Swingin’ Utters – [Live]

Thursday, 27 June 2013

"I don't know why we're making people wait around. It makes it seem like we're important or something."

So begins the Swingin' Utters show in the Middle East in Cambridge. On an absolutely lovely not-quite-yet-Summer Sunday evening, The Swingin' Utters are taking the stage at 11:15. Exactly on time too, as the crew, some showgoers and I are waiting on stage watching the digital clock to say 11:15. Right before the band takes the stage, lead singer Johnny Bonnel puts his hand on my shoulder and shouts into my ear that line above. But the wait is well worth it. For this band, it always is.

The Swingin' Utters are my favorite active band out there right now, and their latest album, Poorly Formed, is a masterpiece of fragmented songs, as the title suggests, and an absolute beauty of a record. It does so many new things for the band, the music, the genre, the record label that they're on, and the recording studio. As such, it's a breath of fresh air and a perfect record for longtime fans and newcomers. With such a solid release backing them up, you can't help but get excited at their live shows.

Although two Utters were missing (drummer Greg McEntee and guitarist Jack Dalrymple), the band still managed to play a tight, impressive and minimalist set. But then again, this band has always been serious about their music and you can't really get a sloppy set out of them. Lead singer Johnny is still a wild man (when he's not wearing his prescription sunglasses),and guitarist Darius Koski still insists on calling the new kid, Miles Peck, a dick and throwing beer cans at him.

I've always wondered how a band with so many albums picks their set list. The Utters do it right, leaning heavily on Streets of San Francisco (is that really a bad thing?) and their other earlier material, their set list was an accurate glimpse of their catalog (some punk, some folk, some in between), and even had a couple of surprises tucked into it like “Untitled 21” and “As You Start Leaving.” Although their criminally underrated Self-titled album will always be overlooked, we got “Pills and Smoke” off of that one. Lucky…

The Swingin' Utters are the most underrated band right now, and always have been, in my opinion. No matter how good their albums or shows are, they will always play to houses that are half as packed as they should be. It's a shame, because Johnny is wrong – they are that important.



Swingin' Utters still have a few dates left on their current tour. For an updated list of shows, click here .

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