Swords headlined the Button Factory in Dublin last Friday night, providing a show that displayed the trio’s clear expansion on every level.
From the opening glare of strong stage lighting that cast Swords in sharply defined silhouettes to the hypnotic live visuals that flowed so effectively behind them, it became clear just how much the three-piece have evolved not only in terms of performance but also in presentation.
The consideration into merging of these elements was set from the first moment Swords walked on stage. Appearing one-by-one to an atmospheric soundscape, the audio/visual production of the show was introduced to the audience in a way that felt deliberate and self-assured.
Indeed the entire night had an expansive feel. The culmination of year’s of hard work, the band made the transition to becoming a full-scale headline act with relative ease. While never losing the central characteristics that made their more intimate shows so engaging.
As the performance continued, Swords shaped the show using their atmospheric yet dynamic sound to create great crescendos of rhythm and melody that engulfed the Button Factory in reverberated brilliance. While also providing gentle moments of brooding balladry that brought the crowd to a hushed silence.
However, the essence of the night came when Swords unveiled new material from their yet to be recorded second album. Blending themselves into the set with a feeling of cohesion, tracks such as ‘Double Life’ highlighted the palpable sea-change the trio are currently undergoing.
Even more importantly a new track (performed during the band’s well-deserved encore) entitled ‘Betty Machete’ saw vocalist Diane Anglim step away from her synthesizer and to the front of the stage. Delivering a powerful, dominant vocal supported by Ian Frawls pounding drum patterns and an aggressively fuzz-laden bass line from Jarlath Canning.
This was a significant moment not just in the show, but also in the group’s progression in an overall context. Showcasing Swords’ willingness to augment the instrumentation and style of their music. Adding an up-tempo electro-punk dimension to their sound.
A pivotal performance from Swords, last Friday night’s show worked as an exciting glimpse into the trio’s evolving sound ahead of their sophomore album recording sessions. While also establishing the band as more than capable of delivering an effective and powerful live show in a large setting without the music itself becoming lost within the expanding scale.