Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Hype

Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
July 2, 2014

I literally knew nothing about Deafheaven before the show and, dog's honest truth, I had not heard one note of their music.  The only "facts" that I knew about the band going into the show was (1) they're evidently from San Francisco and (2) they're one of the most hated Metal bands amongst purests.  Both of these facts intrigued me so much that awhile back I decided to avoid listening or reading about the band until I saw them live.  My brain was hard pressed to remember the last time I went to see a band without having heard their music first.  I was curious to see if the hatred towards Deafheaven was warranted based on their music or if people hated them only because of their hipster fanbase. 

Anyway, I still don't believe Deafheaven are really from San Francisco.. but if they are I would like to know their favorite S.F. taqueria.  I think only 3 other people seemed to recognize the 'Jump In The Fire' riff when their tech played it during the changeover.  Of course, Metallica are that band their parents listen to anyway... I was also fascinated how well coiffed this "Metal" crowd was with the guys being very metro.. and no one was wearing a band tee except for me and a kid wearing a Forbidden shirt.  Awkward.  Then a hipster wearing a beanie and hipster chino shorts stood next to me but he smelled like a crust punk.  I was confused.

The set began promising with around 5 minutes of an ambient drone played over the PA as an intro tape; I liked that it wasn't the standard "Metal" intro.  Then the "local heroes" walked onstage... the packed in crowd got very excited... the band started... and then the singer started screeching.  I guess Deafheaven are called "Black Metal" because of the vocals?  If this is "Black Metal" it's the shopping mall Twilight version of it.  They'd be better if they had songs as I got bored pretty quickly.  Two songs into the set and I was also reminded how the whole 80's Post Punk sounding Metal thing confuses me.. but Agalloch and Beastmilk do it in a better and more interesting way.  Another random thought that popped into my head as I watched Deafheaven was that their crowd would be terrified at a Neurosis show.

My Deafheaven experiment ended up not being nearly as dramatic as I thought it might be.  They are an average "Metal" band whose singer is admittedly charismatic and has stage presence... but the screeching vocals subtract a lot of points.  The music isn't necessarily bad but I got bored pretty quickly.  I still don't know if all of the hate towards them is justified (there are ALOT of average Metal bands out there... ALOT..); I disliked Liturgy more when I saw them.  I am curious if Deafheaven are one of those "safe" Metal bands that serve as a gateway band for their fans to discover the real deal Metal.  Discuss amongst yourselves.

If you bought one of every Deafheaven merch item you would have paid around $160, which is weird because their fans don't seem to be a merch wearing crowd at all.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. I didn't hate Deafheaven but I did clean out my head on the drive home with another San Francisco band.

Yes, I have 490 Metallica tracks on my iPod.. and none of them are from Load, Reload, or St. Anger.  Guilty as charged... but dammit... it ain't right.