DZ Deathrays @ The Tote 27/4/12
We headed down to The Tote on Friday night for one of my more anticipated gigs of the year, DZ Deathrays. The Queenslanders have just released their stunning début album Bloodstreams, which has been highly acclaimed, and not just by me. Joining them on stage would be up-and-comers Velociraptor, a 12 piece band which include Simon and Shane of DZ Deathrays.
Despite the night getting off to a poor start when we were denied entry at Chicken & Beer on Little Lonsdale, we ended up eating and drinking at our now customary pre-gig Dumplings joint, armed with a bottle of red and a couple of six-packs and it only took a few minutes for the tram to get us to the iconic Tote Hotel in Collingwood. With a sold-out crowd, the front bar was full as entered at the end of Them 9’s set.
Velociraptor are quickly becoming one of my favourite new Australian bands. Their surf-pop is infectious, and they made it seem like they were having a great time just playing together. The low-set mosh pit of The Tote was full for their set as well, with punters not afraid to jump around in support of the support. I’ve become familiar with their song Cynthia, but the set introduced me to others including Hey Suzanne, Sleep With The Fishes and In the Springtime. I don’t think I’d enjoyed a support act as much since DZ Deathrays themselves had opened for Foo Fighters.
By the time DZ Deathrays took to the stage, the place was packed; as you’d expect from a sell-out crowd. Having recently been told to leave the stage at SXSW for playing too loud, it did not take long to realise that this is not a new issue for the group. Simon and Shane make enough noise to make-up for the small numbers in their group. The first half of the set featured old favourite The Mess Up, with green strobe lights flashing around the small venue. The group threw out face masks, in the style of their album cover, attached with 3D glasses, making for a truly mind-tripping experience. The majority of the set was made up of tracks from Bloodstreams. Lead single No Sleep was a highlight, and their track Cops/Capacity is well suited for live audiences.About halfway through the set however, there was a minor disruption as the vocal mic stopped work. Turns out playing loud can be damaging to the equipment. Forced to continue the set with limited vocal dynamics, the gig denigrated into a house party vibe with various crowd members, myself included, jumping on stage and crowd surfing their way out again.
It really was a brilliant set, and I’m glad I can finally check crowd surfing off my life to do list.