Swingin’ Utters – [LIVE]

Swingin’ Utters – [LIVE]

Friday, 19 October 2018

Swingin’ Utters

Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 18, 2018.

Live Behold the Swingin’ Utters. I mean, seriously, look at them. Have you ever sat down and thought about this band? They’ve been around for nearly 30 years and have managed to stay active and relevant throughout their entire career, despite the name. And they really have a lot going against them. The Utters got their chops as a street punk band, who would not necessarily cater to an audience willing to veer too far from their expectations.

But the Swingin’ Utters evolved whether we like it or not. There was too much influence in their music and their artistic output just needed to explore other horizons. The results are impressive to say the least, especially because it’s hard to pin down exactly what the band is doing but at the same time their albums sound especially “them.” Throughout their career, the Swingin’ Utters have gone from a street punk band, to a country-punk band, to a folk-punk band, to maybe a more buzz-poppy band now.

And, the personnel has evolved quite a bit as well. Even though their lineup had changed for the better over the years, first adding Spike Slawson on bass, then Jack Dalrymple as guitarist/songwriter after losing Max Huber, then Miles Peck on bass (who I had grown quite fond of), the core of the band was constantly singer Johnny Bonnell, guitarist Dariuk Koski and drummer Greg McEntee. I knew the band’s driving force had shifted last year when they replaced their entire rhythm section once again. A quick conversation with Koski before the show gives the impression that himself and Bonnell are focusing on members that are able to tour. As personal matters take a more prominent role when we get older, some reshuffling has to take place to keep the band as something more than just a studio band. After all, where’s the fun in that?

For a band that’s focused so much having a good touring entourage, it’s no surprise that their live shows have been so strong over the years. Nevermind the fact that they’ve temporarily replaced their drummer with a touring drummer who looks like a lunatic in just his underwear. The backbone of the band is as strong as ever, and this new drummer is an absolute wildman, playing as loudly as he does precise. Swingin’ Utters songs aren’t necessarily easy either, but the band pulls it off effortlessly this night at the Middle East with a setlist that goes back through their entire catalog. They crowd is on the smaller side (with Mike McColgan in attendance) but completely devoted. We’re treated to oldies like Jackie Jab, No Eager Men, Windspitting Punk, Untitled 21, Pills and Smoke, and newer stuff like Alice, Undertaker Undertake, Human Potential, and Dubstep. The Utters have always been devoted to their craft and know how to put on a show with no nonsense and bringing the hits, with playing so tight one would think this lineup has been playing together for 20 years.

Impressive doesn’t quite cut it. The Swingin’ Utters might just be the best in the biz. They’re still touring and apparently always will be: go see them, you dummy!

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