26 Sep 2018

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  • Dead Favours - Gig Review: Rise Against w/ Dead Favours @ Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland - 19/02/2018

Dead Favours - Gig Review: Rise Against w/ Dead Favours @ Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland - 19/02/2018

20 Feb 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton
In a rather unconventional choice, the other international act that was touring with Rise Against, Berri Txarrak, would be opening the night, ahead of the local act, Dead Favours. Berri Txarrak being a band originating from Basque Country (an autonomous community in northern Spain), whose songs are sung completely in the Basque language (which is linguistically unrelated to any other known living language), they undoubtedly had a difficult job ahead of them to warm up the crowd. With both the language and extensive back-catalogue unknown to most of the audience, the performance was to be judged solely on their efforts tonight. Despite the barriers and the high-paced and highly distorted sound, the crowd was supportive and accepting of the new music. Berri Txarrak performed an energy-filled and driven show, bantering with the audience between tracks in English, teaching us how to count to four (bat, bi, hiru, lau), and winning the crowd over by mentioning how much better than Australia we are. Rise Against vocalist Tim McIlrath came out during Denak ez du balio to replicate his guest vocals from the studio recording of the song, much to the excitement of the audience.

Slicing the strings on their guitars as they exited the stage, Berri Txarrak made room for Dead Favours. The local Auckland group did their best to captivate the audience, keeping active on stage, and providing an instrumentally proficient display. Unfortunately, the sound was less than ideal, with certain instruments only audible in certain areas of the venue, creating an unbalanced melody to many. Vocally, Jared Wrenhall had some great clean vocals, but the volume of his screams came across as highly piercing and stood out from the rest of his vocals in a negative way. From the centre of the floor and balcony, however, the sound was good (albeit loud), and as the set progressed, and the band played through the three singles that they had released publicly to date, the crowd began to warm up, cheering loudly between tracks. With some deliciously creative displays of prowess on the guitars from Jared and Kyle Wetton, visibly exciting drumming styles from Charlie Smith, and some intricate finger-work from Ross Larsen on bass guitar, there were many positive aspects to the performance, that will hopefully expand their fanbase, despite the poor acoustics of the venue.

The crowd had yet to show any real enthusiasm during the opening acts sets, but as if a switch had been pulled, as was specified on the advertised set times, at 9:20pm on the dot, the crowd roared into life as Tim McIlrath and the rest of Rise Against took to the stage. Cheers overflowed throughout the centre as the band jumped straight into their set with gusto, starting with Chamber the Cartridge and Give It All, Tim wasted no time, jumping down to meet the front row of the audience, and pulling out the megaphone for added power to his vocals. The heavy, hardcore punk style renders itself well for both the band and crowd, with shorter song lengths allowing everyone involved to put in high levels of effort for every track, knowing a short break will soon be on the way. The lack of any truly lengthy songs meant the crowd’s energy on the floor was able to last well throughout the set, with a circle pit forming by the third song The Violence, and all participants in the pit drenched in sweat and shirtless by the end of Re-Education (Through Labor).

For a band that very frequently visits our shores (performing in Auckland nine times in the last 13 years), it is curious that they continue to rely on so much of their older material. Half of their set list originated from the Appeal to Reason (2008) and The Sufferer & the Witness (2006) albums and only 3 songs from the most recent Wolves release to which the tour is named after and promoting. That being said, despite such frequent shows in Auckland, and a preference for playing the hits, there was no sign of boredom in the crowd, as the circle pit expanded, and they out-sang Tim on several occasions, especially during his acoustic interlude, where he performed People Live Here, Hero of War, and Swing Life Away on his lonesome on stage.

The band returning for the second act, ploughed through their set, carving through 17 tracks before taking a break before their final encore performance. With a lighting show that leaned towards the excessive side; strobes, spotlights, and stage pieces were all used in quick succession, keeping in time with the pace of the set. The sound quality was still not optimal (although a substantial improvement from the sound quality at their Auckland Town Hall show on their last tour), and a lot of the instrumental melody was lost in distortion and vocals were infrequently lost in instances of feedback, but it mattered not to the audience; the power and emotion that is carried in the Rise Against tracks, is more than enough to carry the show, and is a testament to the quality of the content to still garner such crowds year after year, with growing passion. Slightly ahead of schedule, they performed two tracks in the encore, performing Behind Closed Doors as well as the eagerly-anticipated Saviour

Review written by Alex Moulton



About Dead Favours

Combining a mix of huge fuzzy and sometimes quirky riffs, groove-laden drums, beautiful falsetto vocals mixed with arena commanding screams and a level of songwriting that some say has been missing from rock for some time, Dead Favours have been quick to grab the attention of the New Zealand music scene and are going from strength to strength in a very short time.

Since their formation in early 2016, the band have released a string of singles, the most notable to date being Dig (produced by Shihad’s Tom Larkin), a riff-centric banger that quickly grabbed the attention of both audiences and radio programmers alike, spending an impressive 27 weeks in the charts. The success of this debut single lead to a nationwide tour alongside the already popular Skinny Hobos, Decades and Bakers Eddy which saw the band increase momentum and pick up an army of new fans all around the country.

The band quickly followed with the singles High Flying and Better The Weather (produced again by Tom Larkin) which has seen the band go on to be invited to perform at festivals such as Jim Beam Homegrown, Demon Energy Rock The Park and share the stage with international acts Royal Blood and Rise Against which was received with rave reviews;

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