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DZ Deathrays brought the heat in a ferocious live set

Absolutely killer. 

These New South Wales were first-up on support duties – descending on the early-birds with strobe lights and signature nipple tape. They landed jabs firmly and squarely on the jaws of all those with a pretense of authority. At times, you caught the scent of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’. They seem to finesse its violence and dystopian cinematic feel as they jousted irreverently with punters and bounced over the stage with more than your typical punk-rock mojo.

Following act Clowns ratcheted up the tempo to breakneck and kept it there until further notice. Their enthusiasm and energy seemed limitless. Frontman Stevie Williams did everything with the smile of a man who’s in love with his craft. He swung the microphone around wildly, leapt into the crowd and back again just because the song deserved it.

At this juncture, the crowd was a well-oiled machine and with the shrapnel still warm from the explosions preceding, the lights went dark and the crowd smelt blood. The DZ Deathrays boys hit the stage, manned the axes and struck the first shriek of ‘Shred for Summer’. The guitars sliced through the dry-iced fog and into your skull, and though there was no bass guitar on stage, the low-end rumbled through your legs.

The set-up was simple, yet dangerously effective. Simon Ridley on drums, Shane Parson on guitar and vocals, and Lachlan Ewbank manning the support axe for the tour. Parson’s and Ewbank’s fuzzed-up octave-laced lines frequently buzzed in and out of dissonance with each other, in that pleasing, muffled kind of way.

DZ took occasional mercy on the crowd, delivering comparatively gentle tunes like ‘Northern Lights’, which are pleasantly slower-paced, and ascend beautifully. They still maintained the gruffness of the guitars and rambunctious delivery, though it was restrained and offered a much-needed respite.

Some pieces saw the crowd absolutely light up, transforming from relatively tranquil head-bobbing to all out chaos. See ‘Blood on My Leather’, a grenade of a song that saw the whole bottom floor crashing into each other in an ecstatic catharsis. Heads were firmly banged and crowds were surfed, with plenty of sly glances to your fellow punter for a cheeky laugh and grin at the absurdity of it all.

Their last effort was the most anticipated, ‘Gina Works at Hearts’. Recognition of its opening riff drew a chorus of loud yells and saw most get a second-wind, diving head first into the mosh. Each note from the fretboard matched in intensity and volume from the crowd. By the end they were spent, the crowd stood firm when the boys left the stage until an encore was had. To which the DZ boys responded in with anthem, ‘Dollar Chills’.

By Matthew Toohey 

Highlight: ‘Blood on My Leather’.  

Lowlight: None, absolutely none.

Crowd Favourite: ‘Gina Works at Hearts’, no contest here.