Never trust Google Maps.
It could lead to you wandering around for an hour in the heat, eventually abandoning all hope in technology. “Where could this place be?”, you’ll wonder. After stopping and thinking for a moment, you’ll remember that you are going to a Deafheaven show, and scan the area for black t-shirts.
Upon arrival at Beep Studios, we could sense the anticipation from the fans waiting around the courtyard; smoking on the steps, arguing over album superiority and gathering around one of the men they were all there to see. George Clarke‘s usual persona was surprisingly absent; out among the people his demeanour was the polar opposite of what we’d expect from the vocalist onstage. Polite, friendly and more than happy to stand for photo after photo with fans, he was signing anything they handed over. I instantly regretted leaving my copy of Sunbather back in Melbourne.
George eventually headed into the venue and the majority of the crowd followed, ready for their first taste of music for the night. Singapore locals Paris in the Making were up first and, with a few words from the band, they began their set. After a massive build up, the progressive hardcore group burst into a barrage of heavy hitting riffs and screams from the band’s frontman. They were tight, however their heavier moments were eclipsed by their “prettier” passages which illustrated the bands intricate instrumentals.
After the set came to a close, the fans scuttled out of the venue for another smoke and some air before the main event. “KittyWu are on a roll,” I heard someone say, and it’s true. In recent months the label/promoters have been doing everything right, bringing in Irish post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar and Japanese math-rock girls Tricot for successful shows. Tonight was not going to be an exception.
I wandered inside as the band was putting together the final touches before what was going to be a phenomenal set. The lights went down as the band (minus George) took to the stage, before bathing them in red. The band broke into ‘Dream House’ as George arrived on stage. He commanded the stage entrancingly, and had all eyes squarely fixed on him. Part commander, part conductor, he flowed with the music, punched the air and gestured to the audience to creep forward. Once he opened his mouth, letting out a frighteningly high scream, the audience was putty in his hands.
What followed was a phenomenal assault on the senses as the band made their way through the rest of their highly acclaimed sophomore album Sunbather. It was great to see the somewhat timid crowd begin to loosen up, as they sang along to the melody of ‘Irresistible’. The band continued with extreme professionalism and energy, creating the most incredible wall of sound I have ever faced. With the band still playing, George jumped into the crowd and the devoted carried their “master”.
As George screamed the words “I am my father’s son” during ‘The Pecan Tree’, you could both hear the emotion in his voice and see it on his face. The power behind those words gave the whole audience a look inside the man in front of us. His veneer slightly cracked, and I was reminded of the guy I met outside before the show. Just a man, with incredible talent.
The room was still charged with energy when the band put down their instruments and waved thankfully to the crowd. It wasn’t the loudest cry for an encore I have ever heard, but you could tell the fans wanted more. After a quick “piss break” (in a beer can, apparently), the band returned to treat the dedicated fans to their 10-minute epic ‘Unrequited’, from their debut album Roads to Judah.
As the show came to an end, fans rushed to congratulate the band as they walked through the crowd to their dressing room. Deafheaven tore away all expectations, and hearing Sunbather in it’s entirety had left us drenched in the best way possible.
By Ale Launech