Swim Deep hit District and Getintothis’ David Hughes was there to gobble up the dreamy goodness.
After a four-year break, Swim Deep are back on the scene, with some new members and a new album, Emerald Classic. They stopped off in Liverpool on their way around the country, sending their fans into a dream world.
Continuing their psychedelic approach to writing music, but with more than just a hint of their classic debut, this third album has seemed to bring the crowds flooding back to Swim Deep, providing a new generation of indie music fans to fall in love with them.
First up, Phoebe Green graces the stage to a fairly empty room, but with a growing crowd. Maybe a local up and coming artist before her would have helped the numbers in the room as she is definitely someone who deserves to be heard.
Phoebe has a 50’s American rock’n’roll vibe to her with some groovy drums beats and vocal melodies that just hit you in the heart.
On initial impression, she sounds like the North’s answer to Lana Del Rey, but as she continues through her set you can tell there as that rock’n’roll vibe gets mixed with some more jazzy influences.
Highlight songs she performed were Sagittarius, with her sweet vocals mixed with harmonies from her sister accompanying her and Dreaming Of, with the second being her stand out song and it would appear that people listening to her on Spotify agree, with the song receiving over one million streams.
She is definitely someone to watch out for the future.
Swim Deep bounce on stage after about a half an hour wait and get straight into it with their opening song, Francisco, one of their most popular songs of their debut album.
This sees a flurry of people bail on their attempts to buy a pint as they rush to the front of the room.
Their stage presence seems a little bit lacking through the first couple of songs, with expectations of them being a bit wilder being quickly quashed as they go from one song to the next straight away.
However, that song being Honey, the crowd don’t seem to mind.
It takes a while for the crowd to warm up, despite the first attempts of people starting to sing back the lyrics to Austin and the gang.
With Emerald Classic having only been launched just a week ago, you’d expect the show to mostly be an advert for the album, however, the mix of songs from each of Swim Deep’s records is a pleasant surprise, with the favourites of each of their three long-players being played all throughout the set.
The bass player attempts to get some ‘banter’ going, but it falls on deaf ears, that is until he starts singing the Mo Salah song, which receives a collection of responses, from people singing along, including James the synth player, to booing from the obvious Everton fans in the room.
There’s a weird feeling in the venue, most of the crowd don’t know how to react, with some just doing the standard head nodding, to some going rave crazy to the likes of the 8-minute masterpiece that is Fueiho Boogie, which sees the bass player jump into the crowd.
This brings out a bit more of the crazy side of the fans, before Swim Deep leave the stage ready for their encore.
It seems surprising that a band such as Swim Deep, who were once the glory boys of Birmingham’s Digbeth scene, and were very much the rising stars of the dream pop world, couldn’t sell out a venue like District.
Perhaps a smaller venue would have suited them, where a more cramped vibe would have potentially caused more mayhem from the crowd that Swim Deep deserved.
Swim Deep run back on stage for their encore to the greatest cheer of the night.
They start it with the first single from their debut album, To Feel Good, a relaxed, spoken-word like piece. The crowd help out with the choir sang chorus, with die-hard fans being heard shouting the spoken word lines.
Next up sees the intro track of their first album blended into She Changes the Weather, which sees the crowd’s sensitive side come out.
Lighters and phone torches come out, shoulders are clambered upon. It’s a really special moment.
Probably the best song of the night.
To end it’s an all-out mosh fest, with King City being screamed out from every corner of the room.
James is the next member of the band to jump into the crowd, the attempt at crowd surfing fails, but he gets the crowd nice and rowdy, beers and limbs flying everywhere.
Despite the lack of a local band opening the night who could have brought more people to pack out the room, it’s been a great night and nobody goes home without a gleaming smile on their face.
(This writer was even lucky enough to meet the band afterwards and he definitely didn’t fan-girl).
Images by Getintothis’ Sarah Sidwell