One of the sweetest rock ‘n’ roll ironies lies in a Mick Jagger quote from a 1975 interview with People: “I’d rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45.’” Since turning 45 in 1988, Jagger has reneged on his words over and over again, making untold bundles of cash through the power of nostalgia.
But when Swans returned to flight in 2010, founder Michael Gira promised on the Young God label’s site: “It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act.” No irony there. Longing for Swans’ original run in the heavily-nostalgized No Wave scene of the ’80s has nothing to do with Gira’s current demands. In fact, if he were forced to pull out the old hits (like there were ever any legit Swans “singles”), Gira might just fulfill the G.G. Allin promise of self-sacrifice onstage.
Swans in 2015 is a collection of highly-talented ascetics, punishing themselves in the search for some art rock truth. With atonal stretches and marathon grooves, the sextet dives into half hour songs with an intensity most bands can only maintain for three minutes. With Little Annie, of fellow No Wavers Annie Anxiety and the Asexuals. $20, 7pm, Paper Tiger, 2410 N. St. Mary’s