Battery Hens’ Kurt Cobain wannabe front man stood looking gloomily down the microphone. The rest of the meagre looking grunge band stood almost motionless as they played songs with overly familiar riffs, struggling to move at all amidst the excessive number of effects pedals on the floor. Midway into their set Battery Hens’ true personality finally began to shine through, they became much more thrash, dropping the dreary guitars for punchy riffs. If they could have comfortably started their set in the aggressive manner they ended it, they might have been amazing.
Shotaway were very Fat White Family in their delivery, but with distinct shades of country music. Their sound had so much volume it could have filled stadiums. Frontman Sergei Bartlett has an incredibly powerful voice. He carries a goofy stage persona complete with fake American accent, which at times was a bit too much but actually worked quite well in his spoken word sections.
Main support came from Rickyfitts, a two piece like DZ Deathrays. Their sound was distinctly sludgier than DZ’s, and the focus was less on the lyrics and more on the instrumentals. They pulled out some seriously gruelling guitar solos to boot. Despite sounding fairly full for the most part, at times Rickyfitts’ set became slow and lethargic. That said, just about often enough to save their set they broke into something a little dancier, with an early Arctic Monkeys feel to it.
Opening with ‘No Sleep’, DZ Deathrays set was non-stop fun. The Australian two man band powered through a set which was dominated with tracks from their forthcoming album, Black Rat. These dancy and up beat tracks were broken up with grungier gems from DZ Deathrays’ back catalogue like ‘Cops Capacity’ and ‘The Mess Up’. To keep some of the newer songs with their delicately layered riff work sounding as full as they do on the album, DZ occasionally brought on Mitch Gregory as an additional guitarist. They closed with ‘Gina Works at Hearts’ – the strobe light flickered as the whole room shouted the chorus back at a very sweaty Shane Parsons.
Whilst at times the support may have been slightly questionable, DZ Deathrays proved to be an incredible headliner, pulling together an incredible level of skills and putting out more sound than you get from a number of five piece bands, let alone what you’d expect from just two guys.