The best thing that can ever happen to you at BIGSOUND is for someone to drag you into a venue to see a band of whom you know nothing. My mate is bursting with enthusiasm and assures me these guys are the real deal, a new Queensland band taking their musical cues somewhere between the Drive-By Truckers and Halfway. It’s enough to convince me to check them out.
It turns out that while Suicide Swans are a relatively new band, the players definitely aren’t and it shows. They can play, really play. This 5 piece parks themselves in a tiny corner of Laruche and unloads. There’s so much diversity in their music that it takes a while to pin them down and I’m still not convinced that I had by the end of the set. And that’s the beauty of what they were doing – every song took us on a new and unexpected journey.
A song ends and the keyboardist is now playing bass, while the violinist takes over from the lead guitarist who is now playing keys and with each change new musical directions are explored that continue to keep us guessing.
There’s a classic songwriter’s sensibility about their work, real craftsmanship from players who’ve been honing their skills over a long time. That’s not to say that the Suicide Swans are polished, anything but. There’s a loose swing to the drummer’s beat that underpins the feel of what this band is creating. The lead vocalist is all attitude from the power of his pipes to his banter between numbers: “my wife detests this song, but she’s not here tonight so I’m going to dedicate it to her”. Is he serious? I think he is, but one thing’s for sure – these guys aren’t getting carried away an over inflated sense of who they are, but they’re so impressive it won’t be long before many others are singing their praises. The real deal indeed. And then some.