Review: ‘The Swans; Machines of Loving Grace’

Reviewed April 24, 1992.

Reviewed April 24, 1992.

Ten years ago, industrial bands only inked deals on independent labels. Now the craze commands the attention of major labels and the media.

A dark, woeful atmosphere appropriate to a scary movie scene or funeral march settled over Club Lingerie as Young Gods recording artists the Swans took the stage, nearly an hour after the opening act.

Computerized, metronomic disco beats pounded while guitars played the same minor-key chord progressions for countless measures. Drum patterns repeated from beginning to end of each song.

Female keyboardist Jarboe played three to four note patterns repeatedly, one finger at a time. Vocals were an occasional matter, usually led by acoustic guitarist Michael Gira. The result was unrelenting noise, generated with no breaks.

While the Swans’ moody approach initially grasped the audience’s attention, the show quickly became a bore because of the repetitive nature of the songs.

Mammoth Recording group Machines of Loving Grace, far more musically diverse and physically active, had the misfortune to perform in front of the Swans’ drum riser on the tiny club stage and were consequently restricted to an area that only allowed them room to stand.

Still, the group put on an exciting show, hurling their bodies to the accents of the music while standing in place.

The Machines’ songs were creatively arranged, featuring sampled strings, pianos, organs and other classic instruments adding another dimension atop the standard electric guitars and rhythm section, creating an identity separate from other industrial bands.

The Swans; Machines of Loving Grace

(Club Lingerie; 400 capacity; $ 12 top)


Promoted by Club Lingerie. The Swans: Michael Gira, Jarboe, Clinton Steele, Algis Kizys, Vincent Signorelli; Machines of Loving Grace: Scott Benzel, Mike Fisher, Stuart Kupers, Brad Kemp, Andrew Stewart.

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