Deadlights: ‘Bathed In Venom’ Tour @ Workers Club, Melbourne

Deadlights have been very quiet since the release of Mesma in 2017. So of course releasing “Bathed in Venom” in April was super exciting for Deadlights fans (like me!), and it was even more exciting that the Brisbane band were hitting the road in honour of it. Workers Club was the venue of choice in Melbourne, and locals rugged up and made their way to the cosy Brunswick St favourite.

To Octavia were in full swing when I arrived. There was a lot going on on stage, and it took me a bit of time to adjust to it all. I couldn’t tell if it related to my unsettledness from a mad dash to the venue after wrestling to fit into my car park or was something else. When the feeling persisted, I kind of figured out what it was. To Octavia’s vocalist Matt Morris came across frantic and unsettled in his stage presence, which seemed at odds with the more introspective feel that I got from the rest of the band. The contrast was unfortunately jarring and distracting at times. I don’t remember this being the case when I saw the band previously, so it may have just been an off night for him.

With this aside, To Octavia wowed with their melodic choruses, earning a lot of crowd love. Sharing songs from their recently released EP Nocturnal, I was loving the bass tone, the entrancing rhythms, and the singing from Adam Kirk-Holmes. The band are a good fit for Deadlights’ sound. The grandeur of “Do You Feel the Same? (I Wonder)” was a stand out. “After All” ended the set and I appreciated the roughness of it, the effort from drummer Lucas Keurntjes, and the bass riffs. I definitely need to check out Nocturnal!

If you blinked, you probably missed Starve‘s set. The Melbourne band have just 11 minutes of music under their belt, but it packs one hell of a punch. Unlike the Alpha Wolf show, I was present from end to end, as Starve came charging at the Workers Club band room, feeling thick and energised.

Starve are a great live band, where barked and stuttered rhythms and downward lurching riffs are just as at home as dancing. They’d go instrumentally wild before pulling it all together in a brake-smashing slowdown for a breakdown.

With eyes rolling back in their heads with these songs, the set was a two-step feast with riff fatness and drummer Kylan Ridings working hard behind the kit. Frontman Jordan Dunbar roaringly urged for more moshing (the crowd obliged) along with their bouncing and gutter scraping lows. And as magically as Starve had arrived? They were gone.

Anticline followed, coming down from Ballarat for the show. This set and its sound went down smoothly, which seems like an odd thing to say when there’s roaring fierceness coming from the stage, but the band’s rhythms and bass riffs were drawing, and once you’re drawn in, guitar lines play upon you. Something about Anticline is really easy to sink into.

I’m relatively out of words, so picture a sense of having to keep up, but then pockets of bouncing easiness and roared interludes. Picture also intriguing guitar melodies which have you putty in Anticline’s hands. I found myself watching the ridiculousness of the drumming, and then other pieces adding onto this, such as intensity from guitarist William Baker. It was really easy to be swept up into the experience with the band, and I’m sure everyone in that room was bouncing along with these songs.  Anticline just keep getting better, and have come a long way already in their relatively short history as a band.

During Jordan Dunbar’s feature on “Salience”, a crowd-killing idiot decided to make himself known, gatecrashing another punter’s good time. After a literal mic drop, Jordan transformed into superhero mode and leapt from the stage to swiftly sort it out. Get some pit etiquette, hey? But the show went on, full of leaps and jumps, beats to make yourself at home in, and more. Listen to Anticline.

I’m usually pretty detailed with my notes, but it’s hard to be meticulous when you’re soaking up the live experience of one of your favourite bands! As well as the recently released “Bathed In Venom”, Deadlights have been working on much more new music behind the scenes, and they decided to start their set with one of them! The new track was introduced by an instrumental focus, all slow and steady. Climbing bass added hype and buzz, before our ears were treated to signature Deadlights harmonies, stops and starts and a hefty breakdown. I’m waiting patiently for whenever this might be released!

From there it was straight into the familiar with “Wavelengths” and its stuttering rhythms and sick harmonies. It was great to hear voices along with mine singing along to this, and the guys of Deadlights were taking it all in. Frontman Dylan Davidson was making connections with intense eye contact and bassist Sean Prior threw out a ‘Woo!’.

Before the show, I said I’d cry if Deadlights played “The Translator” or “The Shapeshifter”. Well I didn’t exactly cry, but it was certainly a warm happy place having “The Shapeshifter” fill the Workers Club bandroom around me. The amazing song was just as amazing live, and packed a sonic punch as well as hitting its lyrical message home. As usual, it left me wondering how vocalist and guitarist Tynan Reibelt sings so incredibly. He’d have my vote for the best singer of the scene if there was such an award!

Dylan briefly expressed the importance of each of us present, being just as important as the band themselves. There had already been a lot of love in the room and it was great to see Deadlights being celebrated like this.

Straight back into the music, “Attitude and Longitude” came at us with its explosive start. My attention was frequently on Dylan, who is one heck of a captivating frontman. From air drumming, to leaning into the crowd, to bouncing around the stage, Dylan comes across much like a conductor, or like some kind of happy glue in human form that keeps it all together. Insert expected comment about the magical harmonies of Deadlights. It’s true though. At some point, Joshua O’Callaghan’s passionate drumming led to a cymbal finding its way off its stand and onto the ground. Have I already said that every member of this band nails their individual craft? Because that’s true too.

Deadlights then played “The Mad Scientist” which felt fun and energetic despite the fiery subject matter. Things were pretty sweaty at this point but we weren’t done and the set rolled on, landing into newest song “Bathed In Venom”. This was ridiculously, wordlessly good. Every single line hit home with severity, and Tynan’s vocals were again incredible, as were the harmonies. I don’t know, I kind of just want everyone to experience this for themselves.

Deadlights swerved into another new track, which seemed bass heavy at first before blowing out into something fuller. My attention went to the drums, noticing how Josh always looks like he has a great time behind the kit, and this rhythmically erratic/stunning track is probably a pleasure after playing just the songs of Mesma for some time now! Deadlights came across as such a united front as a band, and the track ended back in bass territory where it began. I loved it! As well as being keen to get my hands on the lyrics.

Going into “Preconceptions”, I was surprised how much everyone present was into this song, whether singing and dancing along or punching out to the erratic rhythms. When it came to “Invisible Hands”, I wrote nothing at all. Put simply, it was heart-filling, amazing, singable, and big. “Order Without Order” is where the set finished, feeling easy but empassioned. It’s such a great song to be swept away by with its urgency, and lend your voice to. “If it were only that easyyyyy”.

Deadlights, I love you guys. It’s always a pleasure. See you in August for the Greyscale Records Showcase!

[Photos by Liam Davidson]
Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it. [Loved the read? Shout Kel a latte.]

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