Philadelphia band Swearin’ hit Lincoln Hall this past Thursday the 18th in support of the new album Fall Into The Sun, along with fellow Philly rockers Empath. WLUW team members Olivia Cerza, Scott Clancy, and Elise McGannon were there and present to you their account of the evening’s concert:
Philadelphia seems to be a bit of a hotbed lately for noise rock. Bands like Spirit of the Beehive and Mannequin Pussy rip through the City of Brotherly Love and beyond and right up there with them is my favorite Philly band – Empath, who were opener number two for Swearin’. Look up the band on Bandcamp and there isn’t much more than a handful of songs put out on tape that bubble warm, lo-fi bombasts. Among the swirls of noise you can make out moments of melody and hooks played by a band of guitar, drums, and two noisy synths.
The band members have a unique look…they all have the same hair – this sort of crudely cut blonde bang situation with sort of long locks. It’s kind of freaky but it’s also cool – much like their music. In a live setting the songs, a lot of which I didn’t recognize from their two tapes, played with much more of a jangly guitar sound and a little more clarity. The raucous quality wasn’t quite as strong which I think is a trademark to the band though my favorite of their songs – “Scout’s Song” which closed the set, sounded really great, nice and noisy and it makes me happy to see the band moving beyond the basements of Philadelphia.
They’re back! After a 3 year hiatus, Swearin’ has reunited to melt emo hearts all around the world. As their set opened with “Big Change,” the crowd sang along to the lyrics “we are like mutants who found each other by chance through rock-n-roll music.” Crammed into a crowd of both new and old Swearin’ fans, this lyric seemed like a perfect testament to just how vital these music spaces and communities are to all of us mutants. Chicago welcomed Swearin’ back with open arms, as did Lincoln Hall, who, with fancy fun lights and a wonderfully operating air conditioning system, did not disappoint as a venue. Swearin’ bounced between a wonderful blend of both new and old songs, including “Dogpile,” “What a Dump,” and “Kenosha,” a clear crowd favorite. Bandmates Allison Crutchfield, Kyle Gilbride, Jeff Bolt, and newcomer Amanda Bartley flew between songs, sharing smiles with one another just like old days. In classic Swearin’ fashion, Crutchfield and Gilbride passed the mic back and forth between songs, showcasing their foil characteristics in songwriting, one of the most special Swearin’ signatures.
Between Swearin’s set and encore, Crutchfield gifted us with a solo performance of “Anyway” under a spotlight all by her lonesome. And you guessed it, folks, I cried a whole lot! At the core of all of their typically loud songs are simple yet powerful lyrics that’ll just tear your heart apart, and this little moment of stripped down vulnerability that Crutchfield shared with the audience was just the best.
With an encore performance of “Grow Into a Ghost,” their first very first single after announcing their 2018 album Fall Into the Sun, Swearin’ reminded the crowd of the magnitude of this reunion. The energy behind this performance was electric, and as it spilled over the crowd, I couldn’t help but realize how special of a comeback this was to have witnessed.