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Live: Dead Letter Circus

Dead Letter Circus / Closure In Moscow / Sleep Parade
The Metro, Sydney 05/09/2013
Review and Photos: Peter Zaluzny

(c) Sandra Markovic

With their tour costs covered by a crowdfunding campaign, Melbourne boys Sleep Parade warmly greeted the audience that had made their appearance possible. Their ambient, melodic alterna-rock built upon itself, capturing the audience in a layered bubble that warped in time with the guitars and vocals. Impressive technical drumming kept the energy flowing while frontman Leigh Davies sung into his guitar pickups, or licked the strings (it was hard to tell). The bubble continued to expand until it exploded under the pressure of their immense wall of sound, signaling the end of their set. Although an unbalanced mix meant the crowd missed out on the full force of the Sleep Parade experience, the wild response suggested that their next crowdfunding campaign will raise enough money to take them around the world.

The sound issues kicked around for most of the night, but Closure In Moscow weren’t going to let a dodgy mix bring them down. The self proclaimed “bro rock” five-piece explored all the avenues of rock’n’roll with a few forays into funkalicious fretwork and a wonderfully moody journey towards the dark depths of the blues. Eclectic frontman Cristopher de Cinque wowed the crowd with his golden chords and erratic dancing, matched only by the stylish swirls of guitarist Michael Barrett, who twitched in time with his sharp, almost technical, guitar work. The other members shared the enthusiasm encouraging the crowd to dance, sing and, to quote Cinque, “taste the music”. With a bit of lighthearted comedy thrown in, Closure In Moscow put on a jaw-dropping set that fully embraced the spirit of partying down at a rock concert.

When the support band’s gear disappeared back stage, the fans got their first taste of the impending Dead Letter Circus show. Sitting in the centre was their bass drum, bearing the striking artwork from their recently acclaimed album, The Catalyst Fire. It was enough to fire up the venue, which suddenly became shrouded in darkness. Bassist Stewart Hill and drummer Luke Williams took to the stage alone, ensconcing the crowd with the opening bass chords for “The Cure”. The rest of the band quickly joined in, but vocalist Kim Benzie wasted no time running right up to the front of the stage to stand tall on the monitors and raise his hands to the adoring fans. He had no shoes and no shirt, but he brought an amazing fan service leading sing-alongs for an audience that knew every song backwards.

Hill had trouble standing still contorting his body in directions that should have been impossible, even without a bass guitar. The rest of DLC shared his excitement, moving around without faltering on a single note and looking as keen as a local act that had scored their first major support slot. But the full impact of the wild audience didn’t hit until Williams started pounding away at the first notes of their hit single “Lodestar”. The first hour seemed calm by comparison – everyone raised their hands to the sky jumping in unbridled unison as a few crowd surfers flew overhead. It set the tone for a passionate encore that dialled things back to 2007 with “Lines” from their debut EP.

But someone at the soundboard wasn’t paying attention to the delicate nuances in DLC’s music. Every instrument had been turned up as loud as possible, drowning out most of the ambient beauty behind the hard-edged alternative rock and subduing the natural power of Benzie’s vocals. It didn’t seem to bother the audience though, as the final cheer blew the walls apart sending everyone home with a massive grin on their faces. Outside the venue were hordes of DLC fans, excitedly talking about the show and eagerly awaiting the band’s return.

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