17 Jun 2021

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Dead Favours - Gig Review: Dead Favours @ Darkroom, Christchurch - 04/06/2021

07 Jun 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

For the second time in less than a week it was back into the centre of Christchurch and St. Asaph Street, but whereas last time it was to the 12 Bar, this week it was next door, to Darkroom. It is not hard to see why it has that name, with everything painted in dark colours, including the ceiling, and it had really interesting decor. What really struck me though, was just how small the venue was, and there is no doubt it has the tiniest permanent stage I have ever seen. But this place is a bastion of the live scene, one of the few places left in Christchurch which has bands playing real music as opposed to the DJ’s who are much favoured on The Terrace.

First up tonight was No Broadcast, a trio who have been around in one form or another since 2004, based around guitarist and singer Joshua Braden. They kicked off with The Shore, which commenced with Joshua using loads of effects from his pedalboard as he created a soundscape, and it wasn’t until after the first verse that drums and bass came in, providing a strong dramatic counterpoint. I was immediately struck by how influenced these guys were by the likes of Radiohead, Porcupine Tree and Simple Minds, creating a huge sound inside an inventive style.

Terrified saw them move more in a New Order direction, the strong rhythms from the drums allowing the bass to provide a quite different melody to the guitar, all building together. For much of the set there was little interaction with the audience, which seems to be something of a theme with many bands these days, but they made up for it with songs which were quite commercial in an Eighties Indie/progressive style. They were adept at creating a wall of sound, with the bass and drums providing strong cut through. Waste was a single a few years back, and this saw them up the energy to good effect, becoming far more Blur in approach, and the second half of the set was far more aggressive, which came across very well indeed.

I was determined not to miss anything from Dead Favours’ set, so stood right at the front, something I have not done at a gig for quite a while as it is probably the worst place to be when taking notes but given that their latest album is so very special indeed, I did not want to miss anything at all. Consequently, the notes I have are somewhat illegible, and I was having such a great time I did not write that much in any case! Drummer Charlie Smith sets the pace and controls things from the back, guitarist Kyle Wetton provides the musical muscle, and then there is Jared Wrennall (guitar, vocals) and newly installed Alex Elvis (bass). Both these guys are used to taking centre stage, and while Alex may only be providing harmony vocals in this band, he is used to being a focal point so gives his all, which of course makes Jared also take it to a different level.

Right from the start this felt like a party, with all the guys determined to have a good time at the end of their mini tour, with the audience in exactly the same frame of mind, and right from You and I they were in the groove and kicking up a storm. They put the latest single, Move On, as only the second song in the set and this monster was even more powerful live than on the album. That they followed it up with Dig shows just how confident these guys are to have songs like that so early in the set.

The stage was not big enough for the band, so both Jared and Alex took turns standing on speakers at the front of the stage, and it was fortunate indeed that when Alex accidentally kicked over Jared’s beer when stepping back that it mostly went down the front of Jared’s pedalboard as opposed to right over it (the beer was soon replaced). The feeling was almost feral, a band out to show just what they are capable of, with a commercial sounding hard rock with a strong bottom end and a real groove. This was just so much fun, with everybody having a smile on their face, although some of that turned to groans when Kyle said his G string had been slipping since the first song and was causing him no end of problems.

We had all of Side A of the new album (Side B out later this year), and the material fitted in well with the more established songs in what was a well-paced and structured set. Jared was having a blast, and given he was the only person playing with a cordless he could disappear into the crowd at will, with Alex joining him at one point and they had a boogie in front of the stage. With a huge hard rock sound combined with wonderful harmonies (which include effortless falsetto at the right time) and great hook-laden songs, it surely cannot be long before these guys are playing much larger venues, as opposed to being the undercard for the likes of Villainy. Even at the end of the set the audience were still baying for more, which the band were happy to oblige. Somehow everyone lifted their energy levels even more for Sake Bomb, and by the end of Riffing and Yelling, it was just intense.

When Charlie came off the stage we had a chat, and we both agreed it hadn’t been a bad performance. However, both of us had huge smiles on our faces and from the viewpoint of both band and audience it had been a truly epic show. There was a huge cheer when Jared announced they would be back in a few months with more new songs, and anyone who enjoys great music will need to be at their shows. Awesome.

Photo Credit: Kev Rowland


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;

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dead Favours


Riffing & Yelling Side A
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Year: 2019
Type: Album
The Dead EP
Year: 2018
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

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28 May 2021 // by Kev Rowland
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