Last Sunday night, the genre defying maestros of Deafheaven enchanted the crowd at Baltimore Soundstage. On this current tour, in support of their excellent last album ‘New Bermuda’, they are joined by Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You. This was a night to behold, so let me dive straight in to the review without further ado.
Emma Ruth Rundle and her band were the first to take the stage, opening the set with the track “Run Forever” from the album ‘Some Heavy Ocean’. The crowd was slowly building up, and they were soaking in the lyrics of her songs. A flawless delivery with dark and very mature lyrics highlighted the performance, which was a near album quality like performance. With the seven song set, capped off with the track “Heaven” from her latest album ‘Marked for Death’, Emma Ruth Rundle mesmerized the crowd. The gracious yet somber performance was well appreciated by the crowd and she left the stage to a very well deserved rousing applause from the crowd.
This Will Destroy You, a “largely” instrumental rock/metal band from Texas, who took the stage next. Sandwiched between the somber mood bought to the stage by Emma Ruth Rundle and the unhinged energy of Deafheaven. The opening track “The Mighty Rio Grande”, which is from their decade old self titled album, was perhaps an ode to their home state. The excellent guitar work lays the basis for the signature sound of this quartet, which is enhanced by the impeccable timing of the drumming. I love the sound of this band and it has been a constant companion, especially at my work, for some time now. The six songs set was well appreciated by the crowd, hooting and screaming at the band every time they stopped for a few seconds after a playing a song. The last song of the set, “Little Smoke”, erupted to a cathartic drone like crescendo towards the end, providing the perfect backdrop for Deafheaven.
Now was the time for Deafheaven, the headliner of the night. George Clarke had come on to the stage to check the microphone before the band took the stage and everyone in the crowd started going nuts. Folks, hold your horses, you need to wait for a few more minutes here. Once the lights dimmed, Deafheaven took the stage, opening the set with the track “Brought to The Water”, the opening track of their last album ‘New Bermuda’. Right from the word go, Deafheaven unleashed sheer madness on the stage, which lasted until the very end. The unrelenting vocals of George Clarke behind the microphone, in contrast to the largely calm stage presence of the other band members, was the highlight of the show. Mind you, the calm demeanor belies the excellent guitar play of Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra, ably backed by the bassist and the drummer. Additionally, George Clarke was bounding around the stage showing off some cool moves, like that of a symphony director, and the crowd was digging it. A high school kid who was right next to me in the front row was exhilarated to get a fist bump from George Clark. Constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional genres, Deafheaven is certainly one of the most creative bands around. The set was somehwat short, with eight songs, capped off by “The Pecan Tree”. Musically, this was certainly one of the finest nights I have had in a while. My only gripe with this show was the lack of a photo pit, but I can see how a barrier would have hindered the interaction of George Clarke with the crowd. That interaction between the band and the crowd is one of the single most exciting things to witness or be a part of. The styles of the three acts are quite different, yet similar in the mood. This current tour is still in its midway stages with a bunch of remaining dates, I highly recommend you attend it. And be sure to stand in the front row, it WILL be crowded, don’t say I didn’t not warn you!