I pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind as Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming aka Hockey Dad took to the stage, kicking off the night’s proceedings in fun, energetic fashion. The excitable duo have received some well-deserved exposure of late, thanks to their Dreamin’ EP of last year. Thrillingly, their live show was every bit as impressive, with the pair managing to keep the audience enthralled for the entirety of the set thanks to their winning collection of well-crafted surf rock gems. If this particular performance was anything to go by, there’s little doubt they will be headlining their own string of sold out shows in no time at all.
Next up were semi-regular Deathrays tour buddies Bass Drum of Death. Hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, the band – currently consisting of John Barrett, Len Clark and Josh Hunter - have built up quite the devoted following over the last couple of years, thanks to some extraordinary live shows and solid album releases.
B.D.O.D devoured the audience from the word go with a dynamic selection of cuts derived primarily from their last two releases - 2013’s Bass Drum of Death, and last year’s Rip This. While tunes such as ‘Left for Dead’ ‘Crawling after You’ and ‘Electric’ were delivered with typical gusto, the band weren’t the only ones in fine form during their fifty minute set - the tightly-packed crowd in attendance also proved to be quite entertaining from where I was standing, what with all the extreme head-banging and go-go dancing on display (yes, go-go dancing).
Following B.D.O.D’s departure from the stage, the crowd quickly shuffled off for beers and/or the bathroom, before returning to wait with restless anticipation for the evening’s headliners to show their faces. Before long, the Thin Lizzy track blaring out at us faded into silence, signalling the long-awaited arrival of the almighty DZ Deathrays. Taking their positions on the stage above, the band dove straight into blistering performances of ‘Gina Works at Hearts’ and proven crowd-favourite ‘Cops/Capacity’, both of which seemed to inspire Andrew WK-levels of party-hardy joy within the crowd-surfing, stage-diving, beer-soaked audience.
The connection between those on and off the stage became increasingly evident as the night wore on, with the band and the fans feeding off the each other’s dizzying energy levels. The momentum of the set was unrelenting, with each song delivered with more intensity than the last. At one point, it looked as though they may possibly have peaked too early with an utterly mesmerising performance of Black Rat highlight ‘Northern Lights’. Thankfully, there was plenty more DZ excellence up their sweaty sleeves.
When the moment inevitably arrived for the immortal Brisbaneites to depart the stage for the direction of the after-party (which we, the audience, were all kindly invited along to), I finally resigned to the fact that DZ Deathrays are simply incapable of having an “off night”. It was stupid of me to even entertain the possibility, really. Further to this, I have a sneaking suspicion Shane and Simon are really only getting started, and that we have yet to see even half of what this great band are truly capable of.
So, with that in mind, allow me to offer some friendly advice: if you are lucky enough to be in the vicinity of one of the City’s the band are playing in during their Get Rich or Drunk Tryin’ Tour, then stop reading this right now and go snap up those last remaining tickets, ASAP!