I first saw them myself at CBGB in 1986, back when their records sounded like the dirgiest Black Sabbath 45 played at 33 1/3, and in a live setting, their cathartic delivery was Otto Muehl/Hermann Nitsch levels of "holy fuck." Of course, it gets tough to sustain absolute caterwauling for decades, so leader Michael Gira and the band morphed themselves into a delicate and strange ensemble composed of a revolving cast of some of the finest out-there musicians in the New York City area.
In talking about his experiences with Swans these past six years Gira says that “On a few occasions – particularly in live performance – it’s been my privilege, through our collective efforts, to just barely grasp something of the infinite in the sound and experience generated by a force that is definitely greater than all of us combined. When talking with audience members after the shows or through later correspondence, it’s also been a true privilege to discover they’ve experienced something like this too.”
The touring line-up is: Michael Gira - guitar, voice (original Swans); Norman Westberg - guitar (original Swans); Christoph Hahn - guitar (mid period Swans and most Angels Of Light); Phil Puleo - drums, percussion, dulcimer etc etc (final Swans tour and most Angels); Chris Pravdica - bass and gadgets (Flux Information Sciences / Services/ Gunga Din); Paul Wallfisch - piano, organ, and Mellotron ( Botannica / Ministry of Wolves / Little Annie).