DZ Deathrays, 13th April 2012 @ The Zoo

on 14 April 2012 in Gig Reviews


DZ Deathrays

Damn Terran blast into their opener tonight; loud and forceful, they waste no time in demanding the crowd’s attention. The band shares the same realm of noise rock that DZ inhabit, but there’s a strong hint of grunge mixed in to their sound that sets them apart, and for the most part the set is enjoyable and the crowd seem appreciative, if quiet. New single ‘Rebels’ is particularly enjoyable; a well-crafted slice of aggressive rock. The combination of female and male vocals gives it a fairly unique flavour, while the loud / soft dynamics of the verses builds and maintains tension. It’s a solid performance tonight, and goes a long way towards establishing Damn Terran as a band to watch.

Velociraptor take to the stage as an 11 piece tonight, give or take the occasional guest, with both members of DZ, also founding members of Velociraptor, returning to the fold for the set. At their best, the band is raucous, melodic, catchy and charismatically entertaining. At their worst they’re just raucous, and both sides are on display tonight. The large band means that there’s always something interesting happening on stage, but at the same time it feels that the space restrictions stop them from putting on as expressive a show as they would otherwise be capable of; members having to dodge and weave between instruments as they move across the stage. There are a few different singers tonight, but main vocalist Jeremy Neale is definitely the best front man Velociraptor have, his awkward charisma easily pulling the attention of the crowd, and it’s a noticeable absence when he’s stuck behind the drum kit for a couple of songs. The 60s pop throwbacks are enjoyable and the music has a lot of charm, ‘Hey Suzanne’ and new single ‘Cynthia’ in particular have a jangly and infectious enthusiasm, which sees the clearly excited crowd begin to dance along.

From one extreme to the other, the two men behind DZ Deathrays take to the stage to a massive cheer. The Zoo is sold out tonight, a significant achievement for a local band, and the audience has clearly been waiting for DZ. The previous politeness is quickly replaced by one of the most intense crowd response the venue has seen in a long while; an absolute embrace of the band’s party spirit. A throbbing moshpit at front of stage plays host to a constant array of crowd-surfers, including both members of the band at different points, and there’s a steady stream of people sprinting up on stage to hurl themselves onto the seething mass. Security looks a bit frustrated, but seems to be handling the situation well, keeping things safe without destroying the atmosphere.

In short order, DZ show that they can make just as much noise as the larger groups tonight, making good use of loop pedals and delay, as well as a very thick sounding drum kit to create a wall of melodic noise. As with the opening acts there’s a faint retro touch to some of their tracks, but for the most part they’re the first band tonight that really feels ‘of the moment’.

The visual setup is outstanding as well. Heavy smoke and oscillating backlights make the familiar venue feel completely new, and gives the stage a cavernous sense of space. It’s a thoughtful arrangement which avoids the pitfalls of a small band and the silhouette of singer/guitarist Shane Parsons is surprisingly captivating. It’s touches like this that show that DZ Deathrays are definitely on top of their game and will be quite comfortable controlling festival stages over the coming years, a result which seems happily inevitable at this point.

It’s a very short set in the end, clocking in at a little over half an hour, and more would have been appreciated – the crowd certainly wants an encore – but what there was has been intense, enjoyable and thoroughly impressive. Not bad for a house party band.

- Sky Kirkham


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