With a set that focused largely on their most recent effort, I Wasn’t Born to Lose You, Swervedriver proved that the end of the 2008 hiatus wasn’t just a reunion; it was a rebirth. The Oxford quartet didn’t perform to a festival-sized crowd—there were at most, 30 people there—and that’s fine; shoegaze isn’t meant to appeal to everyone, but the band’s dirty, driving sound was worthy of the main stage. The heavily distorted riffs of “For Seeking Heat” and “For a Day Like Tomorrow” sounded as massive as ever.
In true shoegaze fashion, singer/guitarist Adam Franklin rocked a beat-up sunburst Fender Jazzmaster (with a whammy bar, of course) and he orchestrated nearly a dozen effect pedals. Surprisingly, his Kurt Cobain-esque vocals came off clean amidst the fuzz of “Rain Down,” which provided a contrast to Jimmy Hartridge’s abrasive leads. Drummer Mikey Jones fought through the wall of sound during “These Times,” and drove us towards the sunset during “Setting Sun.” We left with our ears ringing. ★★★★✩