The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: Swim Deep

Melissa Blanche contends with a sea of girls at Deaf Institute to report on NME’s new favourite expose


Deaf Institute  –  May 28th  –  7/10

Swim Deep are the band to follow.  At least, that’s what NME says.  Are they though?  Is there anything in this dreamy beach indie music from Birmingham that’s worth more than a pleasant listen on a sunny afternoon?  I believe so.

As soon as I walked into Deaf Institute I found myself amongst a sea of excitable girls in a pink-lighted room.   Quite a scary situation.  Luckily, the main support – Baby Strange – were well worth a listen.  The three lads from Glasgow have got themselves a strong recipe going on; short songs, dark looks, Ramones-esque music.  The singer’s stage presence is as captivating as his Scottish accent is sharp – that is to say, a lot.   “Do you wanna loosen up?” he asks the crowd.  They are definitely a good band to loosen up to.

Finally, the Birmingham boys arrive on stage.  With their extravagant looks and nerdy haircuts, Swim Deep are well in keeping with their hipsterish image.  They reel off their set properly and efficiently, but Austin’s voice lacks a bit of strength.  But that said, the forthcoming album, Where The Heaven Are We?, does sound promising. ‘Red Lips’ in particular is a track to look out for.  The crowd is pretty well-behaved, no one tries to invade the stage as has happened in previous gigs, despite the sing-along success of ‘Honey’.  But ‘She Changes The Weather’ is far and away their best effort of the night.   Suddenly, band and crowd are in sync.  The gig ends on the rapturous reception of debut single ‘King City’.  By this point, the crowd is enchanted, and the singer ends up jumping in the crowd, driving the army of girls that I mentioned crazy.  It is slightly a case of too little too late though, you can’t help thinking he should have done that from the beginning.

Albeit often compared to other Birmingham-based bands like Peace and Jaws, Swim Deep do seem to have their own thing going.  With their dreamy beachy music heightened by Austins’ unique vocal, you can see why they are considered to a modern indie band to follow.  But I’d say that their live show doesn’t quite match up with the sound of the studio.