The Brisbane, AU duo wrapped up their stint on Blood Red Shoes' North American tour here in Chicago, whipping up a colossal set stuffed with stoner-grooves, seismic riffs and seizure solos. Pulling at material from the recently released Bloodstreams, DZ conjured sounds at once violently curative and magnetically danceable. Shane Parsons slashed stringent chords over Simon Ridley's noxious stomping, forcing the album's tracks through their own seams. The squalls of distorted guitar were perfectly matched by Parsons' shriek, but his more subdued vocals on (slightly) less aggressive songs showed off some of DZ's depth. The band, famous for getting kicked off the stage at SXSW after drowning out an entire convention center, has built their reputation on similar performances. That said, to chalk them up as little more than yet another noisy punk/metal duo would be a jarring misstep.
DZ Deathrays' dynamic approach to song-crafting was on full display, as the thrash-heavy set was tempered by post-punk dance romps and Space Odyssey blipage. Every time some jackass gets on-stage with a laptop at a club, there's some equally jackassian music blogger in the crowd ready to declare said band "the future of music." I'm rolling my eyes too, but there is a place for the sounds of science fiction in rock music, and DZ have found it. As Parsons tinkered with his pedals, an array of melting squeaks and sour drips fizzled his guitar, leaving Ridley's snapping percussion to it's own devices. The resulting moments felt distinctly New Wave, an almost shocking turn for a band so seemingly focused on the rupturing of eardrums (and likely entire skulls). On "Dollar Chills," DZ meshed both approaches, riding a laser wave straight into the chunky, Leviathan barrage of the song's chorus.
DZ Deathrays' studied series of build ups and releases played out like multiple orgasms, and by the end of the show I was content in the numbness of over-stimulation. The Scott Pilgrim-y crowd that gathered to see Blood Red Shoes had been properly fucked, and responded with a clamor the headliners never came close to receiving. I can't begin to imagine why BRS invited these Aussies to open for them. When I spoke to DZ's lady-at-the-merch-table after the show, I asked her how the hell they wound up on the same bill. After fumbling through something about them being a good fit, and Blood Red Shoes being deceptively heavy, she bowed her head and said, "I wouldn't want to have to follow them either."