Despite people pretending otherwise, it is common knowledge that Crewe’s most prestigious gig venue is pure shit. ‘The Box’ has the makings of being an opportune underground hipster palace, it’s just a shame it’s placed in a town barely missing the Top 10 Worst Places to Live in England. (For anyone who’s interested, this is an actual list found on www.chavtowns.co.uk) And just like the acceptance of the appalling setting, a mutual decision has also been silently agreed upon that you must stick to The Golden Rule: get fucked or go home. And as a monstrous amount of swaggering, underage ‘steamers’ swarm to the floor of no other venue but The Box itself, I am hopelessly aware that I haven’t even started drinking yet.
However, brazenly oblivious (and rightly so) to my ignorant certainties that this night will flump in the naturally occurring disaster that is ‘Indie @ The Box’, Nantwich-based angsty teenagers Swim into Scarlet are preparing to power through what will collectively be a tumultuous mass of heavy-handed, matured and sophisticated noise capable of catering for an Academy. Drunk or not, it is clear that this is definitely not your average Box night.
Opening with The Promised Land, Aidan, Matthew, Zachary and David set the landscape for what is to come; setting off with a rumble of guitars and snares, creating mountainous waves of anticipation which ripple through the delighted crowd. Making their way thick and fast into the heart of it all the band knows exactly what they’re doing, falling into step quickly with the manic audience’s cravings: second track The Great Wave.With kick start drums and the addictive three note riff this song soon spills into an eccentric blast of thrumming guitar and overflowing drum patterns. The crowd, I should add at this point, are leaping around in a mad frenzy with no real idea of what the hell they’re doing; you can literally hear the litres of vodka sloshing in their stomach ready to be vomited later.
Following the order of their EP, Hawaii soon fills the room, followed swiftly with no pause for breath by the fond cover of fellow local band Proud Proud People’s Midnight Oil, cleverly integrated into the set which is then chased after by the most anticipated track yet: Love You Forever. Having never performed the track in its final entirety to an audience of any size, it is difficult to know what to expect, but the band are not disappointed by the reaction. With the audience lapping up delicious gulps of droning guitar creating the illusion of haunting synths, pining vocalist Aidan advocates with the lyrics “wolves are calling in the night//will we ever see the light…love you forever, don’t go” conjuring images of vulnerable loves and losses in all their despicable glory.
Well respected Hashish brings the mood back to a thumping ecstasy, Brother in Cairo (Pt II) is drawn out with spellbinding results and finally the title track of the EP: Trophy is ready in all its mute-picking, swarthy light, and let me tell you now: the crowd is going crazy. A fast flight of domineering vocals and soon even the ceiling cannot ignore the unity of the crowd answering Aidan’s calls in the breakdown with “da la da, da la da’s” cocooning the starkly honest and harrowing harshness of “followed you to the bones//trusted you to take me home.”
Just when you think it can’t get any better, David jumps from the stage into the crowd to make way for something: the new SIS ‘Moses’ T-shirt which is placed in the centre of the floor, around which the crowd gather in a sphere. As David clambers back on stage, some intoxicated mosher rushes to grab the prize but is stopped in their tracks by livid shouts from the stage: “PUT THE FUCKING T-SHIRT DOWN, NO ONE FUCKING TOUCH IT,” Aidan screams down the mic. “KEEP YOUR FUCKING DISTANCE!” Matthew leers. Clearly SIS did not anticipate for such obsessors to be their audience tonight; together Aidan, Matthew and Zachary literally have to spell out to the over excited fanatics that they need to wait four bars before the crunch of Deer Blood, in which the race is on to see who grabs the shirt first. You can literally feel the energy ricocheting off the walls and back into the centre of the room as all eyes are on the prize. I think it’s safe to say that the collective voice of 99% of people in there is I hope that impatient idiot gets punched in the face.
Suddenly the track kicks in and all thoughts are lost as the crowd run at the each other from all angles, momentarily losing the shirt in a blistering haze of spit, sweat and screams. In a tidal wave of magnificent hell everything breaks loose, and there is a good 10 seconds of sustained amazement as everyone simultaneously loses track of time and place in a bid for escapism.
As the set finishes to raucous applause, the band humbly thanks everyone and shuffles off the stage in the direction of the bar as if nothing extraordinary has occurred at all. Just as I am about to question all negative thoughts of Crewe, The Box and www.chavtowns.co.uk, my philosophical musings are shattered as Kill! The Doctor come traipsing onto the stage and I am forced to be reminded that Indie @ The Box always has to take it one step too far.
Regardless of venue or fellow stage-fillers, it’s no wonder SIS have already been spotted by the likes of BBC Introducing. One thing is for certain: Swim into Scarlet are going places, let’s just hope for their sake it’s out of Crewe.
To watch videos from their set at The Box 27/1/12 go to:
To listen to & download the band’s EP: Trophy go to: http://swimintoscarlet.bandcamp.com/album/trophy.