This past weekend, the celebrated experimental rock group, Swans, performed their final set of shows under their current lineup. In May, the band announced that they would be playing their final shows together, before going their separate ways. The split was a amicable group decision: they felt the time was come to explore different directions in music. The band will continue as an entirely new lineup except for lead vocalist, Michael Gira, who will continue to lead the new group.
The band was initially created by Gira in 1982. Gira contributed guitar work, vocals and wrote songs for the early group. As members constantly came and went, Gira continued to experiment and develop the band. However, in 1997 Gira announced the dissolution of the entire band. Like Ross and Rachel, the band bounced back from their “break,” and were revitalized eight years later under Gira’s leadership and with a new lineup consisting of Norman Westberg (guitar), Kristof Hahn (guitar), Phil Puelo (drums), Christopher Pravdica (bass) and Thor Harris (drums). Since then, the lineup has stayed consistent.
The shows were held at Warsaw in Brooklyn New York from November 2nd to November 4th. The band specifically chose to end things in New York since that is where they first began. The band was joined by Carla Bozulich on the 2nd, Anna Von HaussWolff on the 3rd and ADULT on the 4th. The tour focused on songs from their latest album, The Glowing Man, which was released in the summer of 2016.
Swans may never feature the same lineup again, but Gira will continue to make new music under the same moniker. In a statement on the Young Gods Record site, Gira said, “I have little idea what shape the sound will take, which is a good thing.” Gira’s dedication to his musical child remains steady and unwavering. While the music is sure to take a different direction, the undercurrent of musical and lyrical brutality is sure to remain.
photo credit: Raymond Flotat