Swervedriver; Ammonia, Planet, 6 December, 1995

It could have been described as ‘the march of the indie kids’, a packed Planet arena reverberating with the chatter of alternative music talk and the clatter of Converse sneekers. And Britian’s Swervedriver were soon to be the toast of the several generations of indie music fans squished against the rails, ears bleeding but bodies swaying.

With Ammonia’s ever-strong live sound perfectly laying the foundations for their sonic guitar heroes, the Applecross boys pushed the pace right to the point where, theoretically, Swervedriver could have taken the stage to a primed, rabid crowd. But even their closing blitzkrieg of Sleepwalking, Drugs and In a Box did little to help the 40 minute wait for the Oxford four.

Strolling onto the stage to an insane greeting, Swervedriver let loose, surprisingly, with a barrage of songs from their 1991 Raise album. Anyone expecting a bouncing floorshow only had to be within the building to be grabbed by the all-hugging guitar blanket of sound and fans similarly hugging each other. Halfway through the first song, earplugs went in as the 400-strong pit went bananas.

Kramer-haired guitarist Jimmy stooped low over his axe, taking shoegazing to its limits, as guitar partner and vocalist Adam crooned in a way you would expect the Creation Records prodigies to croon: elongating every word … “you’ve been awaaay, for sooo looong …” Meanwhile, Jez’s constant English backbeat careered between driving, powerhouse cymbal smashing to glorious early 90s indiepop noodlings.

The Other Jesus, Son of Jaguar E, The Birds, Last Train to Satansville, Duel, Never Lose That Feeling – there was nothing that was going to bring this crowd down. Interaction with the audience was unnecessary when Swervedriver’s blistering guitar sound and sonics spoke volumes, a rant from the truely-manic Jez being the only real audience ‘hello’ before the band actually stood at the door to Planet to take accolades from the departing punters.

With the slow melancholy of Duress an epic highlight, Swervedriver came to Perth and reinstated their place as deities amongst the now-jaded indie community. Unlike their peers, I can’t foreseeably see these guys resorting to retrospective 60s rock for their next paycheck.

Adam Connors