Deafheaven @ Neurolux, Aug. 8, 2018 (Boise, ID)

This was my first time attending a show at Neurolux. It’s a small club with a well thought-out layout: the bar isn’t in the way of the performance nor too close to the stage; a wall separates the merch area, which is sizeable, as well as the bathrooms; and the sound quality is great. This is the exact type of place anyone would want to see one of their favorite bands. It actually reminds me of the type of venue that would’ve been in Brooklyn a few years ago, before the recent slew of considerably larger venues opened up.

I missed Uniform’s set to instead explore Boise’s downtown, but did make it for Drab Majesty. The duo really knows how to set a vibe. It’s all morose, dreamy guitar-and-synth-and-drum-machine-’80’s. Really cool projected visuals further helped set the vibes. Though it was dark, it could’ve been danced to. Unsurprisingly, Deafheaven fans don’t seem to be up for dancing.

Deafheaven opened their set with “Honeycomb”, the debut single from their latest album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which overall, the set heavily leaned towards. I’m not so sure that hearing these songs live has changed my opinion much that OCHL is my least favorite Deafheaven release since their 2011 debut Roads to Judah, but what it did do is reaffirm that Deafheaven are still one of the most impressive modern live acts.

There is an undeniable passion from all the band members as well as an incredible variety of vibes and personality apparent in each members performance. From the bassists high-energy, smiley, pep, to the vocalists cathartic in-the-zoneness, it’s a simple, veritable pleasure just to to shift between each of them.

The last time I saw Deafheaven, they were playing more heavily from New Bermuda, which greatly increased my enjoyment of that album. The extra layer of heaviness present on that album lent itself incredibly well to a live environment. As their most recent release is easily their softest, I’m not so sure I enjoy this aspect of their existence, recorded or otherwise. What I can say is, of the four times seeing Deafheaven, this was my least favorite. Even in saying that though, it was still incredible. The bands performance was as previously mentioned, incredibly tight and it’s just… an emotional experience, something that’s a bit difficult for me to find in a live environment.

My general feeling of the OCHL songs as being “less then” couldn’t have been more adequately highlighted than by the set closer, and fan favorite, “Dream House”, which for me was an exclamation point on a proof statement of the greatness of Sunbather vs. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. I think going forward tracks like “Honeycomb” and “Canary Yellow” will better integrate with setlists that are more representative of their entire discography. The band is touring behind their latest album so they shan’t be faulted for playing mostly from it, however.

Interestingly, the antepenultimate track was one-off non-album single “From the Kettle Unto the Coil”, which I’m completely in favor of as I absolutely love that track. Unsurprising, since I especially enjoy their darker and more intense moments.

All in all, while I would’ve preferred a more varied setlist, it was still proof enough that Deafheaven are one of the best live bands today, and as always, provide for a unique and highly emotional experience.

1. Honeycomb
2. Canary Yellow
3. Sunbather
4. Brought to the Water
5. Worthless Animal
6. You Without End
7. From the Kettle Unto the Coil
8. Dream House

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