Pretty much everything SWMRS begins with the same bit of trivia. Yes, this Californian punk rock band features Billie Joe Armstrong’s offspring – even if this wasn’t the case, though, one would imagine comparisons to Green Day would surely still be drawn.
After all, SWMRS, completed by frontman Cole Becker, his brother Max on lead guitar and bassist Seb Mueller, share many sonic traits with the arena-conquering band they’re so often associated with. A punk band at their core, their sound borrows a lot from out-and-out pop – LP ‘Drive North’ offers rousing choruses with frequent nods to The Beach Boys as much as Ramones, The Clash, or Stiff Little Fingers.
Highbury’s Garage is an ideal location for a sweaty punk gig, and while they don’t quite pack out the room there’s an abundance of super fans who know every deep cut, B-side and interlude – turns out that if you’re in to SWMRS, you’re REALLY in to SWMRS.
Thankfully for those less familiar with the band they justify such adoration with a rousing, politically-charged performance. The band make their punk ethic clear early into proceedings, leading the crowd in a chant of “Fuck Donald Trump, fuck Boris Johnson”. More impressive, though, is their set-list – hook-heavy but possessing a hardcore edge that brings them to life in such an intimate environment.
About an hour in and the venue has become a bona-fide sweatbox – mosh pits break out for every number and the movement from the crowd only pauses for jubilant, mass sing-a-longs. It’s a triumphant performance – if you’re after gritty, adrenaline-inducing punk, SWMRS are right up there.
Photos: Phoebe Fox