Though they have stormed onto the scene on the strength of two critically-acclaimed albums, perhaps the only stronger consensus surrounding Deafheaven is their thrilling and intense live show. On Monday night, the band lived up to that reputation with a brilliant and electrifying show at the Wonder Ballroom that left the crowd craving even more.
For this show, the band performed their latest album New Bermuda in its entirety from front-to-back, with a brief appearance at the halfway mark from last year’s “From the Kettle Onto the Coil”, a single that in retrospect served as an excellent bridge between albums. Though the band eschewed the various interludes that are sprinkled throughout New Bermuda, opting not to bring along a piano for some of those gorgeous passages, the group otherwise did an excellent job of recreating the technical intricacies of the record in a live setting.
Guitarist Kerry McCoy showed off his skills throughout the night, and second guitarist Shiv Mehra contributed a couple of excellent solos as well. Drummer Dan Tracy was a sight to behold as well–it was a marvel seeing him lay down an easy groove up top with the barest hint of effort, while his feet were engaged in a frenzy delivering double-bass drum kicks. Vocalist George Clarke played the part of conductor, acting out many of the instrumental parts with a variety of hand gestures in a way that I am sure many members of the audience had done in the past as well. As the rest of the band was mainly concerned with getting their complex parts just right, Clarke stepped up to the role as showman, as he stalked the stage or dropped to his knees to deliver his impassioned shouts.
As great as the new record sounded live, the show went up another level when the band returned to play “Dream House” for the encore. The opening track from Sunbather whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and the feeling in the room was electric. Though the band is probably tired of the song after touring relentlessly behind the album, their performance was fresh and awe-inspiring. If only we could have heard the rest of the album as well.
The band dedicated their set and the tour to their opening act, the death metal group Tribulation. Though metal is only an occasional indulgence on my part, I enjoyed their set as well. They did an excellent job in preparing the crowd for the main act, as many in the audience were impressed by their technical virtuosity, if not their elaborate theatricality.