If you’ve not yet witnessed the mighty force that is Giant Swan then the incomparable and menacing aural onslaught they brought to Electrowerkz last Thursday will give you a taste of exactly why they’ve earned such a glowing reputation, and deservedly so.
“Giant Swan? I feel like I’ve seen them everywhere,” says a colleague in the office when I tell them I’m catching the duo later that night. By everywhere, I suspect he’s referencing the excellent Crack Magazine cover that Giant Swan adorn, published earlier that week and featuring some of my favourite quotes of the year. On the subject of pretentiousness in the scene, Harry Wright spits: “With dance music, half the people there don’t give a fuck about you, so there’s something more for us to prove…What I have a problem with is DJs that aren’t aware of any of that. They feel the audience owe them something, griping about someone in the crowd on their phone. You’re basically playing on a massive phone anyway. Behave yourself.”
This no-bullshit approach propelled their self-titled debut album to stratospheric heights, and it bleeds profusely into their live show too. Harry and Robin are here to make you pogo like absolute maniacs and there’s nothing more to it. Predictably, the whole crowd obeys, a sea of bobbing heads and flailing limbs framed in slow motion as strobes explode overhead. Quite simply, their ability to make a room move is astounding.
After the ominous, often beautiful drones of the supporting Dis Fig hypnotises onlookers, the thunderous pace set by Giant Swan barely lets up. Ferocious, pummelling techno reminiscent of tracks like ‘Pandemonium’ and ‘YFPHNT’ tangle with walls of industrial noise for one relentless hour. But there’s always an irresistible groove to unearth amongst the roar, keeping the sweaty throng contorting and bouncing eagerly from foot to foot.
As suspected, Electrowerkz and its endless maze of rooms proves the perfect playground for a Giant Swan show. Against a backdrop of dingy piping, endless dry ice and a punishing light show, the sense of menace is cranked up tenfold inside the warehouse’s cavernous walls. When the duo are bathed in a piercing red glow, we catch glimpses of a hellish landscape, Harry and Robin as the demonic conductors plunging us further into a nightmare that’s never sounded so good.