Review – SWMRS return to the UK for their second world tour reviving the much loved Punk spirit
Any avid members of the punk music community will be aware of the sensational energy of American band, SWMRS. Following their recently released album, Berkley’s On Fire, the band have exploded back onto the live music scene with their second world tour – hitting the Birmingham O2 Institute on Monday night. SWMRS were accompanied by Liverpool’s own Zuzu and brought Destroy Boys with them from across the pond.
The night began with the garage rock of female fronted Destroy Boys, bringing an angsty romantic feel to the stage which had no lack in energy as the lead singer, Alexia Roditis, jumped into the pit – reaching over the barrier to sing intimately to an excited audience. Following the rocky vibe brought by the opening act, Zuzu took to the stage as a burst of cheers exploded in the crowd. This set brought something unique to the expectation for an opener for SWMRS through her soft indie riffs, maintaining a heavy soul about her with her British humour and evidential excitement to be on stage.
The clock hit 9:40 and the audience began to stir as the lights dimmed – Steve Got Robbed playing on the speaker as SWMRS ran onto stage with their equipment, lastly followed by lead singer Cole Becker. The band ripped into Trashbag Baby, the audience immediately screaming at the familiarity of the first chord of the song – this energy being imitated by the members on stage, particularly the Becker brothers (Cole and Max). This energy never seemed to end as Cole threw himself back and forth in an almost psychedelic manner, encouraging fans to join him in an act of not caring about what others think of you.
Mosh pits broke out within a matter of seconds, people throwing each other up into the air to crowd surf towards and over the front barrier right behind us as we photographed the band – immersing everyone in the atmosphere of the gig. Despite the wild energy of the audience, the band made safety a priority as they laid out a set of rules for the crowd through the addressing of sexual harassment at gigs, imitating their own lyric “protect you from these slobs” (Berkley’s On Fire). It was the first time I had experienced this intense feeling of being looked after by a band who truly cared for creating a welcoming environment.
The night was an incredible atmosphere of extreme energy and passion through the alternative rock and punk anthems being screamed out by talented vocalists, accompanied with raw and heavy instrumentals that left the audience wanting more.
Written by Ruby Nixon. Photography by Joana Cesar.