King Swamp rises from the ashes of Shriekback to rock out in Vancouver

chris cameron photo

By Steve Newton

Artsy, esoteric types who went to see King Swamp because it features former members of Shriekback may have been surprised at 86 Street last Friday (July 21). Anyone expecting to hear music that resembles Shriekback’s atmospheric soundscapes would have been taken aback by the bone-jarring rock ‘n’ roll attack of the new King Swamp.

Midnight Oil fans would have loved it.

The band opened up with “Widders Dump”, a heavy blues stomper with a Bonham backbone, while a lush mix of orange and green spotlights swarmed the stage. With a second guitarist along for extra crunch, King Swamp proceeded to play most every song on the self-titled debut album, tossing in the odd revamped version of a Woody Guthrie tune.

“Is This Love”, the LP’s first single/video, went over particularly well, even though it’s one of the weaker tracks on the record.

“We’ve got an album out on Virgin,” plugged youthful vocalist Walter Wray, “go out and buy it tomorrow.” Then he led the band through a couple of the album’s best tracks, “Motherlode” and “Year Zero”.

Bald-headed multi-instrumentalist Steve Halliwell was an energetic driving force in shades and beatnik threads, constantly flailing his arms while switching from keyboards to guitar to percussion. Bassist Dave Allen did his usual fine job of supplying the groove, which was driven home by drummer Martyn Barker and embellished by former World Party guitarist Dominic Miller.

King Swamp left the stage after only 10 songs or so, but came back for a couple of encores. They would have probably returned again had the rather dead 86 Street crowd made a bit more racket.

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