"An audience member towards the back of the room raises his skateboard in the air as some form of tribute."
There's a decent vibe around the outside area of this Former Royal Women's Hospital building, which is heavy on the Melbourne Music Week signage. Then once you locate the entrance and descend the stairs into the basement you'll feel as if you've arrived at a one-night-only illegal rave party. The bar is part of an excellent raised section that allows for a bird's-eye view of the mosh. Then down on the main floor there's some rostra up the back, which is a further visibility win. Four diamond-shaped projection screens stretch across the stage's back wall. And espresso martinis are served in jars. A couple of Eagles Of Death Metal T-shirts are spotted in the house, which is a touching tribute to the band whose Parisian concert turned into a bloodbath when gunmen opened fire inside the Bataclan over the weekend.
Melbourne-based outfit New War are like a punch in the clacker. Keyboardist Jesse Shepherd definitely owns some limited edition Eno vinyl. And singer Chris Pugmire has almost certainly attended his fair share of Eddy Current Suppression Ring gigs. Some of his yowls are just begging to be recorded for the getting-eaten-by-a-shuffle-of-zombies sound effects library. While New War may not be for everybody, they are definitely for this scribe.
DZ Deathrays' intro tape is Get Schwifty (from Rick And Morty). They fly as a three-piece these days and the dual duelling riffs thrash out at an impossibly fast pace. They open with No Sleep and its face-melting riffs. A crowdsurfer materialises during this number. That's some proper bass-drum rumble during Cops Capacity - it vibrates up through the sturdiest of shoes. There's already a decent-sized circle pit around the song three mark and security guards look worried then start talking into their neck bands/communication devices. The Mess Up is about right — we're all pretty messed up and sweaty. Reflective Skull is so brutal we worry about the soundness of this flagship venue's foundations. Shane Parsons is having a blast up there and obviously enjoys having a mate up on stage to exchange riffs with. He tells us tonight is the band's last 2015 show and then the crowd lose their minds for Gina Works At Hearts. These guitar lines are snarling. DZ Deathrays play a promising newie with an escalating, rising riff. A few single shoes are piffed about in the front section at set's close. And an audience member towards the back of the room raises his skateboard in the air as some form of tribute.
If there's a list bands get on that guarantees each and every one of their gigs provides a genuine circle-pit experience, DZ belong on top of it.
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