Swervedriver | 3.18.2015

Swervedriver 75The set was a great mix of fan favorites, a few deep cuts, and a few of the new ones.

Swervedriver 500

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis

Tours from bands that haven’t recorded together in a long time sometimes can be scary. Some acts do it because they need the money and end up sounding like shit. Others do it to relive past glories… and still end up sounding like shit. And still, others do it because they love music—theirs particularly—but end up sounding pretty great. Thank heavens the reformed Swervedriver fall into that last camp.

This didn’t feel like a trip down memory lane show, and the band was up there clowning around. They were serious about their performance, which was great. Having faced the rigors of extensive touring in the 90’s, Swervedriver took what was expected to be an indefinite hiatus after 1998’s underappreciated “99th Dream.” The band went their separate ways, some continuing on in music others in different industries. They reconvened in 2007 and embarked on several tours and key festival gigs over the next few years.

In 2014 they went into the studio and recorded the recently released “I Wasn’t Born to Lose You,” which is a fantastic album and highly recommended. So that briefly takes us to their stop off in St. Louis at Blueberry Hill’s small Duck Room.

Let us just get this out of the way—it was a very loud show. It would have been a very loud show even in a larger venue than the Duck Room. Volume notwithstanding, they sounded excellent and cohesive as a group, despite long time bassist Steve George not touring with them. They did make an excellent choice in Mike Quinn formally of Supergrass.

They didn’t play or sound like a band whose heyday was during the Clinton administration. They were into their set and were pushing to give everyone their best effort—and it showed. They were genuinely happy with the turnout and reaction from the crowd. It was a good sized crowd, not super packed, but way more than expected.

Their current drummer, Mikey Jones, may be one of the hardest hitting drummers out there. Period. He was quite skilled but just pounded his toms with us fans in the audience within an inch of their lives. It was pretty great to watch actually as he was doing it without a strain on his face. Both he and Mike Quinn through the night kept looking at each other to make sure they were in sync, which again shows a sign they are serious about this. The guitar work from band lead Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge was quite good as well. Both were able to capture the duel interplay, the massive sound and sometimes shimmering effects from their albums and translate them into an enjoyable live setting. Adam Franklin’s vocals sounded just as good as they did 20 years ago.

The set was a great mix of fan favorites, a few deep cuts, and a few of the new ones. The audience immediately reacted to each song with adoration. All in all, people got everything they wanted and way more. Top notch show. Oh, but did I mention it was loud? | Mike Koehler

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