Local alt-rock band Swerve performed at Harvard & Stone as the opening act for rock nâ€™ roll group The Hellflowersâ€™ debut EP release party.
Swerve landed on the Los Angeles scene just last fall with the debut of their self-titled EP. Theyâ€™ve been on the rise ever since, developing a strong local fan base and drawing comparisons to alt-rock pioneers such as Oasis, Gin Blossoms, R.E.M. and The Replacements.
Singer-songwriter Gregory Mahdesian leads the band with a vision of staying true to the foundations of alt-rock. Together with local musicians Casey Baird on drums, Ryan Berti on guitar and Brandon Duncan on bass, Swerve creates songs reminiscent of the Britpop and Grunge movements with a modern sensibility along with a healthy dose of their Californian personalities.
At the East Hollywood speakeasy Harvard & Stone , Swerve played an early set to an enthusiastic crowd. They performed tracks from their self-titled EP, as well as a handful of new tracks from their upcoming EP. Swerve took to the stage in normcore attire (button down shirts and jeans), with Mahdesian declaring â€œthis is the earliest and sober-est weâ€™ve ever played.â€
The band opened with â€œKnow It All,â€ a grungy jam rock song, showcasing Duncanâ€™s catchy bass line and Mahdesianâ€™s deep vocals. Next, they played a new track â€œKennedy,â€ which will be featured on their second EP. This upbeat song created the ideal ambience for a prep school dance; the drumming was precise and distinct like heartbeats, as Mahdesian sang, â€œIâ€™m better off nowâ€¦â€ with a nostalgic longing.
Throughout the evening, the audience enjoyed sneak previews of several brand new tracks. One of the highlights was their catchy new single â€œAre You Coming Home With Me.â€ Although it was the first time theyâ€™d played the song live, Swerve performed the number with confidence and finesse. Another new song, â€œDumb Romeo,â€ was possibly the strongest performance of the evening. The track featured an intense usage of dynamics, with soft, intense vocals followed by loud, passionate guitar strumming. Mahdesianâ€™s vocals soared as he delivered this track with a strong range of emotion.
Next, Swerve embraced the original fans in the crowd as they performed their very first single â€œRemedy.â€ Mahdesian sings with conviction, “I’m gonna take you far from here,â€ accompanied by grungy guitar riffs. The band closed their set with a fan favorite â€œAw Hell,â€ a gloomy track off of their first EP. Mahdesian sings, â€œsorry that Iâ€™ve hurt you,â€ with a clear sense of despair.
As a whole, Swerveâ€™s live performance created a reflective and moody ambience with their melodic, guitar-driven tunes. Although the bandâ€™s older songs were tried and true fan favorites, the newer tracks stood out as more complex, transporting the group out of the 90s and into a distinct new era.
Swerve continues to perform locally while recording a second EP, expected for release by the end of this year. Upcoming performances include a Tuesday night residency at Resident in Downtown LA this May.