The Tramshed is fast becoming a hub of music excellence lately and although I had hopes for tonight to be a sellout deep down I knew ticket sales wouldn’t be as high as expected. This kind of niche metal struggles in the South West. Bands I’ve seen fill out 1000 capacity venues in London and up north I’ve sometimes seen play to only 20 people in Bristol. It’s a promoters risk but perhaps tonight a downsized venue would have favourably suited both bands.
The only support comes from Los Angeles duo Youth Code. The air is so quiet that a pin drop could be heard right now. It’s early, the venue is desolate and their industrial beats bounce off the walls leaving an unsettling echo, that, despite their enthusiasm onstage doesn’t carry as greatly as they’d like.
Their love for Marilyn Manson comes as no surprise as dominant singer Sara bounces around the stage in a tattered shirt boasting his face, not to mention their samples that easily sound like they’ve been lifted off Manson’s earlier work. Industrial can be a fickle genre, back in the 90s it was ecstatic, it was thrilling but it’s also one of those niches that hasn’t quite aged as well we’d like. Their sound isn’t as refined or as refreshed as it could be. A conflicting thanks but no thanks for coming earlier leaves a stale taste as they finish their set. Enthusiasm 10/10. Fresh to the ears 3/10. But whatever.
Deafheaven grace the stage like gods despite the meager crowd here tonight. Within seconds the mood is thrown down a notch, it’s suddenly more sullen, pure and has the crowd fixated.
Songs go on for relentlessly and looking around the venue heads nod in tempo, gracefully. The band and crowd feel connected on a journey. The way singer George moves around the stage and wafts his hands around like he’s orchestrating the atmosphere around the venue. It’s their symphony and you’re going to enjoy it. Their music could easily be described as beautiful chaos.
George feels more grateful than the previous act, thanking the crowd for being here with them, which makes it feel more like an occasion than your standard metal gig.
Deafheaven endeavour to find their place in the scene and despite the smaller crowd tonight they embrace the music in a humble manner. Between the crowd and band is a mutual sense of compassion and appreciation.
DeafheavenTramshed Cardiff - 26th April, 2017
Photographer: Nadine Ballantyne - www.nadineballantyne.com