Thursday, March 21, 2019

Failure and Swervedriver show that they're no mere nostalgia acts at the Plaza Live

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 6:52 PM

click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Failure and Swervedriver, Plaza Live, March 19

This one might as well have been called the Due Respect Tour since it's the convergence of a couple somewhat overlooked 1990s sonic titans from both sides of the pond for a big co-headlining North American run.

click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
Los Angeles' Failure really impressed here on their notable official comeback tour in 2015 on a similarly angled bill alongside fellow 1990s rockers Hum. They were out to prove themselves anew, reloaded with their first album in almost two decades and a refreshed live show.

click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
Now Failure return again with yet another new full-length (2018's In the Future Your Body Will Be the Furthest Thing From Your Mind). No, this is not a band going through the basic washed-up reunion motions. This is one that's coming with the kind of craft and ambition that can only signal a group fully back in the game.

click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
Their merge of dreaming drifts and sparkling melodies with thick, chunking riffs was executed on stage with seasoned and immaculate precision. And their visual presentation was dazzling, with lighting that was choreographed with taste and drama.

click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
click to enlarge Failure at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Failure at the Plaza Live
With the production value of acts 10 times their profile, Failure are a stadium concert in a bottle. And this is an observation from the year 2019, a full two decades past their original heyday. In sight and sound, they're an incredibly calibrated and exacting show, the mark of a band that's committed to craft and working very much in the present tense.

click to enlarge Swervedriver at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Swervedriver at the Plaza Live
Swervedriver are on a career track eerily identical enough to Failure's to wonder if there's been some sort of transatlantic conspiracy going on. This English group, too, returned to the fold in 2015 with their first new album after 17 years. Now they're also back in the hunt with an even newer album (Future Ruins, released in January).



click to enlarge Swervedriver at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Swervedriver at the Plaza Live
Live, the Oxford band established their shoegaze bona fides from the jump, coming with haze and horsepower. Always one of the more rock-forward bands of that textured pack, they proved their bottom-heavy sound to be fit, strapping and elegant across a powerful hourlong drive. Even though they've always been one of shoegaze's earthlier exemplars, Swervedriver's songs and stout sonics still fare beautifully enough in concert to again reaffirm the genre as one of the plushest auditory live experiences in rock. And it was an especially nice touch dropping some of Dick Dale's crashing riff rolls into one of their songs in tribute of the recently departed great.

click to enlarge Swervedriver at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Swervedriver at the Plaza Live
click to enlarge Swervedriver at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Swervedriver at the Plaza Live
This double feature was a two-headed rock leviathan that makes a great case for the returns of both Failure and Swervedriver. These aren't just some casual glory-days revival affairs. They're all-in campaigns of reclamation with earnest eyes on the future.

click to enlarge Swervedriver at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Swervedriver at the Plaza Live
Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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