On Sunday 20th October, The Mic was stranded at the back of The Bodega, separated from the stage by a sea of fans – all waiting eagerly for indie dreamers Swim Deep.
Armed with new album Emerald Classics, Swim Deep were back in Nottingham. After an unsettled year, complete with a reshuffled line-up, the B-Town lads were back on the road, ready to show the world what they can do. In a bustling Bodega packed to the rafters, there was no better group of people to lap up what was about to come.
Cascading into their set, Swim Deep immediately treated the crowd to a smattering of old favourites from albums Where the Heaven Are We and Mothers. Francisco, Honey, and To My Brother all drew huge responses from the beaming audience, with audible cries of pleasure heard all over the room. No discredit to the bands recent work, but there was a strong feel of nostalgic love all around. However, almost seven years since the release of their debut album, frontman Austin Williams sounded as fresh as ever performing all of the old classics – and the band did a sterling job of getting the room moving early on.
"Emerald Classics is a dream of an album, and they executed it to utter perfection."
Halfway during the set, the tides turned. I didn’t think the show could get any better, but what a foolish assumption that turned out to be. I must confess that I didn’t know the new album terribly well by this point - perhaps with knowledge of five or six songs – so when they announced that they were going to perform a few songs that I wasn’t overly familiar with, I was ready to hit up the bar. However, Happy as Larrie had me rooted to the spot, jaw on the floor. A stupendous mixture of guitar-heavy dream pop, with a crazy drum and bass-driven beat behind made for a phenomenal showing. Thomas Fiquet on the drums must surely have needed a lie down after such an energetic and upbeat few minutes, while Austin’s high-pitched vocals remained impressively tight throughout. As they went on into 0121 Desire, it became crystal clear that this band love this album, and boy they can play it well. Rarely have I heard two songs that I’m not overly familiar with and been left with a feeling of such euphoria. I doubt I was alone in feeling this way.
"Sold-out gigs at The Bodega always provide a great feeling, but none that I’ve seen have come close to Swim Deep’s offering."
Amazingly, the set didn’t dip after it peaked. After a huge encore, the band stormed back to the stage to show off the first single from their new album To Feel Good; again an impressively tight performance, complete with an audience ready to shout back the lyrics whenever Austin gestured the mic in their direction. However, the show hit a minor speedbump during Intro. As Austin begun, you could hear a pin drop in a hushed Bodega. Unfortunately, Austin paused the song to, ever so politely, ask some girls at the front to hold their chat. In Austin’s defence, every person in the room wanted them to be quiet as well - at least we got to hear the first few lines of Intro once more. Following straight into She Changes The Weather lead to a few minutes that were nothing short of astonishing: the band truly had the room in the palm of their collective hand.
Finally, the band ended on King City, much to the delight of those audience members keen for a quick mosh. Sold-out gigs at The Bodega always provide a great feeling, but none that I’ve seen have come close to Swim Deep’s offering. I can only describe it as pure euphoria from start to finish, King City being perhaps one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard live in the flesh.
I went to the gig expecting a show full of nostalgia and my favourite old classics – but left more of a fan than I have ever been. If you ever get the chance to see Swim Deep, I can only hope that you witness a set as strong as what I witnessed. Emerald Classics is a dream of an album, and they executed it to utter perfection. Until next time!