This is my first review of a live concert for DutchMetalManiac. After reviewing records, I decided to give it a shot and do a review of a live show. So the chance was given to me, to go see one of my favorite (post-) black metal bands: Deafheaven. With support from Myrkur, they played in one of the nicest venues in Amsterdam. I’m talking of course about the Paradiso. Now, one day after that show, I’m still in a euphoric state of happiness.
I’ve seen Deafheaven before when they were touring to promote their second full-length Sunbather. They played in my hometown Tilburg, in the bat cave (013). That show was intimate, because it was such a small concertroom (sadly, the bat cave does not exist anymore). But their show in the Paradiso was slightly different. A part of that had to do with the venue itself. Every time I enter the concerthall in the Paradiso, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of this venue. It’s a former church and well, what is cooler than seeing a black metal band in an old church? The high windows, the height of the hall, the atmosphere, it all contributed to the experience of the (if I may say so) divine music. I’ve seen bands as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Beirut there, and all of the balconies as well as the ground floor were packed. That was not the case this evening. The balconies were closed and the show was not sold-out. However, it started to get crowded during the opening act of this evening: Myrkur.
It was half past seven when Myrkur started to play. That is quite early, so during the show you could clearly see the church getting fuller and fuller. Which was good, because Myrkur definitely deserved a full venue. Myrkur is the one-woman black metal project from Danish musician Amalie Bruun. Apparently, people in the venue were talking about that one of the guitar players from Mayhem was playing with Myrkur. I did some research and I can confirm it was indeed Teloch playing! He also played on Myrkur’s debut album. Anyway, the band was good. They played the songs tight, while front woman Bruun, dressed in white, stood in the middle as a mystical ghost. Her clean vocals reminded me sometimes of the Belgium band Brutus. Her screams however, didn’t come out as loud as I had liked. Some people in the audience did enjoy the folky black metal, but it was clear most of the audience was there to see Deafheaven.
By the time they started, the concerthall was crowded. People tried to get forward to get near the stage, while the intro tunes from Deafheaven’s newest record New Bermuda sounded through the church. They started with Brought To The Water, followed by Luna. The audience responded enthusiastically, lot’s of people were head banging while blast beats filled the room, or they screamed along with singer George Clarke. Who, by the way, was in shape this evening. His vocals were as sharp as the edge of a knife. And not only that; he was a good showman. He stood there like a conductor. Which, in my pinion, really suited the church. The rest of the band was more in a shoe gaze mood. They didn’t move that much, but it was clear they were enjoying their own show as much as the audience did.
During the more quite parts, the lights were mystical and it didn’t take long for me to get in a trance. The next song was Baby Blue. George Clarke stamped his feet on the stage to accentuate the drumhits. During this hypnotizing song, I noticed that the drummer used a piccolo snaredrum. Just a small and fun detail for the drummers out there of course. I found it quite special to see a drummer drumming blast beats on a snaredrum that most of the times is used by latin and jazz drummers.
After Come Back and Gifts For The Earth (Deafheaven played New Bermuda in total), they went off stage to return for two more songs. Even though an encore was a bit predictable, some people in the audience were clearly surprised as their faces light up. They played Sunbather and Dreamhouse (both from their second album Sunbather), while everyone in the fronthalf of the church were raising their fists. What can I say. I enjoyed every single second of this evening.