On Saturday, January 23,, SWMRS played an insanely cool show at FUNZONE. The bleached-out punks started off their set with their single “Like Harry Dean,” which features ripping guitar solos behind a screaming vocal chorus; the song’s twangy tones of classic, gritty punk were complimented by refreshingly smart and witty lyrics. FUNZONE is an alcohol-free, all-ages venue and thus it was the unadulterated adrenaline of teenage angst that created a feedback loop of energy from the band’s amplifiers to the audience’s bodies and back to the band. You could’ve powered a city with the amount of electricity radiating out of Santa Barbara’s premier underground rock venue.
The hormonal high schoolers created an epic and rowdy mosh pit, and, of course I joined in. During the calm of the song intros, the teens would push the crowd to the edges of the small venue to form an empty, open circle in anticipation for the drop of thrashing chords and heavy drums. Once it arrived, the moshers simultaneously threw themselves into each other, pushing and shoving with glee. SWMRS hit song “Miley,” a song about the band’s admiration for Miley Cyrus’s unsympathetic sexuality, brashness, and overall punk rock-ness, was the third song of the set and everyone seemed to know all of the words. Screaming at the top of their lungs the horde yelled, “You bring the bleach! I’ll bring Chlorine! We can die our hair some color that nobody has ever seen…Miley you’re a punk rock queen!”
After losing my phone in the pit, finding it miraculously unscathed, and returned to the ticket booth, then lifting a few teenagers to crowd surf on top of some out-of-place, proper adults, SWMRS decided it was finally time to end their set. “This one is called ‘I Hate L.A.,”’ said Cole Becker, lead singer and guitarist. The song degrades every nook and cranny of the city of angels and even throws some L.A.-based bands under the bus, too. If you don’t listen to punk, then you might not understand why tunes like these are so quintessentially awesome, but if you are a punk rock fan then you know exactly what I mean. Punk is not about hatred, it’s about an innocent snootiness and carelessness that all equates to freedom, and on Saturday, for 45 minutes, those in attendance were about as close to freedom as is physically or metaphysically possible, and it was all thanks SWMRS.