Neon Swing X-perience keeps the '90s swing revival alive | Pittsburgh City Paper

Neon Swing X-perience keeps the '90s swing revival alive

Neon Swing X-perience
Here To Stay


I won't blame you if you don't remember it, but back in the '90s there was a Voodoo Glow Skulls album called The Band Geek Mafia. Perhaps the Neon Swing X-perience doesn't recall that album's music, particularly, either. But in principle, it's a phrase that pops quickly to mind upon checking into the group's new album, Here to Stay.

The band, headed up by vocalist and trumpeter Mike Urick, is predicated on an antiquated concept of "cool" and, by extension, a feeling of "uncool." That's not a slag -- it's a very conscious move on the part of the band, brought to the fore in songs like the original "Tragically Uncool."

To be perfectly honest, harping on one's own squareness isn't exactly my bag -- nor, really, is swing revival. But there's bound to be an audience for anything that exhibits the kind of energy and positive vibes of a foregone, romantic era of music, just as there are niches fixating on just about every historical era. (Think of all the neo-hippies out there, and, going beyond music, Civil War re-enactors and Ren Faire people.)

And, because the X-perience has been doing its thing since 1998 -- the time of the original swing revival -- there must be someone, or a good number of someones, paying attention. Fair enough, as the band's execution is spot-on. Urick is a plenty capable vocalist, exhibiting a growl evocative of, but a bit smoother than, icons like Louis Prima (whom the band covers among the album's six non-originals).

It's not for everyone, and the Neon Swing X-perience is well aware of that. In fact, you probably already know from the group's name whether you'll like it. But if you're cool with being uncool, and pine for the past, you might check it out.