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Swans – The Great Annihilator / Michael Gira – Drainland

Young God (Americas) / Mute (Europe)

Swans - The Great AnnihilatorWith the latest phase of Michael Gira‘s Swans project drawing to a close, the bundled and remastered edition of The Great Annihilator and Gira’s solo album Drainland could hardly have come at a better time for new converts who are interested in learning about the band’s history.

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Michael Gira / Thurston Moore / Laura Cannell (live at Saisonscape)

The Barbican, London 30 March 2016

Saisonscape March 2016Spring is sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder what this thing at The Barbican is? Well wonder no more; it’s called Saisonscape, and it’s a series of concerts which have been organised by Art Assembly‘s Julia Dempsey to celebrate the idea of growth, renewal and the creation of new life in an artistic context. That all sounds quite heavy, but for tonight’s concert she’s chosen musicians who play set pieces but allow themselves room for improvisation to illustrate the theme.

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Michael Gira/Ulan Bator (live at les Abattoirs)

Bourgoin-Jallieu 1 March 2014

Ulan Bator live at les Abattoirs 1 March 2014Tonight’s show at les Abattoirs provides a chance for Michael Gira to share a stage with Ulan Bator, a band he worked with on the Ego:Echo album in 2000. The venue is an unusual one, sat on the corner of a roundabout on the outskirts of a small town on the road to Grenoble from Lyon. Taking place on one of the busy weekends in the sprawling school holidays (when it seems like the whole of France goes on co-ordinated trips to the Alps with subsequent lengthy tailbacks along the autoroutes into the mountains) means that – alongside the supposed distance from the city centre – that, for a Saturday night, the venue is unfortunately not very busy

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Michael Gira (live at The Water Rats)

The Water Rats, London 27th October 2007

Michael Gira Even though it’s about as far from the stuff he plays these days as a non-executive directorship is from a proper job, the spectre of Swans‘ Cop weighs heavily on proceedings tonight- particularly its mantric repetition of the phrase “THE HEAT… HURTS! THE HEAT… HURTS!” Mr Gira, avuncular and smiling, has decreed that the lights be turned on full. On the audience. And that the air-conditioning be turned off.

It’s fucking boiling. I dunno… if most performers did that, everyone’d fuck off. But we stay, because it’s Gira, and because in a strange way, the discomfort adds to the experience. And what an experience. Beginning with “God Damn The Sun” (from Swans’ criminally-underrated first major step away from noise The Burning World), Gira treats us to an

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