On this warm Spring evening, many eschew their jackets, and those driving, take delight in the multitude of parking spaces, adjacent to the Croxton. The Croxton is packed with punters ready to witness the guitar onslaught of Oxford lads, and exponents of a heavier rock sound than their shoegaze contemporaries, Swervedriver.
Nineties music nostalgia is at its peak in Melbourne with fellow English band Ride touring only recently. It’s around 10.45 pm on Thursday evening and Swervedriver launch into “Mary Winter” followed by “Drone Lover”off latest release Future Ruins, but it’s oldie “Never Lose That Feeling” that draws the loudest cheers from the audience.
Founding members Adam Franklin and Jimmy Hartridge create a wall of duelling guitars, making full use of the myriad of effect pedals on stage. Ex Supergrass member Mick Quinn on bass and Mickey Jones on drums create a solid bottom end, and punctuating every song is Franklin’s endearing vocals. The hypnotic sounds emanating from the speakers transport us to a more innocent and youthful era in the 90’s. Nostalgia has that effect, it makes us remember the good times.
“Setting Sun” off 2015’s I Wasn’t Born to Lose You continues with the feeling of optimism that an upbeat rhythm can perpetuate. Guitar drenched sounds permeate the set, continuing with old gem “99th Dream” followed with slower tempo, title track off latest release “Future Ruins.”
The storybook lyrics of “Last Train to Satansville” inspire a sing along in the crowd, reminding us why this underrated band was so influential in their heyday and beyond. The emotional intensity of guitar drenched “Deep Seat” is palpable and for the encore the energy doesn’t dissipate.
“I Wonder” off recent album I Wasn’t Born to Lose You showcases the band’s foray into dreamy psychedelia, and early stellar hit “Rave Down” off acclaimed debut album Raise, replete with distortion and interlocking guitar riffs, mesmerises the throng. For the final song, things are turned up a notch with the frenetic, scorching guitar riffs on “Son of Mustang Ford ” and we all go home a little weary eyed and happy in the knowledge we’ve witnessed one of the best bands to come out of the UK in the 90’s and they still sound as good as they did in their heyday.