RAISED BY SWANS with DETECTIVE KALITA and PAUL JAGO at the Rivoli, May 19. Tickets: $6. Attendance: 150. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Smoke machines and blue lights - the combination can't help but bring to mind the cultural phenomenon known as Rock 'N' Bowl. Or maybe a Pink Floyd concert. While blue smoke was abundant at the Rivoli last Thursday, no giant inflatable pigs or glow-in-the-dark gutter balls were evident.
Officially launching their new disc, Codes And Secret Longing, Raised by Swans played to an appreciative Rivoli backroom. After a prompt 9 pm start by the first act, Paul Jago, they came on around 10 - an early hour for any kind of celebration.
The Swans delivered a set of guitar-based rock songs that, while not shoegaze-y, definitely made them want to cast their eyes in all directions but forward. Every song contained atmospheric guitar lines that crescendoed and then gradually petered out. Solid but repetitive drumming emphasized the monotony of the formula.
Bassist Andy Magoffin did his best to keep things interesting with strong bass lines that stayed within their role of anchoring the often spacey leads, while hinting at melody and strong harmonic ideas.
Certainly good at what they do, Raised by Swans came across as a tight, well-rehearsed outfit. However, they never seemed ready or willing to cut loose from their emotionally restrained demeanour and delivery.
Where there are smoke machines, there's dry ice. Not a very inspiring metaphor, eh?
Exactly. Now you're with me.