The Verve, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, Supergrass, and Swervedriver are just a few of the British acts that have reunited recently and trotted out some new material or just dropped in for some live shows, or both. Sure, the bands look older (and so do we) and maybe dress more conservatively, but they still sound just as amazing as when we fell in love with them the first time. On May 31 in L.A., it was Swervedriver’s turn to trot out some old favorites and remind us just how fabulous they were — and still are.
Adam Franklin’s signature dreads are gone and he’s sporting a distinguished beard to distract us from his aging hairline, but the songs are still immediate and alive. Though the crowd was not terribly large (the seating upstairs was empty and the rooftop bar barely full), those who did turn out were definitely fans, singing along to "Sandblasted,” “Duel,” and “Rave Down.” “Son of Mustang Ford” as an encore was explosive and fast as a police chase through the desert. The band was tight; even a broken string on Franklin’s guitar didn’t derail the gig for more than a moment.
Though their Coachella set earlier this year was short due to scheduling and a bit lackluster in terms of dynamism, the gig at the Fonda stomped all over any fears that the band was less than entertaining. With a full set and an encore, Swervedriver were commanding on stage and armed with much more song ammunition. Having a crowd as rapt as was the L.A. contingent definitely didn’t hurt.
Swervedriver’s triumphant return to the live circuit is just the beginning of a summer of ’90s British indie/shoegaze/pop invasion. The juggernaut rides again.