Swans were not a band I was into first time around, but I allowed myself to be talked into going by photographer, Neil Bailey, who was. Having listened to some of their older materials and their new material thanks to YouTube, I was pleasantly surprised and looking forward to the evening. Little was I to know that their live material would bear only a passing resemblance to the recordings.

With Neil off down the front taking pictures, I stood listening to their first number – 'No Words No Thoughts'. There were lots of drones and tubular bells for what seemed like a life time, a life time spent in some kind of prog rock hell. Still, I thought, it might get better – this is the one I didn’t like much on the YouTube clips. The others were much more my kind of music.

Which just goes to prove how very wrong your long suffering reviewer can be. Surrounded by people enjoying the music, I spent a further 40 minutes listening to barely recognisable tracks interspersed between self-indulgent, prog styled twiddling and guitars. At one point front man Michael Gira says “Thank you Leeds” and I fervently wish one of us was in Leeds. I am afraid to say that my professionalism drained away and I left even before they stopped for the encore, so I have no idea if they even did one.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken for Pennyblackmusic by Neil Bailey.

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Commenting On: Academy, Manchester, 30/10/2010 - Swans

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19412 Posted By: Myshkin (London)

What?? The Swans go prog rock? Please tell me the band that used to be ferocious live and had songs called 'Raping a Slave' and other such clearly chart-bound toe-tapping ditties haven't turned, well, crap. Mr Gira what on earth were you thinking? And nice to see you having your Spinal Tap moment with your 'Leeds' comment.

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