It’s safe to say it’s a royal flush for Swim School’s sold out show that sees them end their UK tour in triumphant fashion with support from Lizzie Esau creating a perfect synergy of musical styles.

It would appear that this might be common knowledge as the venue has already filled out before anyone even sets foot onstage – it’s the afore mentioned Lizzie Esau, Newcastle’s own alt-rock muse (and her live band) that open proceedings. They absolutely killed their set, mixing it up with long fuzzy, drum heavy guitar intros set against lighter reverb and dreamy sounds. They are reminiscent of Wolf Alice – especially on song “Jellyfish” with that catchy bass heavy intro – if you’re a Wolf Alice (or Swim School) fan you’ll love this band. They’ve got tunes that will get stuck in your head. The lead singer’s vocal style varies between airy vocals to layered reverb laden screams, a wonderful duality that works perfectly. Lizzie also plays the guitar and when she’s not doing that she’s jumping around all over the stage and engaging with the crowd. I look to the crowd and I see fans singing along and recording, this doesn’t surprise me as the band sound exactly how they do on recorded tracks – I will be back to see this band next time they’re down! 

When Swim School hit the stage, lead singer Alice Johnston greets the adoring crowd as they head into their first few songs. Screams from the crowd can be heard in the quieter moments and it’s so loud they nearly drown out the lyrics for storming single “Bored”. You can feel the connection as Alice goes on to state how Glasgow has been “the best crowd on tour” and declares the bands appreciation for the fans and she points to the to a fan in the front row of the audience “you especially”.

The band are constantly are moving around energetically, creating a great stage presence and an above all else, an entertaining performance. The grungey influence shines through on songs “Over Now” and “Give Me a Reason Why” with dramatic drumming, guitar stabs and layered melodies. The fans are going crazy for the band, especially during rock heavy song “Delirious” when Alice climbs into the audience and throws herself around in a great mosh pit with fans while guitarist and drummer are killing it on stage.

We’re back on stage now as Alice sips her Moretti and catches her breath “That was insane” and it was! The disco ball shines on the next song as the band preform their saddest most intimate song “To Grow” juxtaposed against madness of the previous song – this one was emotional as Alice couldn’t finish the song and was consoled by her bandmates on stage. The swiftly move onto “Seeing it Now”. Alice again assures the audience of her appreciation of the fans and gives an ode to the musicians in the room “you guys know what’s it’s like dreaming of touring the UK, just one person is enough so to be singing in front of 600 of you is absolutely crazy”.

As the set comes to an end an explosion of confetti pours from above and the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” begins to blare from the speakers. The band take a bow after jumping in excitement. On exit – Alice hugs the front row of the crowd. Overall this was an incredible performance from the band and we will only see them grow from here. 

Words and pictures: Rose McEnroe @rosemcenroephoto