Boston lo-fi shoegazers Swirlies have been an on-again-off-again project in recent times, surfacing briefly every few years and then disappearing again. They’ve gone through a number of line-up changes over the years, and their last studio album release was over a decade ago. Yet the band has never quite stopped, and this month they have embarked on another short run of shows to celebrate their 25th year with their “Silver Ostrich Anniversary” tour. On Monday night, they brought their noisy, often dissonant indie rock to the Black Cat Backstage.
For this tour, band constants Damon Tutunjian (vocals/guitar), Andy Bernick (bass/keyboards), and Adam Pierce (drums) were joined by founding member Seana Carmody (vocals/guitar) and new member Elliott Malvas (guitar/keyboards). The band’s sound is one of controlled chaos, in which they somehow manage to simultaneously sound both incredibly tight and like they could fall apart at any moment.
The 11-song setlist for the night was drawn primarily from two albums, 1993’s Blonder Tongue Audio Baton (“Bell,” “Vigilant Always,” “Wrong Tube,” “Wait Forever,” and fan-favorite “Jeremy Parker”) and 1996’s They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons (“Two Girls Kissing,” “Sounds of Sebring,” “In Harmony New Found Freedom,” “The Vehicle Is Invisible,” and “San Cristobal de las Casas”), along with “Le Bag,” from 2003’s Cats of the Wild: Volume 2. Though the show was dragged down a bit by some abnormally long tuning and setup times between songs (made all the more obvious when the between-song recordings of comedy and sound collage meant to cover the gaps awkwardly ran out before the show did), the band proved that a quarter century hasn’t dulled their edge.
Local indie rockers Big Hush opened the show with their own take on the shoegaze genre.
All photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.