Swim Deep: Live at Academy 2 – Review

This was originally published on Goldenplec.com

With a handful of singles and an album due in May, Birmingham’s Swim Deep made their way to Academy 2 on March 1st, for their debut Irish performance. The indie dream pop quartet have been steadily building a following in their native land, that seems to have spilled over to Ireland as a predominately teen audience waited in rows along the front of the stage.

First off though, were Fallen Rule, a four piece from Dublin, who themselves, have an album ready for release later this month. They put in a solid performance, with lead singer and guitarist, Scott Glennon, giving a little Liam G attitude and at one point, seemingly having a staring match with his microphone. He is forgiven though as he occasionally plays his guitar with a violin bow. Although the audience are there for Swim Deep, Fallen Rule do an excellent job of converting assembled and following a stage/audience chat, dedicated ‘Understand’ to a member of the front row. Fallen Rule set the stage well for the night, with a rock sound with folk and prog infusions and layered vocals, the album should be interesting.

Before Swim Deep touch their instruments, the four piece with their keyboard player, Johnny, take part in a pre gig hands in ritual. Going by the cheers from the audience, they are looking forward to the performance. Solid danceable beats with swirly guitar sounds fill the venue and leave us caught somewhere between the hippydom of the late sixties and showgazing sounds to get lost in.

B-Town’s finest do more than just stare at their effects pedals though and the audience react in unision to every rise and fall in their music, from standing still to jumping, hands in the air in an euphoric state.

Naturally, the singles immediately stand out from the set, with the bass line from ‘Honey’, shaking the venue to it’s foundations. There’s not a whole lot of talk between songs, the well rehearsed band going straight from one track to the next. The first notes of current single, ‘The Sea’, is greeted by shreiks from the audience. A seemingly slower start than the recorded version until the vocals kick in and the tempo picks up. A drum solo from Zach Robinson gets an extra cheer and cleverly kicks into the where the vocal hook is sung by Austin Williams. Alongside the band’s instrumentation, Williams’ voice makes them memorable with his ‘devil may care’ delivery. The audience love this track and going on their reaction could be one of the tracks of the year.

For a young band, they are on the right path to get converts to their sound and as they progress the standouts in their set will no doubt grow. Unfortunately knowledge of their bluesy Led Zeppelin cover ‘Down By The Seaside’ seems to have been lost on the audience, perhaps as it has slower tempoed intro to their own material.

As Swim Deep are about to end the evening with ‘King City’, Williams addresses the crowd saying ‘it could have been sh1t but you made it great.’ As the pounding drum beat of the track takes hold, a member of the audience takes the step forward onto the stage to dance with the band and shake their tambourine. Her innocent movements herald an onslaught of dancers and stage invaders and in seconds there are more audience members than band members onstage. This unfortunately but understandably cut ‘King City’ short as microphone stands were toppled and from clicks on the PA, it sounded like cables had been pulled.

Enter security and band crew to clear the stage. Williams takes to the mic and seems quite baffled by what just happened but declares that they’ve ‘started it so I guess we’ll finish it’. The band get a second attempt and get through ‘King City’ in full this time before the band thank the audience and leave the stage. As they do so, the band are engulfed by the female portion of the audience.

A good night’s entertainment and with this being Swim Deep’s first headline tour, a really jump off point. A Friday night, good music and stage invasions, rock n’roll eh? What more could you want.