There’s been so much fuss surrounding this band that there was bound to be a lot of anticipation about tonight’s gig. It sold out over a week ago and Lennon’s is packed with people desperate to find out if the local-band-set-to-make-it-big tag is justified.
Dead!Dead!Dead arrive on stage wearing suits and waistcoats with their glasses strapped on round the back. Not obvious rock gods, they do have immediate stage presence; especially lead singer, Neil Dunsire. And so, we all hold our breath.
They open with a belter, ‘A List Of Things Not To Forget’, which is a melee of frantic guitar riffs, rhythm, and deadly bass. After whipping up the crowd, the song ends and deadpan Neil comments on the ‘fairly good turn out’. This naturally raises a few smiles considering they’ve packed out Lennon’s on a Monday night and have two hundred pairs of eyes glued to them!
The second song is the frenzy that is ‘Jack the Ripper’ (with a Spanish twist). Spiced with heavy riffs and guitar solos galore, the band really start getting into it, heads banging like mad and hair flying everywhere.
The next tune, ‘Braces’ (which is apparently one of their early songs) didn’t seem to be going anywhere at first. Then all of a sudden everything came together and it began building up and up, louder and faster; and then it stopped. Just like that. Sudden yet stunning.
Us punters then get an inkling that we’re in for a bit of a treat when Neil puts his guitar down, heads over to the Hammond organ, and the first bars of ‘Vauderville’ melt in. To say this is a good song is somewhat of an understatement in my opinion, as I have to confess to a small case of the goosebumps when those first notes ring out! Matt Canning effortlessly takes over the lead vocals and beautifully draws us all into this dark, soaring ballad, leaving Neil to sing softly while hammering out the chords and pushing his sweaty fringe out of his hair (looking every bit like the Phantom of the Opera).
‘Vauderville’ is just one of those songs that gets to your soul and you’re not sure how or why. So much so that afterwards, you find yourself singing ‘My coffin, your nail’ down the street and then stop when you realise people might think you’re a bit strange.
The next song continues the mellow theme and Neil launches into full showman mode, going falsetto and gesturing theatrically. This one doesn’t seem as tight as the rest of the set and at some points there’s a bit too much going on. As the song ends, Neil and Matt give each other a look that says ‘let’s give them what they’ve been waiting for’ and ‘George Lassoes The Moon’ kicks in to massive cheers. They rip through this immense track with such energy, culminating with the drummer screaming his head off (without a mic!) Unfortunately the sound seemed to be a bit fuzzy. Maybe the Lennon’s equipment couldn’t cope with the strain?
It’s clear by now that Dead!Dead!Dead! work together well. They don’t try to outplay each other like some bands and you can sense them listening for the finished sound. There’s layer upon layer of different elements going on; the guitars mingle, the voices harmonise and the pace on the drums is supreme all combining to produce an original and unusual style. The songs soar and weave up and down and in and out, leaving you forgetting how they started with no idea where they’re going to take you.
Rejecting worn-out clichés of girls and drug taking, their lyrics pay homage to the solar system, making a refreshing change from traditional repetitive fodder. It’s a bit ‘War of the Worlds’; a bit highbrow; esoteric even, but somehow the lyrics still manage to get you.
As the finale bursts to an end the crowd release a collective breath and the smiles say it all; another few hundred people discover what the commotion is about.