The almost religious experience with DEADLETTER at Lafayette tonight has certainly put a glow on the evening as I skip toward the dirty tube back to Balham, colourful lights and mosh pits still flash-printed in my vision.
Let’s go from the start.
It was a noticeably stylish crowd. Seemingly older and more esteemed than your average, but you should clearly never let that fool you into thinking they’d be more subdued.
I arrived minutes before DEADLETTER were due to enter the stage, but there was no sense of urgency in the air. It’ll happen when it happens and when it happens it’ll be fun kinda vibes.
The band’s entrance was just as haphazard. As if they were setting up for the band. George Ullyott’s bass guitar strap was hanging off. It could have been a disaster in any other band’s eyes.
After frequenting a fair few gigs, I’ve picked up a few patterns. You can tell within three songs if it’s worth staying for the rest; this absolutely was. And if it’s worth staying for three, you’re in for a treat with the rest. It’s one way or the other, never flat.
The last few shows I’ve been to have unconventional frontmen (see our STONE review).
I wasn’t expecting this one.
Although frontman, Zac Lawerence, didn’t say a word to the crowd until four or five songs in, he had immense power over how they acted and drew his energy from the room.
His calm confidence exorcised your inhibitions and without saying anything, people were crowd surfing after just a few songs. But it wasn’t just collected confidence, he had bouts of erratic, infectious energy releases. As if there was nothing else his body could physically do to expel any more energy – apart from combust. At some point between me glancing down to write a note and looking back up he was topless.
Lawrence’s movements are synonymous with the scene in Home Alone where Marv is electrocuted. Then that scene has been recreated as a puppet show and the puppet was mastered by Mick Jagger; I genuinely thought he was about to levitate.
As a band they’re unreal. Distinctly unreal.
They’re an exemplary nod to countless hours of practice. The breaks in songs held actual split-second silence in the venue (minus the odd pissed bloke giving us a brief snippet of their life troubles as they were shouting in their mates’ ear at the same time) which is a testament to their exacting attention to detail.
There’s a unique interconnectedness in their tracks and performance. To best describe it, I instantly just knew that they shared a house. That’s how much time they collectively spend immersed in their work. I’d also put £100 on one of them being really good at juggling, but that’s unrelated; I’ll let you know if it’s ever confirmed.
As a band of six, they struggled to fit on the stage which is probably why Lawrence was in the crowd so often.
A more angsty Talking Heads, their moody lyrics are met with frenetic yet coherent shows. There’s almost a feeling of entrancing possession that will have you acting out of sorts if you’re not careful.
Instrumentally, there’s a hint of early Foals in there, with each instrument having a distinct almost unrelated role in all their songs that collectively creates a rhythm that’s difficult to consciously follow along, but easy to groove to in its entirety. Like a Disney film where the individual sounds of nature universally create a banging sing-along.
They delivered a mix of new material and some crowd favourites like Madge’s Declaration, Binge and Fit For Work all wreaking havoc and causing the floor of Lafayette to bounce as if we’re stood on a flimsy scaffolding board.
It was topped by a stellar production of the lighting in the venue that added to the hellish moodiness with a threatening red ambience for songs like Weights, mixed with turbulent strobes during the choruses.
With Lawrence now just watching over the chaos he’s created like a proud dad watching his son run across their annoying neighbour’s lawn, everything just seems to make sense.
Their abrupt exit from the stage confirmed the nonchalant turmoil of their entrance as just a means to be on stage and play.
It explains their insane unity in performing as a group, their lack of words, and the almost out-of-body experiences we witnessed.
Nothing can faze them.
But they might faze you.
Their tour continues into June so be sure to get yourself down
Sat 06 May – Are You Listening, Reading, UK
Thu 11 May – The Great Escape, Brighton, UK
Thu 18 May – Supersonic Block Party Festival, Paris, FR
Fri 19 May – Festival Foul Weather, Le Havre, FR
Sat 20 May – London Calling, Amsterdam, NL
Fri 26 May – Polar Bear Club, Hull, UK
Sat 27 May – Live At Leeds In the Park, Leeds, UK
Sun 28 May – The Ferret, Preston, UK
Wed 31 May – Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh, UK
Thu 01 Jun – Jimmy’s, Liverpool, UK