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"A Night With Swervedriver"

by Jill M. Herold

Four British guys are trying to leave their mark, and - to those few who can hear what they're saying - they're probably succeeding.

A night with Swervedriver, a mellow band with deep thoughts on all topics from Shakespeare to the beatnik generation to world-class soccer, is enough to make one believe believe that nothing is as it seems to be.

The band is composed of bassist Steve George, guitarist Jim Hartridge, drummer Jez and lead singer and guitarist Adam Franklin.

The crowd was in a daze, despite the fact that it was an alcohol-free night at the Stone Balloon on Tuesday.

The loud, driving beat of overpowering bass made hearts pound and left everyone feeling a little bit deaf.

Overall, Swervedriver's songs were mellow and the crowd could only sway to the rhythm rather than start up a mosh pit.

A bit too repetitive in their laid-back groove, the crowd was left in a psychedelic trance song after song The crowd of college students were experiencing a "euphoric numb," as Hartridge would say.

The band laughs at one audience member's opinion of them: Freshman Brian Cretty says, "I think they're bringing back the shoe-gazing scene from England in a good way."

Franklin says Swervedriver is nothing like that. Those bands didn't have stage presence and spent the entire performance looking down at their pedals, he says - hence the term "shoe-gazing."

Franklin sang and played with his eyes closed, his dreads spilling out of a fuzzy rastafarian hat. His right hand strummed the guitar subtly, barely touching the strings.

"We don't really define our music," Hartridge says. "With Swervedriver, you just never know."

Jez chimes in, "We're multi-dimensional. We've got four dimensions, and then some."

In their dressing room after the show, drinks and smokes were shared and everyone relaxed. To anyone worthy enough, they spilled their guts over chit-chat, their English accents cutting through the sound of Hum playing downstairs.

The band talked about a wide variety of topics, from bungee jumping in New Zealand to their experiences shooting up heroin.

They're all in their early 30s and have seen most of the world. They each speak at least three languages. For a while during their after-show get-together, they spoke French.

They just do their thing, refusing to define it for anyone, and they know that what they are doing is right for them. They follow their dreams and just go for it, they say, regardless of anyone else's opinion.

Swervedriver and Hum, the feature act, have been touring together for barely more than a week and are still getting to know each other. Jez calls Hum's guitarist Tim Lash his "bloke," lovingly. The British term of endearment can only be earned out of mutual respect, camaraderie and a sense of brotherhood, Jez explains.

The crowd got more intense as Hum began to perform, cheering loudly. The fans began to get wild over the stronger sound.

"There was a guy in a strangle hold. They were moshing Siamese-style one on top of the other," Lash later says. "Everyone just blended together jumping and being tossed to the beat."

Also a four-member band, Hum features Matt Talbott on vocals and guitar, Lash on guitar, Jeff Dimpsey on bass and Bryan St. Pere on drums.

Lash describes Hum's music as "whales playing tag in the ocean." Nodding his head and taking a drag from a Marlboro Red, he says no more, realizing he has said enough.

After the show, both bands drank it in - literally - and enjoyed the rush of their night's performance.


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