It’s no big secret that we spent our summer sipping White Claw on Yatesville Lake , absolutely rinsing Dehd’s back catalogue in the HOT summer. However we also had a wee stopover in Chicago – one of the coolest cities we’ve ever visited. It certainly gives NYC a run for its money, quirky theatres, beaches galore, beautiful parks with plenty of summer live music for free to boot. What we did miss out on was the city’s own music scene…
We hoped to catch Dehd on their home turf, but they were elsewhere in the USA touring. The local scene during summer with everyone out of town playing festivals literally consisted on David Grey and a few emo bands. We missed out, it would seem.
So… when we noticed that Dehd were rolling into our much loved Barrowland Ballroom, supporting Dry Cleaning we made a note of getting down early to catch their set and by the looks of things so did the rest of Glasgow.
We haven’t seen the ballroom packed out this much since last February when Jenny Beth supported IDLES…
Not one for easing into the set opening track was the punchy ‘Bad Love’ a recent single, from the bands 4th LP, ‘Blue Skies’ an album we would later take home that evening… fan grilling hard. This track is one of our favourite tracks on the album, it’s exactly what Dehd do best. Low-Fi, grungy remorseful love ballads.
Lead singer and bassist Emily Kempf, has a unique, guttural wail that is reminiscent of Brody Dalle but oozes uber thrift punk meets saccharine sweet look of Alabama from True Romance and we are 100% here for it.
Next up is hit single ‘Loner’ which was the track that made us fall in love with this band last year. Soaring guitar riffs, bluesy drums and a dynamic vocal range that leans towards some sort of punk yodelling. It’s ticking all of our boxes. There’s a lot of energy on stage while this song is being played.
This is followed by ‘Nobody’ from 2020’s, ‘Flowers of Destruction’ and back to ‘Stars’ from their latest album. Even although we spent most of summer with Dehd on repeat nothing really beats seeing this band perform live.
The energy that lead guitarist Jason Balla has on stage is unparalleled joy, the band are unapologetically themselves, serving up lashings of darkwave, fuzzy guitar indie surf pop.
They rip through a 45minute set littered with gems such as; ‘Clear’ – with it’s anthemic chorus, ‘Flood’, ‘Empty’ and ‘Eggshells’. There are beautiful sober moments where you can hear a pin drop, gorgeous two part harmonies and lashings of atmospheric soul.
There’s lots of fun audience chat in between tracks mainly from Jason & Emily while drummer Eric McGrady has a more constant focus on the kit in front of him. The band seem amused by how similar Glasgow is to Chicago, when we caught up with them after the show they promised to move to town very shortly… we’ll hold you to that.
The ethereal, ‘Window’ closes the set, its poignant yet hopeful – something that underpins most of Dehd’s tracks. It’s seemingly a casual endeavour but in fact it’s a well thought out masterpiece.
On our way to the bar, before Dry Cleaning took to the stage the audience was bustling with ‘Who were they?’ and countless voices spelling out ‘Dead but with and H. D-E-H-D’. I think it’s fair to say hearts have been won over.
Words/ Photos Angela Canavan