Imagine being trapped inside a tiny unit at a self-storage building that is on fire. You are trapped inside this 5×8 corrugated metal coffin and it is filling with smoke. Imagine yourself panicking, pounding on the walls, walls that keep getting hotter and hotter. You are roasting. Your sweat stings your eyes and soaks through your clothes. Now hear your own cries for help bouncing off of the burning walls, listen as the echoes turn into screams. Welcome to the existential terror that is seeing SWANS in concert.
Michael Gira, the spiritual leader of the group, has pulled together a new aural torture squad under the SWANS moniker after nearly 13 years of inactivity. SWANS are legends of the New York, post-No Wave, noise-rock scene. Gira used the group to explore a broad range of psychological torment music during their original run from ’82 to ’97. Rumors had been circulating the web for about a year that Gira was putting together a new SWANS line-up and album. By the Spring, we had confirmation in the form of some demo recordings appearing on his various websites. Last month SWANS released a very strong new album entitled “My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky”. On Wednesday night, at the Black Cat, Michael Gira and his SWANS performed their second concert of the 2010 reactivation tour. It was an experiment in terror that the crowd of devout fans and the sonically curious happily subjected themselves too.