New Swears Albert Island, Ottawa ON, August 21

New Swears Albert Island, Ottawa ON, August 21
Photo: Calum Slingerland

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As opposed to putting their records on in the comfort of your own home, the truest way to experience the music of New Swears is to see it in a live setting. In between moments of half-baked stage banter, Ottawa's beloved party punks brought a celebration to Albert Island that was built around some of the wildest stage moves one could imagine: getting a piggyback ride from stagefront security, handing their instruments to audience members to play, using their feet in place of fretting hands, and leaving the stage to get food from festival vendors mid-song all amidst the intermittent blasts of confetti guns from a man dressed in a giraffe costume. If the Flaming Lips had designed their stage show at the height of a weekend bender, this would be the result.

The antics reached their peak when the band brought out a friend of theirs dressed as Born in the U.S.A.-era Bruce Springsteen for a "special one night only" run-through of "Dancing in the Dark" before a riotous performance of original "No Fun," which saw guitarist Beej Eh climb the fire escape of a nearby warehouse for some heightened riffing. His bandmates opted to hop in the crowd to lead the adoring mob in chanting the song's memorable lyric "I'd rather be fucked than be myself."