Deap Vally + Skaters + Black Dollar Bills, O2 Academy, Birmingham 07/11/13
Deap Vally Opening for Deap Vally are the free-flowing rock riffs of local band, Black Dollar Bills. With a set of booming drums and roaring guitars, this is exactly what you’ve come to expect from a support band of the Californian duo.
Black Dollar Bills It’s not the first time the four-piece have supported Deap Vally, having already opened for them at the Rainbow earlier this year. It’s evident that some of the crowd near the front are familiar with their strong riffs and effortless guitar solos; their set comes alive with a memorable final two songs. Up next are laid back, indie band Skaters. Throughout their tight set is a cutting edge that will be remembered by many in the audience. Long hair, baggy coats and a few beers are the name of the game here, with carefree but heavy tunes that are swiftly executed.
Skaters Combining some jagged electronic beats with raucous vocals from frontman Michael Ian Cummings, it’s a winning combination. Skaters, who look at home on the stage straight away have attitude in abundance; they’re definitely a band to look out for. Entering the stage with swagger fresh from the Californian hills, Deap Vally are ready to do what they do best; quite simply, be badass. Sadly though, opener ‘Raw Material’ doesn’t go to plan, with not only Lindsey Troy’s first guitar failing on her, but the replacement too. It’s just rock and roll though, yeah? Once the guitars are fixed the band finish the song on top form; it’s testament to their spirit. In a two-piece, chemistry is vital and it’s here where Deap Vally comes alive. ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ is a post-feminist thrash of empowerment; Troy’s intense, raw vocals and Julie Edwards’ sassy hair flicks embody this. ‘Bad For My Body’ has everyone in the crowd involved, with Lindsey Troy straying away from her microphone in between lyrics for a little crowdsurf; meanwhile, the pink lights of ‘Creeplife’ gift the front woman with her first ‘hand in the air moment’ of the evening. The sarcastic lyric, “…and don’t think I’ll be visiting you in jail” has Julie Edwards battering the drums to within an inch of their life.
Deap Vally After this comes respite from the non-stop, feisty rock and roll we’ve been treated to so far. ‘Six Feet Under’ is about as ballad-y as the band get, with Edwards taking on a more prominent vocal duty. This song is slower paced, but what it lacks in tempo it makes up for in a purely savage riff. Meanwhile, crowd favourite ‘Lies’ sets a sultry mood in the air, with a wash of bright red lights. The end of the song sees the front-woman crowd surf around the venue, with Edwards playing a frenetic, accompanying drum solo. Album opener, ‘End Of The World’ has Lindsey Troy demanding attention, with shouts of “come on everybody, listen up!”. The focal point of this track is an earth-shattering riff that encourages some guitar in the air action. Seemingly playing the song a little slower than on album Sistrionix, it gives a more laid back and grungy feel. After coming back on for their encore, without further ado they kick into one of their most popular and well-known tracks, ‘Baby I Call Hell’. Before hearing the band, I first heard this song on an advert of some sort; I can confirm that it’s considerably more badass when it’s not coming through my TV. And with that Deap Vally leave the stage to roaring cheers and applause from the adoring crowd. These girls are one of the hottest live acts on the planet at the moment; I’m pleased to report that rock and roll is truly alive and well. Photographs by Andy Hughes.