Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Aaron Ratoff

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 5

Johanna Warren I

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

Swirlies – Live at The Silent Barn – 7/4/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video)

Swiries VI

Fourth of July, traditionally, is an American holiday that’s characterized by pride and excess. A clear amount of both traits were visible in the lead-up to the celebration that was hosted by Silent Barn, an event hosted by adhoc and headlined by Swirlies. Over the past decade a feverish, cult-like dedication has been granted to Swirlies, whose impressive body of works deserved far more acclaim than it initially received.

Now, there’s a renewed interest in the exact type of music Swirlies excelled at- and possibly even perfected- when it was distilled into their career highlight, Blonder Tongue Audio Baton. Before they took the stage to a diverse, adoring audience, those in attendance were treated to two excellent opening sets. ADVAETA had the first slot and they wasted no time in setting the tone for the evening.

Kaleidoscopic guitar work, frenetic drumming, off-kilter composition, and an impressive pop sensibility permeated throughout the trio’s set and it was evident that they were pushing themselves to deliver at their absolute best. It was an impressive display of fireworks that seemed perfectly suited to the date. Krill followed up as the second opener and anyone that’s kept even an irregular eye on this space knows exactly how this site feels about Krill. To succinctly quote bassist/vocalist Jonah Furman: “Krill forever.

Swirlies took to the stage amidst a flurry of technical problems and eventually decided to forego the opening noises of Blonder Tongue Audio Baton, opting to imitate them vocally instead of attempting to sort out that particular issue. After that brief hiccup, the band was off, playing with a very palpable love for their songs, the album, and each other- a despairing rarity in today’s musical landscape.

If a note was flubbed, they’d smile and push forward. They invited fans to the stage to play the radio and a string of brief CB-style exchanges poured out of the PA, ranging from mundane to hysterical. Following a deeply impressive run through the record that climaxed with a beautiful rendition of the record’s closing track, “Wait Forever”, the band was successfully called back to the stage for an impassioned one-song encore.

Beaming, exhausted, and grateful, Swirlies made their final stage exit of the night, having just provided an explosive finale memorable enough to surpass just about any state, county or city’s airborne exhibitions. All the bald, middle-aged man standing next to me could do was stare out blankly and shake his head in awed silence. I had to agree.

A gallery of photos from the show can be found here and an embed containing performance captures of various songs in each band’s set can be found below. Enjoy.

1. ADVAETA – Come With Me
2. Krill – Brain Problem
3. Krill – Turd
4. Krill – Purity of Heart
5. Krill – Torturer
6. Swirlies – Bell
7. Swirlies – Jeremy Parker
8. Swirlies – Wait Forever