sat 20/07/2024

Deap Vally, Concorde 2, Brighton review - final blow-out before the rockin' duo quit | reviews, news & interviews

Deap Vally, Concorde 2, Brighton review - final blow-out before the rockin' duo quit

Deap Vally, Concorde 2, Brighton review - final blow-out before the rockin' duo quit

Los Angeles queens of the dirty riff are as magnificent as ever on their final go-round

Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards set the night ablazeMain picture - Eric Tra / In-copy photo © Roz Shearn

Towards the end of the encore, Deap Vally bring on their friend Solon Bixler. Frontwoman Lindsey Troy hands him her guitar. Despite this being their farewell tour, these two songs, she tells us, are new. The duo, now briefly a trio, go ballistic, a punk rock explosion ensues. Drummer Julie Edwards attacks her kit like Animal from The Muppets, Troy stomps like a glam rock loon before rolling about the floor, and Bixler scissor-kicks his way to stand aloft the bass drum.

They’re burning with the right stuff. They have been all night.

If life was fair, which we all know it isn’t, this month I’d be seeing Deap Vally headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. The Los Angeles duo are one of the 21st century’s great rock bands. Instead, tonight they play their best album, 2013 debut Sistrionix, from start to finish, to a 600-cap venue that’s around 70% full. Happily, they attack it as if they were headlining Glastonbury.

Before that Julie Edwards’ other duo, with Solon Bixler, Dosiopath, play a short set. Clad in a baggy The Smile sweatshirt, she bashes a synth/drum set-up while Bixler assaults his guitar through a rampage of garage-rock squall with vocals advising “shake rock’n’roll” and “shake it down”, as well as a number called “Peace on Earth” which sounds the very opposite.deapAfter a short break Deap Vally are on. They appear in a smog of dry ice, dressed in logo-embossed black and gold boxing robes. They stand head-to-head, stage-front, then throw the robes off and go to their instruments. They look fantastic. Troy is wearing a black mini-dress with pink fringed embellishments that fly and whirl whenever she rocks out. She has a red neckerchief and Mad Max driving gloves. Edwards is in a high-necked, striped, glitter-sequinned shorts bodysuit.

Troy’s voice is, if anything, better with age, her Janice Joplin caterwaul biting through the dirty, dirty riffing, her guitar snarling fuzzed-out Led Zeppelin-meets-The Seeds zing. Sistrionix comes to vivid life. They play its songs in album order. Feminist sass-rock anthems such as “Creeplife”, “Gonna Make My Own Money” and “Walk of Shame” pile on top of each other, a surfeit of gold.

“Bad for My Body” is one of the rock songs of the century, adding an extra dimension of punk-pop melodics to their wire-tight blues. It has a glorious hedonist bellow-along chorus; “If our mothers only knew/The trouble that we get into”. Troy swigs Red Stripe. Her guitar-playing is as precise as it is relentless, lusty and filthy.

Before “Lies” Edwards explains that their first ever UK gig was in Brighton. That the place is special to them. I think I was at that gig, some sort of festival affair, perhaps an early Great Escape, in or near St Paul’s church off West Street, circa 2012. I’ll likely never know but it adds symmetry to my night.

Later Edwards gives another speech explaining how, after some “forensic accounting”, she discovered the pair didn’t make a bean off Sistrionix so, Taylor Swift-style, they recently recorded their own new version, Sistrionix 2.0. Edwards seems to be the managerial drive that’s made this final go-round happen. It’s good to go out in such style, rather than drizzle to fade.

They make a frazzling psychedelic meal of downtempo album closer “Six Feet Under” then take a break, returning for an encore that’s almost as long as the main set, peppered with material from their second album, Femejism. At the time (2016), in a review, I got overexcited and went overboard, but, in retrospect, it was hindered by its sonic over-similarity to its predecessor.

This doesn’t mean it lacks scorchers. Far from it. They play at least two of them, “Smile More” with its punch-out list of things they’re not ashamed of (“mental state”, “body weight”, “my rage”, “my age”, “my sex life”), then they end on the album’s lead single “Royal Jelly”, a contagiously heavy grease-grunge slow-roller. Edwards shakes maracas throughout. Troy joins her by the drums and raises her axe to the sky. They are silhouetted, phosphorus-bright lights flashing behind them. “Oh, oh, don’t you know/There ain’t no gold at the end of the rainbow”. Maybe there isn’t but it was a good ride. They whistle the song’s conclusion, before one last caustic blast of guitar. It’s Monday night in Brighton. Goodbye Deap Vally. You were great.

Below: watch the video for "It's My World" from the final (ep)ilogue EP by Deap Vally

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