August 22, 2018 Deafheaven Destroys The Wiltern Los Angeles, CA 8-18-18
Being a part of a tour’s final date is always special, particularly when that show takes place in a beautiful venue like The Wiltern in sunny Los Angeles, California. Over a thousand fans braved the heat on Saturday, August 18th to get nice and sweaty with genre-defining outfit Deafheaven as they finished out a five week tour around the U.S. celebrating the release of their mind-blowing new album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love.
To help round out the lineup, Deafheaven brought along “Tragic Wave” duo Drab Majesty and up-and-coming New York City Hardcore outfit Uniform. If it sounds like a strange, incongruous lineup, well… you are right. For some reason, this bizarre mix of genres and sounds all meshes together perfectly to create one phenomenal night as these three bands laid it all out for one final night.
Now, if you have not heard of Uniform, then you have been sleeping on one of the most exciting young Hardcore bands in the scene. With this show happening the day after the release of their latest album, The Long Walk, out via Sacred Bones Records, Uniform were definitely out to celebrate. The three piece band, consisting only of Vocalist Mike Berdan, Guitarist Ben Greenberg, and a drummer who happened to be filling in for this last week of tour, Uniform find their power in bare-bones, minimalistic ideas that somehow result in massive sounds and lyrics that hit like a swift kick in the face.
Backed only by a projection of the band’s crucifix-scythe logo, Uniform crashed onto the stage and roared through the majority of their set without so much as a pause. Berdan’s raw vocals rang out over the growing crowd, and he seemed eager to work up the too-still fans in the pit by waving and slamming the mic stand and hanging over the edge of the stage.
It was not until two songs from the end of their set that Berdan took a break to thank everyone in the crowd for showing up early, and getting everyone hyped up for the insanity to come. Uniform finished off their set with a powerhouse performance, somehow making one guitar sound like a full band. They exited the stage to a huge cheer from the crowd as the stage began to take shape for the entity that is Drab Majesty.
For the unsuspecting concert goer, one might expect Drab Majesty to fall in-line with the harder, edgier sounds of Uniform and Deafheaven. However, any expectations were immediately shattered when Deb Demure and Mona D took the stage clad in shimmering silver jackets, platinum wigs, and, of course, dark sunglasses. Since coming into being in Los Angeles and 2013, Drab Majesty has released two LPs including 2017’s The Demonstration, along with a host of singles and EPs containing a swath of revivalist Darkwave tracks reminiscent of Bauhaus and Joy Division.
As the stage filled up with some appropriate tone-setting, obscuring fog and deep purple lights, Drab Majesty charmed the crowd with “Induction,” “Dot in the Sky,” and “39 By Design,” the first three tracks off The Demonstration. Filling out the space between songs with dreamy soundscapes, Drab Majesty easily charmed the hometown crowd. Keeping their set moving with the upbeat “Kissing the Ground,” “Not Just A Name,” and “Too Soon To Tell,” Drab Majesty laid on the charm and kept the audience hypnotized despite being relatively chill on stage. Then, the band closed out the set with the emotional “Cold Souls.”
Overall, the crowd seemed thrilled with the band’s performance, awarding them huge cheers as they left the stage for the final time that tour. Following that, however, as the stage was gradually bedecked in bright sunflowers prior to Deafheaven’s arrival, a buzz of anticipation filled the room from pit to balcony. Fans knew they were about to become a part of an unmatched experience -and they were right to think so.
It is extremely difficult to describe Deafheaven to one who is uninitiated, but to simplify it, think of something along the lines of laying in a lush meadow, gazing up at the sky on a perfect day, and then becoming surrounded by a swarm of poetic bees. That is sort of akin to the sound that Deafheaven have been pioneering since the band formed in San Francisco, California in 2011, combining lush Shoegaze reminiscent of Slowdive with Black Metal vocals and explosive riffs.
Earlier this year, the band released Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, an incredible seven track album that is likely to find its way near the top of several Album of the Year Lists. The band would draw heavily from this album for their eight song set – yes, an eight song set that ran for well over an hour – and it was likely the first time many fans would be hearing these tracks live.
With that in mind, Vocalist George Clarke, Bassist Chris Johnson, Drummer Daniel Tracy, along with Guitarists Shiv Mehra and Kerry McCoy made an unassuming entrance onto the stage to massive cheers from crowd. They kicked off their set with eleven minute epic “Honeycomb,” following that up with “Canary Yellow” and fan-favorite classic “Sunbather.” It was astounding to watch Clarke switch from intense headbanging, to belting out raw vocals, to stalking around the stage like a ghoulish conductor – in the best possible way – during the band’s lengthy instrumental portions. As the band rolled through “Brought to the Water” and “Night People,” idyllic home movies featuring the band played merrily against the backdrop.
Though it did not possibly feel as if it were time, the ban exited the stage before quickly returning to thank the other bands on the tour and express his gratitude to the fans. Clarke even commented that despite the bizarre lineup, it totally worked. Then, Deafheaven concluded their set by sharing “You Without End,” and two older tracks – “From the Kettle onto the Coil” and the beloved “Dream House.” With that, Deafheaven called it a night… and a tour.
The audience, still buzzing, milled around The Wiltern to discuss all that they had seen before heading out into the warm night. Though this tour may be over, Deafheaven have already announced another full U.S. tour this fall that covers some new cities, so gather up your tickets as soon as possible if you want to experience a set unlike any you have seen before.