dEUS have had to change venue, from The Olympia to a venue that caters for roughly half that capacity, The Academy. That’s the harsh reality of the gig scene now, and fair play to dEUS for deciding that they’d rather a smaller, fuller venue than a half full Olympia. Bearing in mind that a few people may not have found this out til they arrived at the original venue, it takes a while for the room to fill up and get going, a bit like the gig itself.
dEUS are pretty cool looking fuckers, they deport themselves with a savoir faire strut, simply dressed in shirts in a jeans, and precise to a fault on the first few tracks, ‘Second Nature’, ‘Constant Now’, all taken from their latest studio album Keep You Close. The arty chaos is gone, long gone, and it’s as if Tom Barman no longer trusts the happy accident. The gig threatens to take off when ‘Instant Street’, from 1999’s The Ideal Crash gets an airing 5 songs in. It has the raucous lack of equivocation that I used to associate with the band, perhaps because the players here, with the exception of Barman and Klass Janzoons, didn’t play on that record, and are looser with their fingers. The coda is loud, and the crowd, in a room that seems finally full, love it. It dips after that, but picks up again with ‘The Architect’, the pick of this century’s dEUS and ‘Little Arithmetics’, from waaay back. There’s much clamour for an encore, and the anticipation of more back catalogue, which they duly deliver, with ‘Sister Dew’ and the highlight ‘Roses’, a song which took the roof off the Mean Fiddler the last time I actually got out to see dEUS (which according to the internet was in 1997! Yikes). They leave again, and the place goes wild, demanding more, demanding the obvious.
When they return one last time it’s to play ‘Serpentine’, a slow, plucked number from In a Bar Under The Sea, and there’s a palpable sense of disappointment as they go off; the lights come up and it’s clear that that is that, and there’s no ‘Suds and Soda’ or ‘Hotellounge’, in fact there’s nothing from Worst Case Scenario at all. Ultimately though, dEUS are touring the new record and mostly playing tracks from the two that preceded it, basically the output of this collection of musicians, the music of this band. We can’t begrudge them the right to move on from the past, just as neither can we expect karaoke, just-the-hits shows from working bands who are essentially hawking their latest wares. I wonder was it a conscious decision, and it most likely was. Accidents don’t occur like that, and that Barman and dEUS are making a statement, that if you’re coming to see them, this is the band you’re getting. It’s a shame, therefore, that the biggest cheers were for the earlier work, in that case. dEUS have a legacy, and though it’s nearly twenty years now since WCS was released, it’s still probably their best work, try as they might to deny it.
Photos by Kieran Frost.