One of the trademarks of Swans’ early period was playing at painfully loud volumes during concerts, to the point where some audience members would vomit or the police would stop the show. Gira was also notably confrontational with the audience, such as stepping on people’s fingers resting on the stage, pull people’s hair, and notably beating up anyone caught in the crowd headbanging, something Gira detested. This lent a reputation to the name Swans which was one of the contributing factors in Gira’s retirement of the band in 1997. Since Swans’ reformation, Gira has made a point of maintaining the intensity of their live show, stating that it is at once “soul-uplifting and body-destroying”. He has also sometimes turned off the air conditioning before Swans performed and compared the experience to a Native American sweat lodge.