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Deafheaven - Rachael Barrett-2The Rosemount Hotel
Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hot. A word that has been routinely attached to the San Francisco stylistic mashup that is Deafheaven. Also a word that will come to define the final show of their first Australian tour, as the mercury slowly starts to head back below the 40 degree mark.

First on stage were Perth natives, Drohtnung. After releasing a handful of demos as a one man outfit, the group is now a five piece and all the better for it. The lashings of depressive rage found on the formative releases are continued, but the bigger band is better rounded and creates a gloomier feel. Having played only a handful of live shows there were some early sound problems, however they seemed largely unruffled and shambled bleakly onwards. The stage presence of singer and band founder, Old, is unusual but effective, and his howling vocals polished off a suitably grim stage presence.

Next on stage were  Perth genre benders and stalwarts, Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving. Having shared stages with a acts as diverse as Boris, Russian Circles, Nadja and now Deafheaven, TTOL have rightly built a dedicated following, and a reputation as a somewhat chameleonic band. Dense, shifting, and covering a wide range of territory in stark contrast to Drohtnung’s ethereal stage presence, TTOL were all buzz, energy and nervous movement. By the time they hit the midway point of their set, the crowd had swollen and found its voice.

So finally, the band that 2013 seemed to spend a hell of a lot of time chatting about – praising or pillorying – Deafheaven, nonchalantly strolled onto stage. The anticipation that hangs thick in the air threatens to explode into mayhem as the opening strands of Vertigo gave way to the twin guitar and vocal howls. As gloved phalange acrobat George Clarke began the first of what will be many cantilevering adventures into the crowd, voices howled back at the stage wildly. Until the dying moments of debut release Roads To Judah’s Violet, the crowd remained captivated, bathing George in hands and screams, and applauding enthusiastically. Speaking to the band some 20 minutes before they took to the stage, they conceded that they, too, felt the energy swelling around them, and revel in these moments of future uncertainty and possibility.

On a day history will remember for breaking weather records, a diverse crowd of the obsessive, curious and in tune, will remember this performance above all else.


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