Indie is all the rage lately, with bands like The 1975 and Catfish & The Bottlemen dominating the air waves and taking to the stage in front of thousands of adoring fans — kind of defeats the purpose of the word “indie”, but who are we to deny these hardworking bands their success? Behind all the glitz and glamour that these artists possess, however, are a fairly young band named Swim Deep.
One of the frontrunners of the Digbeth-based scene “B-Town”, Swim Deep have supported everyone from Two Door Cinema Club to Bastille, and of course, The 1975. Their two albums, Where The Heaven Are We and Mothers (which came out just last year) couldn’t be more different, but the band still retain a modest but dedicated fanbase which delivered them straight on to the pages of NME. As part of the NME Awards tour, Swim Deep played an intimate set at The Dome, Tufnell Park, right in the heart of North London.
Where The Heaven Are We is the band’s debut, dream pop record, then there’s Mothers… and you couldn’t get much more psychedelic if you tried. It’s an interesting sight to see live, watching the band flit from track to track which could go from sweet and sunshine-drenched to acid trip madness in a matter of minutes. One particular stand out performance was of the song ‘Honey’, which saw lead singer Austin “Ozzy” Williams declared that the crowd should “say it like a prayer,” when it came to the last chorus.
Keyboardist James Balmont had some applaudable dance moves throughout the set, though they were especially noticeable in ‘One Great Song And I Could Change The World’ — during the music video of which he also has a little boogie. ‘Grand Affection’ is the track the quintet are currently plugging, since its video was released on the day of the show. Their playing of it was solid, rarely variating from how it sounds on record.
The rhythm section of a band is often neglected, but not in Swim Deep’s case. Bassist Cavan “Cav” McCarthy and drummer Zack Robinson happen to be fan favourites, and it’s obvious to see why based on their talent. McCarthy didn’t even know how to play bass guitar when he joined the band back in 2012, but he’s come in leaps and bounds if his stellar performance on The Dome’s stage is anything to go by. Then there’s Tom Higgins, otherwise known as “Higgy”, the band’s brilliant guitarist and the cherry on top of the icing as far as his slaying through tracks such as ‘Fuieho Boogie’ is concerned, Swim Deep’s final offering during their encore, and ‘Red Lips I Know’, one of the staple songs from their first album.
If you ever thought an indie gig would be the place to avoid a mosh pit, you’re sorely mistaken. The crowd’s participation was fervent, as if Williams was their preacher and it was a Sunday. Nobody was stood still for a single song — even the quieter ones — and from the grins on the band’s faces it was clear that they were quite pleased with themselves.
Swim Deep have never actually won an NME award, but it’s evident from their live performances that they are very much deserving of one… so here’s to 2017!