Shit!, I said, all chips on the table! . Before Swans took the stage, on board the ship at anchor, watching the purplish clouds, we talked or held our breath in reverence, and to get the best night out of sweet smoke, because if there’s a time to tune in – this must it. And let me make this a disclaimer: maybe I was tuned in too much; my shoes smell like a pair of rats; I often badly miss contact at shows where everyone is facing the stage, like an altar; and most relevantly, I hadn’t got into their reunion albums deep enough.

Swans really hurt, ears and heart, by their sheer volume. The ship A38 is famed for its excellent sound, but, strangely, Gira’s sonorities got trapped in the mix – coming loud and clear, but without the depth to his voice. Count crashes to 22 – a lighthook poises! or some such intermission. Huge blocks – a bit short of details -. cold shiny storm of steel, bluesy downcast drudge, and in the center: immediacy. They bared themselves – were hypnotic, to be kind – or focused beyond bias. Earplugs came with entry, but using them would have felt like betrayal.

Levels of experience (and how they lapsed):
shimmering transfusion swept legs, twitched back and back, off with poses at the joints, I was shaking + the sense of being in the moment (but noone really broke loose)-> communal
release and abandon -> surfing, fun in the sun ( more fun fun fun!) -> magic (a few waves) -> [magical] fairy tale (alas,only a few moments of that…you know, mythic reenactment – but maybe I went to the wrong show)

It was great, it was real, it promised rapture, maybe companionship, but I didn’t totally get it.

Back in the streets, I stopped by an old man playing a woodbox guitar and singing just beautifully to it. Bucolic songs,ballads – almost myths. Thank you, Swans! Thank you, Mr Péter Lóczi!


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