Deafheaven Delivers Epic Show at Mohawk

The sweltering Texas heat had just barely subsided when it was time for the bands to take the stage at the Mohawk on a Saturday night. An open-air venue, like the Mohawk, is a godsend for all parties involved since it offers an alternative hard to the sauna-like hotbox that is most Austin indoor venues.  Deafheaven, a band that has been vilified by metal purists for their genre-bending, decided to incorporate an even more atypical opening act for their tour in Drab Majesty, a retro-wave Los Angeles duo.  While both band’s music can be considered dark, morbid, and alternative, there is very little else that connects their sound, yet despite this, the show ended up being highly entertaining.


Drab Majesty has a tragic and disaffected aura that is framed with synth-heavy hooks and new wave beats.  The futuristic-looking L.A. duo mix their alien aesthetic with beautiful soundscapes that tantalize the ears and eyes. While Drab majesty seemed to entrance the audience at times, their music was a fairly stark contrast to the shoegaze metal of Deafheaven. 


After Drab Majesty left the stage, the San Francisco headliners assumed the stage in their classic style of humble pageantry. Lead singer, George Clark, is a hero to legions of fans who relate to his fiery masculine passion, which is ribboned with a relatable streak of self-doubt. Like Deafheaven’s music, which shirks the unrelenting testosterone of typical heavy metal for a more introspective slow burn, it’s fan base is also a bit more layered than your typical headbanger.


There aren’t many bands that can cover an hour and a half with only eight songs, but that is exactly what Deafheaven accomplished.  An obvious focus on their latest record, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, netted half of the songs on their set.  However  it was the tracks off of their first album, Sunbather, that gauged the most visceral reaction.  While the venue was already packed to a suffocating maximum, “Sunbather” got a rabid response from the pit and every echelon.



While the songs off the new album got head nods and recognition, the venue literally began to tremble during the encore performance of “Dream House”.  At some point, watching Deafheaven becomes less of a concert and more of a therapy session, as George’s screams are met with hundreds of others, and the expulsion of energy propels the energy in the building to unheralded levels. An intense night at Mohawk passed like a thunderstorm, going from tense and riotous until it finally dissipated into a serene calm.