Deever/King Creature/Daxx & Roxane @Newcastle O2 Academy 2, July 1 2019
Deever deserved better. It might have been a mid-summer Monday evening in Newcastle but mystery surrounded a disappointingly low turnout for these fast-rising North East favourites.
To their credit the headline act, flush with confidence on the back of trailblazing debut You Need This, didn’t allow a below-par attendance to dampen their enthusiasm or dilute their professionalism. Delivered with the drive and magnetism of arena-ready vets, Deever’s was a polished set screaming ambition and pushing the envelope.
Those attempting to classify a trailblazing quartet will inevitably stall. Fusing hard rock with indie sensibility and punk-fuelled impatience, Deever don’t care much for convention. At times there’s more than a hint of Papa Roach about their no-holds-barred on-stage aggression and fans of Aaron Buchanan-era Heaven’s Basement should flock to these homegrown heroes in their droves.
But enough of the headache-inducing comparisons. It’s pointless. Deever are the very image of individuality and it remains to be seen whether a bold bid to carve out a unique sound within the congested rock market proves to be the right decision or a potentially fatal faux pas. Creativity without compromise should be a cause for celebration but it’s no guarantee of commercial success.
Of course, if founder and frontman Wil Taylor was in it for the money he would be sitting comfortably in a cosy London flat, making a decent living as a session musician and leaving the unforgiving slog of touring to those more committed to making their mark.
A couple of heartfelt appeals for petrol money and a McDonald’s – funded via the merch desk – didn’t go unnoticed and for bands like Deever it’s no joke. But the rock and roll dream never started out easy (unless your name is Greta Van Fleet).
Deever’s work ethic is without question and the prevailing theme of a thrilling set was a level of proficiency rarely seen inside the intimate Academy 2. Taylor and co. have invested a significant amount of time and money into ensuring the finished product – whether on record or live – is a cut above the scene’s also-rans.
That canny approach guaranteed songs including Jim, Fire At Will and the Planet Rock-listed Waves sounded stadium-ready and startlingly mature. If only more of the North East’s fabled rock community had caught on to four of their own writing an exciting new chapter.
On a three-band bill the headliners were in great company. Daxx & Roxane delivered their typically impeccable rock and roll like seasoned pros – a level the London-based Swiss are reaching fast. But it was King Creature who caused the greatest stir – their post-grunge trad metal hybrid an intense amalgam of biting riffs and bouldering rhythms.
Deever don’t only know their own minds. They know a thing or two about picking the perfect support too.
*Images by Adam Kennedy