The Converse Rubber Tracks Live tour commenced with a bang at The Chapel Wednesday night. San Francisco’s Deafheaven is headlining the five stop tour that will span the month of November. I had the pleasure of chatting with Deafheaven vocalist George Clarke before the show Wednesday. He was thrilled to be working with Converse … and extra stoked that he got to hand pick all the tour’s opening bands. If you snag one of the free tickets to this tour, you’re in for a treat.
This was the band’s first time playing at the Chapel, and the small venue hosted a sold out crowd eager to feast upon the energy that is expected of a Deafheaven performance. As the guys took the stage, Clarke summoned the mass of fans up to the front. Their set began with “Dream House,” and Clarke’s passion and ferociousness were showcased right from the first note, sustained through a series of equipment malfunctions that led to the bass and guitar cutting out, and only disappearing when the band left the stage after a killer performance of their closing song, “Unrequited.”
The fans at the front of the stage were screaming every lyric of every song, including their newest single, “From the Kettle Onto the Coil,” although it was difficult to hear Clarke’s crisp vocals due to unfortunate sound mixing.
Flashes of frustration were seen from some of the other members of the band during the technical glitches, but they persevered together and put on quite an exquisite show. Clarke made this performance intimate, bringing fans onstage just to embrace them for a few seconds, and at times, grasping the heads of the closest fans as they both screamed into the microphone. Clarke’s energy and mannerisms are enchantingly hypnotic, and even with the sound issues, they were still able to satiate the crowd’s desire to see Deafheaven orchestrate beautiful chaos.
Highlights of my interview with George Clarke ::
SFCritic (SFC): Tonight kicks off the Converse Rubber Tracks Live tour. How did Deafheaven get involved with Converse?
George Clarke (GC): It was pretty easy. They contacted us through our booking agent. They’ve been really easy going. Everything has been going really smooth and we’re happy to be a part of it.
SFC: Who has been an unlikely inspiration for you musically?
GC: We’re all pretty big rap fans, across the board rap fans–probably the more ignorant side of things. We all really appreciate pop sensibility, which may not always come across in our songwriting, but it’s definitely an influence.
SFC: The first time I saw you live, you dedicated “The Pecan Tree” to your dad. Why do you connect this song with your father?
GC: The song is about him. It’s also about my grandmother’s illness and how he carries the burden for our family. He was in the crowd that night so it made sense to dedicate it to him.
SFC: You’ve mentioned that “From the Kettle onto the Coil” is a sort of ‘in between’ piece from Sunbather to your next album. What direction do you see the next album going in?
GC: We have no clue what the next album will be like. More than anything, we are focused on improvement.
SFC: What was the most memorable concert you ever attended?
GC: The most memorable concert was probably my first concert. I was 12. It was Pantera, Slayer, Static-X at the then-Centennial Gardens Theater in Bakersfield.
SFC: What has been the album of the year for you so far?
GC: That’s tough. There has been a lot of good music lately. Inventions, Have a Nice Life, Caribou, Pallbearer…just off the top of my head.
SFC: If you were dispatched on an indefinite space voyage leaving tomorrow and you could only bring 3 items, what would they be?
GC: neck pillow
Photos & Review by Leticia Molina