The Swellers – Birmingham Academy

By paul

Give It A Name Introduces 2010
Birmingham Academy 2, 27th April 2010

The Dangerous Summer opened to a practically empty venue, which unfortunately was the case for most of the night. Unsurprisingly the band seemed nervous and although their songs sounded sincere they didn’t have that edge to make a mark. Songs were angsty yet simple and they seemed to keep the small crowed going for most of their 30 minute set but I did find it a bit repetitive. The Dangerous Summer were a good opening band, and although seemed pretty average I think given the lack of crowd it’s fair to say they weren’t at their best and this wasn’t representative of what they can do. 3/5

Anarbor were up next and had a lot more energy and a lot more hair, both of which were being flung around like there was no tomorrow. Guitars were a big feature and the band were mixed well although there were some problems with feedback. It was nice to see that they weren’t overly groomed or styled, but I was a little bit put off by the amount of time spent in that classic cock-rock stance with one foot on the monitor, slightly hunched over and looking oh so serious. It seemed a little over the top and forced which was unnecessary as songs were catchy but again weren’t particularly imaginative or attention grabbing. Anabor have a lot of talent but were also unable to warm up most of the crowd, but did seem to grab the attention of those at the front. 3/5

The Wild were the only female fronted band of the night, and unfortunately it seemed like they’ve watched the Twilight movie one too many times. It’s clear that singer Natalie has a strong voice but the vocals were muffled and whiney and the rest of the band seemed to be there just to back her up. It was nice to see a girl actually make it on stage, but the crowd had lost interest and disintegrated quickly and clapping seemed to be more polite than appreciative. 2/5

The penultimate band were Rio who stepped the pace up again and had a much more produced sound. Keyboards added beats and Rio sounded like a more serious Metro Station. Even though they had a fairly good stage presence the crowd were still uninterested and attempts to get them to join in failed. 2.5/5

It was clear that The Swellers were the reason people had come to this years GIAN and suddenly people appeared around the stage. It looks like they played a pretty similar set as they did in Leeds, opening with 2009 and Fire Away. They are clearly an experienced live band and their confidence was both overwhelming and admirable for such a lifeless crowd. Full of energy they bounded around the stage and I was particularly enjoying the amount of jumps by guitarist Ryan. The Swellers managed to balance their sound so that they were professional but not overly produced with well constructed songs and catchy choruses. Although I would have liked to have seen a longer set I think if it had been any more than 40 minutes the crowd would have disappeared again. However everyone was invited to stay behind and talk to the band, and the invitation seemed genuine, as was their on stage thanks. The Swellers were definitely the band of the night. 4/5

The show was a bargain at œ6 a ticket and showcased some great bands, it’s a shame more people weren’t there to see it.