San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Film School + Swervedriver @ The Casbah

It's rare that you get an evening of entertainment as mind-blowing as this in San Diego, but with a sold out crowd, it was clear that the word had gotten around. Swervedriver, a band many of us missed back in the early 90's, attracted a full house of dedicated fans.

As you know, we're pretty big fans of this band, and were pretty pleasantly surprised to find out at the last minute that they'd been added to the Coachella lineup. We'd already purchased tickets for the Casbah show, and it turned out to be a fantastic move.

First up, LA's Film School. I can't remember how I got turned onto these guys, but I found myself listening to their self-titled album about a hundred times in the first month after I got it. It sounded like shoegaze made by people who loved shoegaze.

Film School took the stage a little after 10, and commanded both the stage and the attention of the audience for the duration of their set. Fantastic projections on behind them and ethereal, psychedelic, feedback-drenched atmospheres made me want to go out on a high note. Seriously, I almost decided to leave for fear Swervedriver couldn't top these kids.

I'm glad I stayed. Swervedriver gave a much different performance from the one we saw at Coachella. "It's the venue," said Conner wisely, and indeed it may have been. A Friday night at The Casbah is quite something else than a Sunday afternoon in a tent in the desert. They did a fantastic number of tracks from Mezcal Head (opening with For Seeking Heat, the final encore was Duress) as well as their first album, Raise (Son of Mustang Ford was the first encore, Rave Down was near the end of the set). It was a night of highlights, including Duel, which got the loudest cheers of the evening, and Bring Me the Head of the Fortune Teller, one of the more recognizable tracks from Ejector Seat Reservation.

Honestly, the whole was bigger than the sum of its parts. If you didn't catch Film School, you didn't get the whole picture. I honestly don't remember a bill like this since the legendary Tarantella / Pelican / Mono triple bill a few years back. It was awesome to see a sold out crowd for this one. Swervedriver often gets lost in the list of the original shoegaze artists, even among fans of the genre. Tonight proved that Film School may be the heir apparent of the genre.

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