The ’90s alterna reunion trend has jumped the entire Selachimorpha superorder—see the Pitchfork Music Festival, 2006 through 2012. But a stop from Swervedriver is welcome anytime, even if the impetus for this tour is an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Adam Franklin and crew’s wall of sound, though no less deserving, flew much farther under the radar than those of Creation Records labelmates My Bloody Valentine and Ride. Too aggressive for the shoegaze set and too passive for the American grunge scene, the band went through major lineup and label changes in its heyday, with much of its original catalog out of print or impossible to find by the turn of this century.
But the aforementioned labelmates have seemingly replaced the Smiths and Joy Division as the most named-checked (or outright ripped-off) Brit bands among twentysomethings and the blogosphere set. That can’t have hurt the Oxford rockers’ odds. In 2008, Swervedriver’s seminal first two records got the deluxe reissue treatment. Yet, to underline their underdog status, the quartet’s we-did-OK-Computer-before-Radiohead gem, 1995’s Ejector Seat Reservation, remains unavailable in the States.
This Chicago stop is a pleasant surprise, given the puny assembly during the band’s odd slot at Taste of Randolph Street last June. Fans can expect the same Stooges-meets-shimmer sound with a plethora of pedals and a big dose of distortion. All others: Pick up the reissues and enjoy an overlooked slice of history.