There’s no way around it- Minneapolis’ beloved Cedar Cultural Center looks a tad like a high school gymnasium. It’s part of its charm. It can also be a drawback, which is why it’s up to the performers to outshine the quaint—and at times awkward—setting, packing a serious punch, even on such a low stage.
Brooklyn band Uniform kicked off the sold-out Deafheaven show to a small audience. As the first of two openers, they understandably hadn’t attracted every ticketholder to their early set time. However, they didn’t act like it–and neither did the crowd.
Vocalist Michael Berdan may as well have been the main act, with the amount of energy he provided. Carrying the microphone stand across the stage like a cross on his back, Berdan’s screams often melted into the guitar’s wails, leaving me to wonder if the high pitched screech was emitted by instrument or musician.
L.A. natives Drab Majesty landed shortly after, transforming the stage into a world of their own. As if arriving on another planet, the duo donned identical spacesuits, all white outfits with thick black shades.
Their dark, synthy melodies washed slowly over the crowd, allowing for smoke machines to fill the room. Like Martians, the performers tapped softly on the orange, molten glow of their pedals, hypnotizing the room.
The contrast between the cold splash of water that was Uniform, followed by the dark, oozing melodies of Drab Majesty made for a perfect appetizer. The audience was ready for Deafheaven.
California-based act Deafheaven, which has garnered adoration for their unique hybrid of black metal and shoegaze, entered the stage with no frills. No wild intro, no smoke, just Deafheaven. Magnetic vocalist George Clarke took no prisoners, allowing his signature wet hair to spray the crowd as he headbanged.
Deafheaven performed older hits like “Sunbather”, and “Brought to the Water”, alongside songs from their new album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, most notably “Honeycomb” and “Worthless Animal”. Clarke only paused to speak once, softly explaining that they had gone over time.
This caused them to skip a couple songs and head straight to “Dreamhouse,” a fan favorite that exploded over the crowd, the perfect closing act to an incredible show.
The night was electric, filled with energized fans that were truly happy to be where they were for three hours. And in 2018, that’s saying something.