For a rainy night in Atlanta, The Masquerade’s Hell venue was packed out on Tuesday, March 7th. The crowd was a diverse mix. Metal t-shirts contrasted against dedicated 9-to-5ers and PBR aficionados. That was to be expected considering the diverse bill for the show about to take place.
Emma Ruth Rundle was the first act up. Emma is a LA-based songwriter currently on Sargent House Records. She recently released a split EP with Jay Jayle entitled The Time Between Us. Emma often cites Kate Bush as an influence and it shines through in her ambient, crooning ballads. The crowd was rapt during Emma’s hazy, sometimes dark set. She appeared grateful for the warm Atlanta reception considering the brutal heaviness of the headlining act.
The next act up was This Will Destroy You, a Doomgaze instrumental band formed in 2004 in San Marcos, Texas. They are currently signed to Suicide Squeeze Records and just dropped a new single, “The Puritan”. The dim lighting set the mood for what was to come. As their guitarist took a sitting position to control his plethora of pedals, the crowd once again came alive. Their sound was distinctive—post-rock, transformative shoegaze. Most would look at the band on paper and write them off as an imitation of Explosions in the Sky; I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. Their guitar melodies have a sense of urgent beauty with a backdrop of an almost dystopian soundtrack. Their set was a seamless blend–silence only when it was part of the song. The inhabitants of The Masquerade’s Hell all bobbed their heads in unison, no doubt appreciative of the set they witnessed.
After a very brief intermission due to the bands back lining their gear, it was time for the headlining act. Deafheaven was formed in 2010 in San Francisco. They are currently signed to Anti- Records, an offshoot of Epitaph. The have been described by Rolling Stone as a “boundary-pushing blend of black metal, shoegaze and post-rock,” a most accurate description of their amalgam of influences and sounds. Their most recent album, New Bermuda, was named 12th best album of the year by Spin Magazine.
While the rest of the band were fine tuning the sound, their lead singer, George Clarke, came out to greet the crowd. He spoke personally to many of them, asking them what they thought of the show and thanked them for coming out. George also kindly thanked the crowd for giving the openers a good reception. They opened the show with “Brought to the Water”, the first track off their most recent LP, New Bermuda. This song set the tone for the rest of the set—it’s a brutal, punishing song with guitar overtures that veered the song into Shoegaze territory. George spent most of the set front row center with the crowd in the front of the stage, an intimate and vulnerable position to share one’s music. In a venue without a barrier, it made for great interactions with the crowd, who truly relished Deafheaven’s set.
Check out Peter Sigmund‘s photos from the show: