16 Oct 2019
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  • The Dead C - Gig Review: The Dead C & Bad Sav @ Captain Cook Tavern, Dunedin - 28/04/2018

The Dead C - Gig Review: The Dead C & Bad Sav @ Captain Cook Tavern, Dunedin - 28/04/2018

30 Apr 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

I’m unsure if the air of anticipation in the legendary Captain Cook was actually real, or just something I was projecting, but I felt the thrill of the chase, I was going to see The Dead C live for the third time in my life.

Dunedin three piece Bad Sav opened proceedings in fine style. The band is Mike McLeod on drums, with Lucinda King and Hope Robertson on guitar and bass, with both women singing. The trio began their set with the first of several instrumentals, at which point the upstairs bar in the Captain Cook was nearly half full. During some songs, Lucinda and Hope harmonised well over a wall of well textured sound, with McLeod in the engine room driving the songs along.

The night was one of anniversaries with Bad Sav turning 10, and The Dead C turning 31 years young. It seemed ages before The Dead C came on to play their first ever show at the Cook, but that was probably just my boyish anticipation getting the better of me again. It’s almost unbelievable that given both the history of the band, and the venue, that they hadn't intersected before. The trio of Michael Morley, Bruce Russell, and Robbie Yeats have been making a racket together for three decades, and it shows, especially in the subtlety of the on-stage communication.

The Dead C are credited with being pioneers of 'noise music': music that is without conventional structure, free-form, and at times symphonic, held together for the most part by drummer Robbie Yeats. Out of Morley and Russell, Morley seems the more structured of the two - playing recognisable chords in a sequence at times, while Russell plays with his guitar sometimes leaning it on the floor in front of his vintage amplifier and playing with the pitch of feedback which changes depending on the distance and angle between guitar and speaker. 

As The Dead C's set progressed it appeared that more people chose to wander in, growing the number of people there, from around 100, to nearing 200 people, many of whom swayed in time to the element of the music which grabbed them the best. Songs formed at times during the performance and were as rapidly dispatched with abject disdain. They played without stopping for about 90 minutes then walked off stage while Morley and Russell's amplifiers refused to be silent for 15 to 20 minutes as power drained from aging valves, and loops dissipated.

Some online commentators are calling it their favourite of 2018. The Dead C is touring Europe later this year coinciding with their record company Bada Bing releasing a new LP.


Review written by Darryl Baser
Photos provided by Darryl Baser

 

About The Dead C

New Zealand’s best kept secret release a new compilation of early works. Is this news? Thurston Moore of the world’s best loved ‘alt.rock’ combo Sonic Youth would certainly think so. He recently told the UK’s biggest-circulation ‘difficult music’ magazine The Wire that one of the the most interesting bands in the world were The Dead C.

Their fifteenth album - wittily titled 'DR503C' - is only the second to come out as a local release in NZ this decade. The others have all been released in the USA or the UK, on taste-making imprints such as Siltbreeze (Philadelphia) or Shock (London).

This has enabled them to preserve their anonymity at the local supermarket, while still trucking the units and cyber-hobnobbing with the big boys across the globe. As a result The Dead C were recently touted in Melody Maker as one of the two best rock bands on the planet (the other being Fushitsusha), and are regarded internationally as one of the more influential of the NZ bands of the last decade.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Dead C

Releases

Patience
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Secret Earth
Year: 2008
Type: EP
Future Artists
Year: 2007
Type: EP
The Damned
Year: 2003
Type: EP
DR503C
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Tusk
Year: 1997
Type: Album
The White House
Year: 1995
Type: EP
Eusa Kills/Helen Said This
Year: 1992
Type: Album
Harsh 70's Reality CD
Year: 1992
Type: Album
Trapdoor Fucking Exit
Year: 1990
Type: Album

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