It was only months ago that Birmingham’s Swim Deep were playing 200-capacity venues, but even then it was obvious that their songs were good enough to be enjoyed by a much larger audience.
And so it proves, as the band plays to around 2,000 punters inside London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Their feel-good anthems, drawn from debut album ‘Where The Heaven Are We’ (Clash review), are warmly received at their largest capital-city headline set to date.
As they take the stage, after a supporting set from Wolf Alice, the screams of adoration from the front rows are piercingly loud. Rising to the occasion, Swim Deep have smartened up, sporting glittery cardigans and flared trousers. It’s a far cry from the Nirvana T-shirts of 2012’s ‘King City’ video.
The look reflects the band’s sound – not quite completely grunge, bearing twangy signs of The Bryds and a Stone Roses-like percussive quality. Combined with easily memorable lyrics that the audience knows inside-out, it’s a potent recipe.
And they put on a proper show, to suit a venue of this size. London’s Choir With No Name – run for the homeless – joins the foursome for ‘Soul Trippin’’ and ‘She Changes The Weather’.
Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell comes on for ‘Tassel Man’, a track co-written by her and Swim Deep vocalist (and boyfriend) Austin Williams. Confetti is pumped into the room, drenching the audience in colour. The Brummies then bow out to, inevitably, ‘King City’.
Stops pulled out, Swim Deep exhibit the kind of confidence that should come with being of the UK’s most popular indie bands of the moment. Whether they have staying power remains to be seen, but it’s been a dream summer for them and no mistake.
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Words: Cai Trefor
Photo: Charlotte Patmore
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