Michael Gira founded the seminal NYC band Swans in 1982. And since then Swans has performed in VERA several times, but it’s been a hot while since they’ve been here. However, this will soon change, as they’ll be back in Groningen in 2024!

Initially notorious for their relentless, brutal, high volume onslaughts of sound, the extreme, abject imagery of frontman Michael Gira’s lyrics and his thundering vocals, Swans would undergo a series of startling transformation over the next 15 years. Following the punishing Filth and Cop albums, the ensemble would venture into harshly mechanical proto-industrial rock of their Greed period, then both haunted atmospheric idylls and martial stomps on the Children of God double album. They’d conjure gentler acoustic-based meditations on The Burning World, then after relocating to Atlanta grand, melody-dense sonic whirlwinds of the White Light from the Mouth of Infinity and Love of Life era, becoming more dissonant and sharp-edged with The Great Annihilator.

Finally, the ultimate statement of that epoch of Swans, Soundtracks For The Blind (1996), incorporated all of these elements across well over two hours of music. At this point, Gira called it quits after 15 years of non-stop recording and touring, disbanding the group, but in 2010, Michael Gira reactivated Swans, releasing the studio album My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky to ecstatic critical response and touring the world for the better part of a year. The Seer, a triple album studio set, came out in 2012 and was celebrated by another lengthy world tour.

In February they’ll be touring again, coming back to VERA after nearly 10 years, accompanied by special guest Maria W Horn.

Maria W Horn is a composer whose work explores the inherent spectral properties of sound. Her compositions employ a varied instrumentation ranging from analog synthesizers to choir, string instruments, pipe organ and various chamber music formats.

In her recent compositions she uses acoustic artifacts from physical spaces to create musical frameworks for her compositions. Using these acoustic imprints as a starting point Maria weaves intricate harmonic patterns that slowly transform from intimate fragility to a searing high-density auditive experience.