Swimmer w/s/g Eggy
Pacific Standard Tavern New Haven, CT on January 12, 2019
Story and photos by Miles Hurley
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Improv rock bands Swimmer, from Burlington, VT, and Eggy, from New Haven, CT, joined together this past weekend for a show at Hartford, CT’s Arch St Tavern on Friday night, followed by a sold-out show at New Haven, CT’s Pacific Standard Tavern on Saturday night.
This reviewer arrived to the two-show run on Saturday night just in time to hear four-member Swimmer, self-described as ‘Rotten Rock,’ play a fantastic version of Frank Zappa’s “More Trouble Every Day.” For starters, the drummer played that famous fill just right every time, so thanks to him for that. But more importantly, the band took their time on the song past its last chorus for a sophisticated performance that met graceful musicianship dashes of zaniness. An expert guitar solo midway through was joined by smooth saxophone work, working to juxtaposition the song between crunchy funk and blistering heavy rock.
On the other side of that cover, Swimmer finished out with some more of their own material, and from it I’d describe Swimmer as…happy prog? Like, jamtronica for a sunny day in the park, with melodies driven freely and driven other times by a mathematical mind, swinging listeners around in bright-chord circles without giving anyone motion sickness.
Pacific Standard Tavern is the hometown throwdown for the four-member Eggy, and at this point strong shows here, accompanied by the most lively of crowds, are to be anticipated. Nevertheless, the band played a tremendously high energy show from front to end, enough to perhaps consider Saturday night a good one even by their previous standards.
Barely two songs in, Eggy had pretty much the whole room, and no doubt the crowd dancing immediately before the stage, in their hands. It helped that the show offered a relentless enthusiasm from the band, but in addition there was quite a unique setlist, ranging from a few brand new songs like “Upside Down” coming in at the encore, a debut performance of “Reuben and Cherise,” and a few others like Blind Melon’s “No Rain.”
Ahh, that No Rain, which should fall at the crux of this recap. The 90’s alternative hit would’ve been a rare treat for the band’s fans all in its own, but with Eggy one never can really say for certainty to what lengths or heights any particular tune will be taken. Past the feel good intro, the band shanghaied the Blind Melon cover through a colorful and exhilarating roller coaster ride of a jam, wigged out improvisationally enough, while retaining interest throughout, to be recommended as the first thing you put on should you come across a recording of this Pacific Standard Tavern set.
The band similarly gave it all on originals like “Hux,” which wound through several different variations of that Eggy-style, staccato kind of funk rock, “Ricky Gervais,” which usually remains similarly funky on the low end but on this night alternatively shot upward for a rather powerful ending, and an ambitious, at times blissful rendition of their own tune “Yuck!” A title has never described a song so incorrectly before.
Fans and newcomers alike can check out Eggy twice in Connecticut this week, with shows scheduled for Bridgeport, CT’s BRYAC and New Haven’s Toad’s Place—this second stop at which the band will play a full set of Little Feat. Saturday night got a taste of this with the band’s set-ending “Time Loves a Hero.” Swimmer likewise continues on this week, with a show at Plattsburgh, NY’s Olive Ridley’s on Friday night. Beyond that, the Burlington band has a northeast run of dates scheduled throughout February.