Concert Review: Deafheaven, This Will Destroy You, and Emma Ruth Rundle, 3.16.2017


Deafheaven has become one of my favorite live bands for many reasons. I’ve seen them numerous times over the past few years and they have always delivered great performances. Hell, I saw them twice in one day during Chicago Open Air last year. But what I’ve respected as much as anything else is the diversity of the lineups they perform with. Tribulation, Envy, Carcass, Between the Buried and Me… the list goes on and on. Varying bands from varying forms of metal, one tour to the next. This lineup at the Paradise Rock club a couple weeks back, featuring the likes of Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You, might have been the most intriguing (or curious) yet.

The ‘Dise, which lies down by BU on the Green Line in Boston is… not one of my favorite venues. The setting is fairly shallow and extremely wide in front of the stage. With large pillars running floor to ceiling, there’s a decent chance your view could be, well, compromised — at the main floor or in the balcony. Furthermore, because of the shallow nature of the standing area, photo pits weren’t a thing for this show… but that could also be because of the rather interactive show that Deafheaven brings. So all that disclosed, I spent most of this show wandering around, which I guess was kinda fun. In fact, the constant motion was probably healthy given the absurd amount of caffeine I always consume before a show. I’m like a god damn squirrel at these things. Anyway, moving on.

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I’ll start by saying Emma Ruth Rundle is amazing. I remember listening to Marked for Death when it came out last year. I enjoyed it, but never really gave it much time. Too many other things were going on in the metal world or something. The set this evening, however, definitely kept my attention from start to finish. The folky post-rock nature of her sound is just layered with emotion and it truly was an impressively moving set. Emma seemed very appreciative of the tour, the audience, and seemed just as absorbed in her music as the rest of us. It was actually fairly uplifting in its soulful nature. I was digging it and the crowd seemed to agree. We all had fun. Hurray.

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 Enter This Will Destroy You. So while Emma took progressive music in one direction, TWDY went in another direction entirely. An instrumental band from Texas that I would nestle somewhere between If These Trees Could Talk and Mesarthim. Or something. I love both of those bands, so all good by me. It’s spacey, it’s droning, it’s continuous… it’s amazing. I have listened to these guys for a little while now, but always in a setting where I wasn’t doing much. Like at work. So I didn’t quite know what to make of them opening a Deafheaven set. Seemed weird. And it kinda was weird. The set certainly felt prolonged, but it was also a set you didn’t really want to turn away from. It was very entrancing and I just stood there gazing at the stage, totally disengaged from the setting I was in. It was peaceful. A pretty damn cool experience.

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Ok, so I opened this whole thing by mentioning that I’ve seen Deafheaven live a bunch of times. So I’ll start by acknowledging the fact that I had an idea of what to expect from this set long before I committed to this show. I mean shit, I’ve seen them at least four times since New Bermuda dropped. They always deliver though so at the end of the day that familiarity only matter so much. And right on queue, as I positioned myself next to the stage (best spot to shoot from that I could fine) George Clarke and friends stepped out and greeted us with “Brought to the Water”. Not a new opening, but a song that does so well as an opener that I’ll never question it. As I’m sure you can imagine, a healthy dose of this set included the most recent album, with “Baby Blue” and my personal favorite “Come Back” following this opener. What I enjoyed most about the performance was the deviation in the middle third of the set. Bringing us “Language Games” from Roads to Judah and the cover of Mogwai’s “Cody” from their split with Bosse-de-Nage was a really, really turn for this set to take. I alluded to the set being broken into thirds, and the final segment was dedicated to three tracks from Sunbather, beginning with “Dream House”. Interesting that they didn’t close with it this time, but I’m glad they are still throwing it in there.

Deafheaven sounded as impressive as they always have and George Clarke was certainly not shy about engaging the crowd verbally or physically. Encouraging the crowd to battle their way to the stage was entertaining to witness from my vantage point as well. He seems to like Boston, and Boston seems to like him, and that makes me happy. But regardless of how you feel about their music (I love it, if that wasn’t clear), their live show is something to witness at some point. This was no exception.

…Another Deafheaven show in the books.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

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