If during Canadian Music Week you wanted to see a great punk show, Sneaky Dee’s was the place to be on Saturday night.
California punk rock band Swmrs played their second show during the week, the first being the previous night at Adelaide Hall. This being their first time in Toronto, the band is touring in support of their latest effort, Drive North, which has been gaining a lot of attention. Rolling Stone magazine called the album one that “seethes with teenage angst”.
Upstairs in the tiny back room with a cramped stage, fans were practically on top of each other to get a glimpse at the latest rock band. Once they hit the stage though, it was hard to miss them.
Jumping right into their set, a mosh pit erupted, and would only continue to grow as the band played. With thrashing guitars and raspy, screaming vocals, the crowd was feasting on the energy the band was bringing.
There were some very eager fans at the show that night, some who were applauding the band before they even hit the stage and were just setting up their equipment. As the show continued, some fans even began to crowd surf, something nearly impossible inside the small space. When lead singer Cole Becker asked how much time they had left to play in their set, the crowd started a chant of “play all night!”
Trying to pick a particular focal point on a different band member is difficult as each are doing something that’ll catch your eye. Whether it’s Becker’s scratchy voice, or seeing Joey Armstrong practically tear the drums apart, solo after solo. Not to mention Seb Mueller’s jumps mid-air while crushing the bass or seeing Max Becker thrash on the guitar. Though appearing chaotic, there is still a sense of balance, which is rare to come across in this situation. This ultimately makes for an incredible punk rock performance.
Swmrs as a whole, bring about an essence that shows a genuinely true punk performance. There’s no over the top flash, there’s no squeaky clean, just some genuine punk music, played as such. In a world where punk rock music is very polished these days, it’s refreshing to see a group like Swmrs who have these sort of characteristics to help make them stand out. It’s clear these rowdy rockers are here to stay.