Sunday, August 25, 2013

Deafheaven @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles. 8/23/13.

Deafheaven are blowing up. Back in May the band opened for veteran noise rockers Boris at the Echoplex, five months later Deafheaven headlined and sold out the same venue themselves. On paper, the San Francisco natives sound, a dizzying blend of black metal and shoegaze/post-rock influences doesn't seem like a recipe for accolades or huge success. Deafheaven however manage to pull the whole thing off rather well. Really fucking well. The underground metal and punk rock media having been going apeshit for the band's latest album Sunbather, so much so that even mainstream publications like Rollingstone are trying to get in on the buzz while they can. Deafheaven had played Los Angeles many times before but this was to be my first time seeing them live and I didn't really know what to expect. I personally enjoy Deafheaven's dreary to ethereal nine minute epics as chill out music. The barrage of blast beats and floating guitar melodies are startlingly hypnotic, inviting reflective thoughts and zoning out. In other words, I was totally unprepared for shit storm that took place once they hit the stage.

The crowd inside the Echoplex was equal parts rapturous and downright ravenous. I understand the first part, Deafheaven's music could be described as both sweeping and inspiring. However, I fail to understand how moshing, crowd surfing and tossing cans of PBR around is warranted...during the slow parts. I think most of the shenanigans were due to the vast spectrum of Deafheaven's fanbase. I'm no anthropologist, but it appeared as though the folks with little to no exposure to tremolo picking where the ones getting the most belligerent, but hey, who am I to judge? To each their own. Long story short, the crowd loved them some Deafheaven.

The band played Sunbather in it's entirety (save for one interlude track) which was tantamount to Christmas morning for most inside. Really, the new album is that good. From the moment they launched into "Dream House" the band not only commandeered the stage, but the audience's sanity as well. I can't honestly say the band's raucous reception wasn't entirely welcome. The mood was festive inside to say the least. Besides, the breakdown near the end of "Dream House" that gives way to that soaring guitar wail is so epic, I'm glad that burly dude behind shouted "YEEEEAH" like from Team America: World Police, because it deserves it. My highlight of the night was watching the band nail "The Pecan Tree," their drummer in the American Psycho shirt in particular. During their encore, playing "Unrequited" from their debut album Roads to Judah, vocalist George Clarke's mic went out. For over an hour the dude had been slamming his microphone stand into the stage and swinging it around like a rogue band leader before it finally decided to end it's own suffering. Without missing a beat, George kept shrieking into the audience at the top of his lungs, amplification be damned. The emotional intensity of Deafheaven's music is even more pronounced in their live show. That explains the king's welcome they received at the Echoplex. Check this band out ASAP. 

Mellow vibes on this one folks. Promise.


  1. It's pretty awesome he didn't skip a beat when the microphone died on him. I think he probably earned that one too.

  2. Nice sound, nice versatility.. people moshing during the slow parts though. I understand not judging, but you're still allowed to laugh. Right?

  3. This sounds like so much a fun buddy, really pleased you had such a great time!