Deafheaven graced hometown San Francisco with a thrilling, tour-ending show on Wednesday night at the Great American Music Hall. Frontman George Clarke motioned to the packed crowd to get as close to the stage as possible with his deliberate and commanding movements before the first song started. The crowd responded with a roar of energy, sustained throughout the entire performance, an emotionally charged, soul shaking, aural assault that left it all on the floor.
Clarke’s stage presence is a dark force that convinces you he’s the coolest guy you’ve ever seen. It seemed as though he made eye contact with everyone in the crowd at least twice, confirming that this performance was significant and extremely intimate. At one point, he pulled a fan onstage by the collar of his shirt, held him close for a few seconds, and then shoved him back into the frenzied crowd. At other times, he would fall backwards onto the crowd and lay motionless with his arms crossed over his chest. Watching Clarke perform is simultaneously haunting and liberating–something that need be experienced to be fully understood.
Musically, the show was phenomenal. The black metal screams blend with the passionate guitar riffs and relentless drumming to produce something so entrancing, it truly strikes your emotional core. The vocals were crisp, and it was easy to hear all of the subtle nuances of the guitar work on every song. This band is something metal and non-metal fans can both enjoy immensely. It can be described as nothing short of brütiful.