14th March | Fleece

This sold-out event at The Fleece came with a crowd packed with families, groups of teens and everything in between. SWMRS-mania was in full force as fans, adorned with flourescent merch filled the space between the infamous Fleece pillars quickly with a hubbub of excitement. Big Character, the Cardiff outfit, proved to be ideal openers for the evening. They only have a few tracks under their belt so far, yet their relative infancy wasn’t evident. Their tight works boast limitless promise.

Next up were Destroy Boys. From the outset, the band championed riotous fun, which remained catchy throughout. The gritty Sacramento group were refreshing; lead Alexia Roditis was the most propulsive of forces behind a fierce set packed with riveting hooks. Once they’d given us a rendition of ‘Territorial Pissings’, from there on, they displayed an inventive style which channelled American punk. Their ethos of unapologetic noise was a delight.

The penultimate act came from Zuzu. Accompanied by a band, the Scouse musician seemed massively popular in Bristol. Her woozy indie pieces remained light-hearted – enhanced by jovial anecdotes of supporting The Courteeners in the city previously. The set finished with ‘All Good’, a typical example of Zuzu’s bubbly material.

This joyous atmosphere permeated the entire night, with the moments leading up to SWMRS filled with raucous chanting. As the lights dimmed and the off-stage vocals of ‘Steve Got Robbed’ rung through, the five-piece jumped into position and sprung into ‘Trashbag Baby’. From having seen SWMRS on their ‘Drive North’ rotation, their progression into their ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ era came with a huge sense of maturity.

As Cole Becker flung himself around the poles of The Fleece, his commanding Jagger-swagger was truly enthralling to watch. As he lunged into the crowd, pulling up keen surfers to launch off the stage, the anarchic flair was a thrill. Musically, the band switched from the softened openings of their ode to ‘Miley’ to heavier ‘Lose Lose Lose’ ever so seamlessly. A huge draw for SWMRS is their work which tackles poignant messages that resonate with their youthful fans.

It became clear that they are a gateway band for those seeking their first rebellion. The community that SWMRS created felt wholesome; their music proved the ideal outlet for safety and to quell angst. The material from their sophomore album proved more politically-charged than their previous work. Combined with their debut work, the set was a myriad of charm.

Whether you’re an avid SWMRS fan or merely curious, witnessing the outfit here in the UK was a bit of moment. Having just bagged support slots with Muse, SWMRS are growing with rapid momentum and it was clearly understandable why. In years to come, SWMRS possess the potential to headline arenas as other pop-punk greats have done.

See the video for ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ here: