Modern Fix

SWAN – by Jason King


Normally, club Venus is the last place I’d think about spending my Saturday night. As much as I love to embarrass myself on an undersized dance floor, something always seemed to come up. Last weekend became the exception as Swan’s CD release party started at around 10:00. The DJ’s shut down and the Abuse took the stage. Start to finish, aggressively dissonant yet fairly melodic hardcore metal. The crowd ate up every minute of it. Surprisingly the female singer didn’t pull the band through a Kitty imitation (which is refreshing at this point) and really managed to get the crowd worked up with some kick-ass stage presence.

Then the real fun started. Pain rituals predate recorded history and are still practiced by many civilizations around the world… including ours. Up on stage they were performing two sets of energy pulls.

Energy pulls (as shown in the pics) are performed using two or more people tied together by inserting hooks through their skin (generally through the chest or back) and running nylon rope through the “eyes”. Once the people are attached to one another they pull in opposite directions, adjusting force to self-regulate comfort. While not as extreme as suspensions, the feeling is like a warm rush. Adrenaline and serotonin are released into your blood in massive quantities, dulling the pain and bringing on a euphoric haze which can last up to several hours after the pull is over. The piercing was done with a single “skewer” approx. 7” long, inserted through the mouth, piercing both cheeks. At first, the crowd seemed to be quietly feeling out the whole experience. This gradually grew into a thunderous applause for the performers who seemed too focused to take much notice. As they left the stage, more DJ’s started up. I river-danced my way into the crowd just in time to see one of my favorites from the night start his set,DJ Peacemaker (Bill from Chronic Tattoo). After an hour of dancing and several cigarettes later, I was pumped up and ready for the nights main event. Swan started out with a several minute pre-recorded intro of eastern chants and percussion. This culminated in an explosion of syncopated drum rides and tightly choreographed guitar lines. The club went fucking crazy. Swan is nearly incomparable to any other band. The closest description would be a combination of Sepultura and the Deftones. Hard hitting metal with jazzy undertones and melodic breaks. The plan was to have two people, suspended by three hooks in each knee, hanging behind the stage as the band played. When the curtain was dropped, it turned out that the suspensions were almost hidden from view by two huge speaker cabinets. One of those “good idea, bad idea” things. Swan played for almost an hour while people cycled back to get a better view of the hidden performance. The show ended as aggressively as it started and they pulled a huge applause from the crowd. After Swan finished, more DJ’s threw down hip-hop and jungle till about 2 a.m. as people slowly left. Damn good show. If you ever get a chance to see Swan don’t pass it up.

(The body rituals were performed by members of Stigma Body Modifications, InR.NrG. and Dr. Jeffes. For more information contact Modern Fix Magazine, the shops or check out