I think I’ve seen that phrase used to describe music before. Here and there. Usually flippantly, or pejoratively. I don’t know. But last night I saw Swans in concert, and I understood the phrase more deeply than I ever thought possible.
Certainly, part of that comes down to the simple fact that I don’t think I’ve ever been to a concert that was so fucking loud before. I’ve been to plenty of house shows, where there aren’t rules about noise ordinance and you’ve got walls of sound in your face. This was incomparable.
I’ve read about how loud My Bloody Valentine shows get, and while I’m pretty sure this show was nowhere near that loud, I think I’m starting to get the picture. That guttural feeling of movement. Like the Earth is meaningless. You float on pain. And all this from six dudes, most of whom look like they’re over 50. Wiping the floor with the kids.
After the rare breaks between songs, the crowd would clap and hoot and hollar. So did I, but it felt wrong. Like we weren’t supposed to. What we were watching/hearing was beyond a ‘set of songs being played.’ It was an exorcism. It was amazing.