We went along to the Tassy band’s recent Melbourne headline show and it was an absolute treat.
The night was brewing with anticipation at the Northcote Social Club, as people drank their beers and eagerly awaited for Tasmanian devils A. Swayze & the Ghosts to materialise on stage. This marked the band’s biggest headline tour, following their recent tour to the UK to perform at the Great Escape Festival, along with supporting The Nude Party throughout different shows. They have also played at Splendour in the Grass, BIGSOUND, Falls Festival and other exciting events, so it was no wonder that people wanted to see more of these garage rockers.
Support bands Spike Vincent and Porpoise Spit kickstarted the night, both throwing energetic shows that set the tone for an epic Friday night. The relaxed mood of the Northcote Social Club started to shift, morphing into barely concealed excitement at the punksters that were about to come out and play.
When A. Swayze & the Ghosts dived straight into their set, people immediately started jumping up and down, forming a moshpit that lasted for pretty much the whole show. The band’s stage presence was enthralling, particularly when viewing vocalist Andrew Swayze in action – his devil-may-care attitude and unhinged enthusiasm is contagious, depicting just how much he loves performing in front of an audience. He would’ve definitely been the class clown back in school – this was evident as he would continuously wave his arms around, stick his tongue out and be an absolute goofball, adopting a dramatic tone into his vocals at times and even wrapping the microphone cord around his neck.
However, as much as Swayze is a born entertainer, he would also take the time to really savour the moment. He would sometimes stand still and just soak in his audience, letting the rest of the band work their magic and enjoy the spotlight. One of the highlights of the night was when the band played their hit new single ‘Connect to Consume’, which really captures their lively spirit. The catchy riffs paired with Swayze’s rough vocals really captivated the crowd, as they sung along to all the lyrics. ‘Suddenly’ was another track that earned an enthusiastic response from fans – the bold track fired up the moshpit, while Swayze let loose onstage, swaying and dancing to the beat.
One of the more complex songs that A. Swayze & the Ghosts performed was ‘Reciprocation’ – a fuzzy, raw track that goes for ten minutes. Swayze’s gritty vocals would occasionally give way to a scream, enhancing the angsty vibe of the song that revels in an unfulfilled relationship. As the track progressed, it got darker and further fuelled by desperation, until Swayze repeatedly screamed “why am I waiting for you?” multiple times towards the end of the track. Somehow, these pained wails really struck at the heart – perhaps because so many people can relate to the feeling of unreciprocated love. This was quite a striking performance by the band, and a memorable one at that.
Amongst their performance, Swayze thanked the other bands and the audience for coming to see them. He called Melbourne “a second home” and then toasted the crowd and drank his beer. It was nice to see him and the rest of the band engage with their audience, their animated stage presence hooked everyone in – the Ghosts fanbase is definitely on the rise.
Highlight: ‘Connect to Consume’ is just too catchy.
Crowd favourite: ‘Suddenly’.