeling that the majority of the audience as full of musicians and guitar worshipers. Steve George (Bass) was anchoring the low end with his Fender Jazz Bass as Adam and Jimmy frequently switched guitars all night. As much as I wanted to believe that Adam had a dense rack mounted setup for his guitar rig, I spotted only a few Boss pedals and a Matchless amplifier. I hate to believe it but guitar tone lies in the hands of the guitar player.
"Duel" was another sonic romp with injected nitrogen into the already speeding set from Swervedriver. I was extremely thankful for being at the Henry Fonda at this point and was quickly reaffirmed that I had made the right decision. It was literal sonic heaven as Swervedriver tackled "Girl On A Motorbike" and "Rave Down". The ante was upped with a show stopping version of "Duress" and the closing coda of "Last Train To Satansville". Thank you Swervedriver. Thank you very much.